Fer's handball and a team with no strikers - Knee Jerks
Sunday, 22nd Nov 2015 12:25 by Antti Heinola
Antti Heinola reflects on Friday night's disappointing defeat at Middlesbrough, and reaches worrying conclusions from QPR starting the game without a striker on the pitch.
It kind of worked in that we completely frustrated Boro really for the entire game until the penalty. But it is a little depressing that it's come to this: a winger up front, whatever Karl Henry is at right wing and so forth. It's almost like we're already playing in a relegation battle. But I suppose you need to build confidence before you start really going for it. Still, I felt our lack of threat on the right only really allowed Friend the freedom to attack at will - there was certainly no one for him to defend against - and he got quite a lot of joy down their left side. I'd have liked to have seen JET start. Nice to see Petrasso and Blackwood on the bench though. And, truth is, we should have won the game. We had the chances - but Phillips is no striker.
Well, this was lovely to watch wasn't it? A clear man of the match and probably the best I've seen him play for many years. His passing and his movement were excellent. Every chance we created involved him, whether it was a sublime reverse chip that Phillips should have volleyed in, or a perceptive sweep out to Yun, whose cross Phillips should have tapped home, or a decent effort himself that almost beat Dimi at his near post. Always available, never wasteful, and got stuck in too. I understood the decision to take him off because he was struggling to get around the pitch, but I'd be a little wary of blaming his knees on that. He was actually getting from box to box pretty well overall. His work rate matched his excellent passing. Great stuff. Please let those knees hold up.
I've seen Bosh say he likes Sandro and Faurlin together and I kind of agree... but at the same time I'm not sure what it is Sandro does. He's good at closing down space, I'll give him that. But after that, to me he rarely wins the ball, gives away far, far too many fouls and is not a great passer. At one stage he was absolutely key for Spurs before his injury and I can only wonder how. Perhaps if he was fit for a year or two I might see it. At the moment he just looks like an average Championship midfielder.
A typical Fer performance, really. He's probably a better footballer than almost everyone else out there, but he rarely shows it. Didn't work hard enough, didn't produce enough, neither supported Phillips well enough or helped Faurlin and Sandro to any decent degree. I do like him. On his day he is a great player. But we're not seeing it nearly enough. A midfield triumvirate there who you think - 'if these were all fit, they'd be incredible' - but it feels like none of them are, and all three are always minutes away from yet another injury. I'll buck the general trend as well: handballing on the line is despicable. It's out and out cheating. I can't bear it. We can't be sanctimonious about diving and then go around saying he did the right thing. To be fair, I think it was instinctive, so I'm not going to be too harsh, but for me it's never justified. I know most people won't agree, but them's me views on that. And Green would have saved it anyway, to make it worse.
Another good display from him. He rarely seems to let us down (Palace an exception!). A wicked cross that should have been turned in, some tireless running, and most importantly a brave header to prevent a certain goal near the end when Greeno had his customary horrendous error and came out for a cross that he had no chance of collecting. Shame Don Goodman on commentary credited that brave clearance to 'Toszer, of all people.' Fk me, Don, one's Korean and there's about a foot difference on height. Do a bit of homework, mate.
Christ. Just how bad is he that with no Austin he's still left playing with the U21s? Or does no one like him? I've barely seen him so can't draw any real conclusion, but I'd have thought he'd have been helpful last night - playing the ball up to him, him holding it and then bringing Phillips, Fer and Yun into the game. Something very wrong there.
Players you haven't thought about in years, No. 3 in an occasional series: Trevor Peake.
Photo: Action Images
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