The view from the Pu – February
Thursday, 28th Feb 2019 16:34 by Steve Hardy
A month of a million games, and a million different ways to lose them, reviewed by our regular columnist Steve Hardy.
So, after 4,672 matches played, February is finally over and I can imagine the last thing a lot of us need is someone picking over the bones of what can only be described as a strange month. In all, eight games were played (more than in December) with two wins and six defeats. Let’s have a look at the good, the bad and the QPR for this past month.
There’s only one thing/person I can start with isn’t there? The man on everyone’s lips – Luke Freeman. Whatever that boy has been drinking I want some of it too. I can remember at the start of the season there was a lot of debate around whether Freeman and Eze could fit into the same team and a lot of people seemed quite happy to drop Freeman for Eze to take his place – myself included. Now you can’t imagine the team without him in it, he’s come on leaps and bounds this season and credit has to go to McClaren for improving his game but also a huge amount of credit is due at the door of Les Ferdinand and Gary Penrice for what has been our best signing since Charlie Austin.
I think what I like the most about Freeman is that he doesn’t look like a footballer, he doesn’t even really look like an athlete, to me he looks like he should be selling used cars. As Clive has often stated he has that little waddle that you wouldn’t associate with a professional sportsman and you wouldn’t say he looks particularly fast but in recent games – Watford and Leeds especially – he has been head and shoulders the best player on the pitch and you know once he has the ball the other team ain’t getting it back. Hands down our player of the season and I’ll be just as gutted as everyone else in the summer once he is inevitably sold but this guy should be playing in the division above and I for one don’t begrudge him that opportunity. And the best thing about it all is that he does everything with that same cheeky smile on his face, now in true QPR style watch him obliterate his knee at Brentford on Saturday….
Moving on, I now finally know what the fifth round of the FA Cup looks like, that’s some sort of positive isn’t it? It’s hard to think that game was only two weeks ago considering we have been playing two games a day this month but it was great to have the ground full and bouncing from the start and it be a game with something on the line. I still wake up in cold sweats thinking about Leistner missing that chance (‘he could have coughed it in’ my mate text me at the time) and I still don’t think I’m really over it but I’m just hoping that it has changed the club’s attitude to cup competitions going forward. When you look at the most recent accounts that the club has issued and the fact that parachute payments will be no more cup runs become a more important part of the bank balance. Fingers crossed we won’t be waiting until the year 2041 until our next fifth round appearance.
I’ve reserved my final point for us the supporters. Losing seven league games in a row is never easy, even when you take into account how regularly we seem to go on long losing runs, but credit to the fans because this had the opportunity to turn ugly and it hasn’t. Clearly a lot of this is down to the fact that we’ve been incredibly unlucky in a lot of these games – Wigan, Birmingham, Bristol City and West Brom are all games we could have come away with something – but also due to the effort of the players. Bar the Middlesbrough game I don’t think you can accuse any of these players of hiding or giving in, they’ve kept their chins up and kept coming back for more and as supporters I think you can appreciate that. As a support base we’ve always trotted out the old cliché of ‘I don’t mind losing as long as they’re trying’ and I believe we’ve stuck by that other the last few weeks. The reward for this was the Leeds result on Tuesday and now with a more comfortable (on paper at least) looking March hopefully we can see a few more victories between now and the end of the season, ideally starting this Saturday in Middlesex.
I’m going to try and not go over the same stuff that everyone else has but surely there has not been a football team out there that has had the same unlucky few weeks that we went through. Penalties that should have been, penalties that were missed, penalties that shouldn’t have been given, last minute goals conceded by a player who should have been sent off and Joel Lynch being Joel Lynch has all come together to create some form of Championship perfect storm. I know luck is not really something that you have any control over but hopefully that horrendous few weeks is a few years’ worth of bad luck all rolled into one and our teeth can avoid the kicking that they’ve had this month for a while.
Whilst I’m on the point of that losing run, how do we keep managing these? In 2016/17 we lost six games in a row twice and stayed up by winning our last home game, last season we lost five games in a row and this season we have managed a four game and seven game losing run. I suppose what I’m trying to get at is that it is pretty remarkable that we’re not in a relegation scrap when you look at those stats. Is this something that should be in the good section? I don’t think you can really class a seven match losing run as a good thing although when I look back to August I would have snapped your arm off to be in the position we are in now.
In my opinion the most QPR thing to happen this month has got to be the Birmingham home game. Absolutely dreadful for 30 minutes, four nil down only to then stage a heroic comeback and chance to come away with something only to then miss a last minute penalty and then lose anyway. Only QPR can conjure that up.
February grade – A for effort D for results
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