|Brentford 3 v 0 Queens Park Rangers|
Saturday, 2nd March 2019 Kick-off 15:00
Looks like we picked the right week to quit losing – Preview
Friday, 1st Mar 2019 17:04 by Clive Whittingham
Seven defeats in a row and games with Leeds and Brentford had panic setting in around Queens Park Rangers but a surprise midweek win has calmed the nerves ahead of Saturday’s trip to Griffin Park.
Brentford (11-10-12, WLWLWL, 16th) v QPR (12-6-16, LLLLLW, 17th)
Lancashire and District Senior League >>> Saturday March 2, 2019 >>> Kick Off 15.00 >>> Weather – Overcast, dry, rain later >>> Griffin Park, Brentford
I’m not sure I clocked how much it was getting to me until I woke up on Wednesday morning without it.
You can logic and reason all you like, and the logic and reason was well on our side. You can point to the 39 points on the board already, the historic totals that have seen teams survive in the second tier, the fixtures we still have to come, the players we still have to come back from injury. You can cling to the fact that no team, however bad, goes on losing every game forever, regardless of circumstance. You can, with some justification, blame bad luck, and dire refereeing, and freaky circumstances. But seven defeats in a row is quite something to stand through, sit through, live through, and try to sleep through for the common or garden sad football bastard.
Because what if we do just keep losing? What if Rotherham, Bolton and Reading suddenly all start winning? We mapped out the ridiculous set of results required to relegate Ian Holloway’s QPR team three quarters of the way through the season before last and then in the end we came within one home defeat to Nottingham Forest of it actually happening. And even if that doesn’t come to pass, watching a season that promised so much drain away into another lower mid-table slugfest, watching a team that fizzed with such effervescent confidence in the months up to and including Christmas degenerate into that empty shell we saw at Middlesbrough last weekend, was pretty damn soul destroying. And I hadn’t coped well with it at all.
This looked like it would get a good deal worse before it got better. A Marcelo Bielsa team, all intricate attacking patterns and unbelievable fitness, at home on Tuesday surely proffered another defeat and then we all know what usually happens to us at Griffin Park, even when the hosts aren’t sporting one of the best home records in the division and on a six-match winning streak. I’d already stolen myself for crucial, scrappy, shit show attempts at dragging a 1-0 win kicking and screaming out of either Stoke or Rotherham next week in an attempt to arrest the slide. I wouldn’t say I was at peace with the idea because, well, there was a day last week where I woke up on the kitchen floor in just my pants and work shoes. But I’d accepted that was the direction we were heading in, and everyday brought a new fucking match preview or report to try and summon enough coherent, rational thought for without completely losing my mind. Well, as much as a mind can still said to be present in somebody who had a little cry on the steps in the Crown and Sceptre post Birmingham debacle.
And then Luke Freeman came along, taking on Leeds alone, bouffant hair in the breeze, fat bum zipping through the air, legs whirling round like a Looney Tune. The performance of the season. An absolute game changer. Richard Dunne at Wembley, Charlie Austin’s one-man demolition of West Brom, Lee Cook breathing fires over the wheat fields of Crystal Palace, Les Ferdinand’s all conquering day at St James’ Park, and now this from Luke ‘Lukey’ Freeman. Kick starting Queens Park Rangers and face fucking Leeds United at the same time. When are the Queen’s birthday honours?
And now we’re all relaxed again. March proffers home games with Stoke, Rotherham and Bolton and a trip to Hull who’ve predictably dropped away again. The gap between a bottom three that cannot buy a win and ourselves is back up to a dozen. The sunlit uplands of our natural position of sixteenth in the Championship beckon us once more. Birds are signing, the sun is shining, sleep is sleeping (in an actual bed) and everything feels like it’s alright after all. What ever were we so panicked about?
A game at Justice League-leaders Brentford, who will almost certainly be the best team we’ve played so far this season, is not approached in any great hope or with any particular optimism. We’ll lose, almost certainly, and it’s an ongoing cause for concern that our club continues to slip and slide below so many teams we’re so used to being above on the pitch, off the pitch and on the league table. Quite what state we’ll be in come this fixture next season doesn’t bear thinking about. A match preview for another time. In the context of what’s gone on since Christmas I’ll be able to deal with whatever we get served tomorrow a lot better than I thought I might prior to Tuesday night.
Geoff Cameron facts #31 – Geoff is back in full training. No joke.
Team News: Ring out the church bells, Geoff Cameron is back in full training as of Thursday and could be looking at a return after we’ve played his parent club Stoke next weekend. Angel Rangel, however, is still some way off. Highly likely to be the same team as Tuesday night unless either Luke Freeman’s hip flexor hasn’t coped with the rigours of beating Leeds by himself or Steve McClaren decides to target Brentford’s vulnerability at set pieces with a recall up front for either Matt Smith or Tomer Hemed.
Brentford have a doubt over midfielder Kamohelo Mokotjo (uneven tyre wear) which could leave the much-maligned Josh McEachran to patrol a midfield that has previously dominated QPR’s in this fixture. Goalkeeper Luke Daniels has anal seepage but Dan Bentley had won his place back between the sticks anyway. Forward Emiliano Marcondes is suffering from low resell value on his home while Rico Henry has avian flu and Lewis Macleod has a fruit fly infestation in his kitchen – all three are absent.
Elsewhere: Leeds, Leeds are falling apart again? Further clues tonight as the Champions of Europe climb into the ring with fellow promotion chasers West Brom at Elland Road live on Sky Sports Leeds. That book ends this end of the weekend with Sheffield Red Stripes and Sheffield Owls meeting at Bramall Lane in the Steel City derby in Monday Night Football. We take the piss (a lot) but those two games should be genuinely brilliant. Two 0-0’s coming right up.
Ten games in the traditional Saturday slot then including Frank Lampard and Big Racist John having their sickening love in at Villa Park. Frank Lampard’s Derby County then go again on Tuesday in a game in hand against Wigan Warriors. At the other end of the table there’s a big relegation clash between Ipswich Down and Reading which the home side really have to win if they’re to keep up the pretence that they have any hope of surviving this season.
Among the other endangered species, Rotherham are hosting the Mad Chicken Farmers, Bolton are heading to Swanselona and Millwall Scholars host league leaders Borussia Norwich. Games without a mention so far also include the clash between two of the division’s inform play-off chasers Preston Knob End and Bristol City at Deepdale and Stoke v Nottingham Trees at the Britannia Stadium. Allam Tigers v Birmingham City really is just one of those taking place to get people out of the house for a bit on a Saturday afternoon.
Referee: I don't know what to expect, to be honest. I haven't been impressed so far. I hope they’re vetting them, because the computer seems to be throwing up any old rubbish. It's like they haven't put us in the right division or something because, you know. Oh for fuck’s sake. I don't believe it, look at this…
Brentford: At home this season Brentford have won ten games, drawn three and lost four – only the top three teams have won more. Away from home they’ve won one, draw seven and lost eight – only Rotherham have won fewer and Bolton, Millwall, Stoke and our goodselves below them in the table have all won more. Their problem this season is stark, then, but not much use to us this weekend at Griffin Park. Hull were beaten 5-1 here last time out, before they typically lost 2-0 at Sheff Wed on Tuesday, lifting their goals scored total in home games this season to a division-leading 37 (joint with West Brom, Norwich and Villa). They’re unbeaten in eight games in all comps on this ground, with seven wins and a draw with leaders Norwich. They’ve won six straight on their own patch prior to our visit, scoring 18 goals in the process – three a game on average. Having not beaten QPR at Griffin park from August 1961 (6-1) to October 2015 (1-0) the Bees have now won each of the last three meetings here and only lost two of the eight games played since QPR came back out of the Premier League in 2015. They were beaten 3-2 at Loftus Road in the first meeting this season mind.
QPR: The midweek win against Leeds was QPR’s first in six games in all comps and snapped a run of seven straight losses in the league which was the club’s worst run since 1996. QPR’s istory-making win at Nottingham Forest the week before Christmas was a fourth win on the road this season, one more than they managed in the whole of 2017-18, but the club is in danger of finishing on four with the end of the season rapidly approaching and a draw and four defeats on the spin on the road since then. The clean sheet against Leeds was this defence’s first in nine attempts since it registered three in a row over Christmas against Forest, Ipswich and Reading.
Prediction: A new leader of our Prediction League as the season end drawns near with KensalRiseR now atop the division. The winner of our Prediction League this year gets goodies from our generous sponsor Art of Football. Get involved by lodging your prediction here or sample the merch from our sponsor’s QPR collection here. Reigning champion Elliott said we’d win on Tuesday and tomorrow he reckons…
“There you go! I told you we’d win. A fantastic performance considering the amount of games we’ve played this month. A number of really decent performances but my word Freeman was on another planet. Brentford’s home record is there for everyone to see. We’ll have to be at our very best again to get something from this. We’ve only won once away from home since October and I don’t fancy us to make it two here. Back down to Earth we go.”
Elliott’s Prediction: Brentford 2-1 QPR. Scorer – Pawel Wszolek
LFW’s Prediction: Brentford 3-1 QPR. Scorer – Toni Leistner
The Twitter/Instagram @loftforwords
Pictures – Action Images
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