|Queens Park Rangers 2 v 2 Reading|
Tuesday, 22nd October 2019 Kick-off 19:45
QPR free-wheeling into two quick home games - Preview
Tuesday, 22nd Oct 2019 12:24 by Clive Whittingham
Free-scoring, free-conceding QPR have climbed to fifth on an impressive run of form ahead of two home games against Reading tonight and Brentford on Monday.
QPR (7-1-4, WWLLWW, 5th) v Reading (3-2-7, LDDLLW, 20th)
Mercantile Credit Trophy >>> Tuesday October 22, 2019 >>> Kick Off 19.45 >>> Weather – Bright and dry >>> Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium, Loftus Road, London, W12
It’s a very footballing cliché to immediately turn the focus on the character and attitude of a team when it recovers results from losing positions. A big well done to the professional footballers for not immediately giving up on the match, the game plan, the tactics, the strategy and everything else besides after going 1-0 down. Congratulations for sticking with it and continuing to make the effort just long enough to make it 1-1 and realise the opponent is pony after all. That’s what makes real men.
What that tends to overlook, or at least relegate into second place, is that it takes genuine skill, ability, and most of all goal threat to repeatedly come from behind to win games. QPR have done it three times already this season - twice away from home at Sheff Wed and now Hull - and it wasn’t so much stoicism and stubbornness that got us there as speed on the ball and guile in attack coupled with, in the case of Wigan at home, a tactical switch.
Even when trailing at Hull on Saturday - to a goal completely against the run of play, nicely finished but another defensive howler – I wasn’t unduly worried. We were a little too slow in possession, with the centre backs and goalkeeper hanging onto the ball too long before making a decision on a pass, and when we’ve been poor this season it’s when that tempo has been allowed to drift out of the play. But it was clear from the way Hull were set up and playing, and the ability we had in the final third of the pitch, that if we could just get the ball moving a bit quicker we’d be absolutely fine. Unlike last season, there is a genuine goal threat in this team from all over the pitch and it means small deficits away from home aren’t a reason to give up and head back to the pub. Just a few short months ago such a problem would have been addressed with a 30 minute substitute cameo for Matt Smith and a million long balls punted straight down the field in his general direction. Night and day.
The last time I felt like this about a QPR team was that weird month when Jim Magilton got us playing like the Dutch World Cup side of 1978. Neil Warnock’s team was better, more consistent, and claimed the title in fine style, but it rarely went behind, so this never came up. Magilton’s wild ride was over almost as soon as it had begun but for those two or three weeks we were in dreamland. I remember being 2-0 down in a Saturday evening televised game at Derby and still thinking we’d probably win the game – which we did, 4-2. You couldn’t help but have confidence in a team that backed a lone striker up with Adel Taarabt, Akos Buszaky and Wayne Routledge. It was, briefly, a carve up.
That run included a 4-1 Tuesday night home win against tonight’s opponents Reading. A game Rangers won at a canter despite our perennial podgy foe Andy Hall deeming Ben Watson’s quick free kick a sending off offence and reducing us to ten men in the first half. Buzsaky stuck two fingers up to all of that by blasting the retaken set piece straight into the net regardless, and moments later a move that started with Kaspars Gorkss in his own six yard box finished with Jay Simpson banging in from close range to bring the house down. Rangers were incredible that night, and if they are so again tonight – as they’re well capable of being – then they’ll win.
But things are rarely that simple, in football, and particularly at QPR. Director of football Mark Bowen’s search for a replacement for the recent disposed Reading manager Jose Gomes led pretty swiftly to him taking over himself – a response so transparently arrogant it could only have been conjured by one of Mark Hughes’ lieutenants. His clueless appearance on the QPR Podcast when the whole Hughes/Joorabchian clusterfuck was collapsing around their ears at Loftus Road lives fresh in the mind years later. Reading emerging from a league-imposed transfer embargo over the summer to suddenly splash in excess of £10m on two strikers, with an eclectic collection of foreign loan signings besides, all under the reported “advice” of Joorabchian can’t help but make seasoned QPR fans fear this is all set to end in tears for our opponent tonight. But the presence of a new manager in the dug out, even one as thunderously mediocre as Bowen, always adds unpredictability to a fixture that previously looked like a banker home win.
Magilton’s QPR was flawed by its manager. He didn’t cope well when things went against him and his team, and he ended up leaving the club after sticking one on Buszaky in the wake of a 3-1 loss at Watford. The current lot are flawed by the defence, which conceded another two sloppy goals at the weekend and is without a clean sheet all season. If the attack continues to win out despite that, with two winnable home games this week and the summit of the league in sight, who knows where this Kevin Keegan wet dream could go. Just pray it doesn’t all fall apart on us again.
Links >>> Reading struggling early – Interview >>> Magilton’s exciting Rangers – History >>> Simpson in charge – Referee >>> Official website >>> Reciprocal interview – Interview >>> Tilehurst End – Blog >>> Hob Nob Anyone? Forum >>> Reading Chronicle – Local Paper >>> Get Reading – Local Paper
Geoff Cameron Facts No.70 In The Series - Geoff Cameron once scored two penalties in a game while captaining the Sacramento Succotash. One with his left foot, and one with his head.
Team News: QPR have been unchanged for two games, and could make that three tonight with no fresh injury concerns. However, Mark Warburton often shuffles his pack for the three game weeks with Angel Rangel and Geoff Cameron at the more likely end of those who could be rested – Todd Kane and Dom Ball stand by to replace those two while Jordan Hugill could come in up front for Nahki Wells. Marc Pugh, Luke Amos and Matt Smith are all also fit and pushing for inclusion.
Reading are giving a fitness test to Charlie Adam, which should be a right laugh. Good fucking luck with that one lads. Andy Rinomhota returns from illness but Yakou Meite is a doubt with an Indian burn.
Elsewhere: Seven games tonight including our own, including the always friendly meetings between the Millwall Scholars and The Eleventh Annual Neil Warnock Farewell Tour over in Bermondsey. Gary Rowett’s quest to manage every Championship side at least once continued yesterday when he was confirmed as Neil Harris’ replacement at The Den.
Birmingham v Blackburn is this week’s exciting fixture between two teams beginning with B, and we’ve a bonus fixtures between two teams beginning with S and Sheffield Owls host Stoke – although whether Nathan Jones will have finished his raucous celebrations of his side’s second win of the season on Saturday in time to make kick off remains to be seen.
The game of the night is probably play-off chasing Preston Knob End hosting perennial promotion bottle jobs the Champions of Europe – only Sky Sports Leeds’ weird fascination with QPR v Reading (OOOOOH LOOK, THEY PLAY IN THE SAME KIT) has stopped that being the televised fixture this evening. West Brom v Grimethorpe Miners’ Welfare is a top v bottom clash at The Hawthorns and Swanselona host Spartak Hounslow who will probably be the best team they’ve played all season.
Charlton’s ridiculous start to the season continued with a 3-0 crushing of PSV Derby at the weekend to lift them back up to seventh – that LFW prediction of them finishing dead last looking about as good as all our other predictions at the moment. They’re at Bristol City tomorrow night while Derby should be able to arrest their troubling start to the campaign with a home match against notoriously bad travellers Wigan Warriors. Nottingham Florist and their cast of a thousand footballers fell victim to Wigan’s markedly better home form at the weekend but should bounce back at home to the Allam Tigers who were pretty dire against QPR on Saturday.
Sebastien and Ajay have probably only previously seen the likes of Luton when their butler has accidentally nudged the television onto Channel 5 but they play hosts this evening. Huddersfield Imps face Middlesbrough in a north-off.
Referee: After drawing two (justified) penalties from a referee we have negative history with at the weekend, we’re now faced with another who’s been a bit of a pedantic arse when we’ve had him previously. Let’s hope Jeremy Simpson takes the Tony Harrington road tonight. History and stats.
QPR: The win at Hull on Saturday was QPR’s seventh of the season, the joint most in the league along with Leeds and West Brom. It was also their fourth away win of the season, which again is only matched by the top two. Three more goals took Rangers to 21 for the season, which is third behind West Brom (22) and Preston (23) although PNE did fail to score against Reading in Berkshire on Saturday as the Royals won 1-0. Two more goals conceded takes QPR’s goals against total to 21 – only bottom two Stoke and Barnsley have conceded more and Rangers are now the only team in the division without a clean sheet to their name. Ebere Eze’s penalty double was the first time a QPR player has converted two spot kicks in an away league game ever, and the first time it’s been done in any match since Gerry Francis v AEK Athens in 1977 – a stat made possible by Heidar Helguson missing one of two against Wigan in 2011/12 and the Icelandic striker sharing duties with Adel Taarabt against Barnsley at Loftus Road the season before.
Reading: The Royals have won three, drawn two and lost seven this season leaving them twentieth on 11 points. Only Stoke, second bottom, have lost more. Only Wigan (ten) and Barnsley (nine) have scored fewer than Readng’s 12 goals so far but seven teams have a worse defensive record than their 17 conceded, including ourselves. The last gasp 1-0 weekend win at home to Preston snapped a run of seven without success in all comps – a run which included five league defeats in six games. On the road this season they’ve won 2-0 at Huddersfield, drawn 1-1 at high flying West Brom and Swansea, and lost 2-1 at Hull and 1-0 at Bristol City and Middlesbrough. Four of the last six meetings between the two teams at Loftus Road have finished in draws, including last season’s Christmas 0-0. Reading have only won one of the last eight meetings home and away, however. Reading have a poor record in London (12 league games without a win) and on Tuesday nights (13 without a win, including ten defeats).
Prediction: Our Prediction League this year is sponsored by The Art of Football. Get involved by lodging your prediction here or sample the merch from our sponsor’s QPR collection here. Last year’s champion WokingR says…
“With nothing to base it on other than pure gut feeling, I reckon this will be our first and long awaited clean sheet. 3-0 to the R’s with Chair getting our first.”
WokingR’s Prediction: QPR 3-0 Reading. Scorer – Ilias Chair
LFW’s Prediction: QPR 3-2 Reading. Scorer – Jordan Hugill
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Pictures – Action Images
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