QPR circling the drain after Sheff Wed debacle - Report
Sunday, 12th Jul 2020 15:56 by Clive Whittingham
The worst QPR performance of the lockdown period, the worst QPR performance anyway for many a long year, saw the R's crash 3-0 at home to Sheff Wed on Saturday. In truth it could, and should, have been far more than that.
This – somehow, unbelievably – was worse. All the feckless failings, defensive shambles, rank incompetence, phoned-in effort and disregard for the basics of the sport that we’d seen from Queens Park Rangers against Barnsley, Charlton, Fulham and Wigan collected up, redoubled and vomited out in the form of one stinking, shameful performance. One of those that has you scanning the memory banks to think of one worse. You’d have to look back a hell of a long way.
Sometimes only Frasier will suffice. At Cornell University they have an incredible piece of scientific equipment known as the tunnelling electron microscope. Now, this microscope is so powerful that by firing electrons you can actually see images of the atom, the infinitesimally minute building blocks of our universe. If I were using that microscope right now, I still wouldn't be able to locate a single shit QPR gave about this fixture.
Even Mark Warburton, usually a stoic defender of his boys regardless of performance and result, could offer no excuses for the total no-show. Mitigation came in the form of his team’s youth and inexperience when compared to Sheff Wed, and the injury to Jordan Hugill which has left the QPR manager to try and cobble together a strike force from a collection of attacking midfielders and wingers. But neither are an excuse for not running about, for not being able to pass the ball ten yards, for not putting a foot in.
At half time QPR had won just 20% of the tackles they’d attempted – four times out of five they were beaten in challenges. Wednesday completed just 120 passes in the first hour of the game, two completed passes a minute, and it was enough to score twice and run clear through on goal on multiple other occasions. It could, with better finishing, have been four, five or even six nil, and QPR would have deserved every single one of them. It actually got to the point where I was willing Sheffield Wednesday to score more, to embarrass the players, as they were embarrassing us, and so there could be no hiding afterwards. Some of the things that went on were despicable.
Apparently it’s “derogatory” and “ignorant” to question the commitment and effort levels of these players. I look at Ryan Manning here, flat footed and scratching his arse as Dominic Iorfa runs past him to open the scoring on six minutes, and Bright Osayi-Samuel compared to the Bright Osayi-Samuel pre-lockdown, and ‘next big thing’ Ebere Eze barely going through the motions miles and miles away from the danger areas of the game less he pick up a transfer wrecking injury and all I can say is if this is them trying, I’d hate to see the three of them when they’re not. Three games left lads, if you could do us the common courtesy of turning up and running about a bit for those we’d be much obliged, then you can have your precious moves. Maybe for the next week just pretend and play like you haven’t got an agent.
The quality of the opponent makes it all so much worse. Experienced, yes. More physical, certainly. But a poor side. During the week Sheff Wed conceded three late goals at Hillsborough to lose 3-1 at home to Preston North End, who themselves had lost five and drawn two of the previous seven. It was the Owls’ third defeat in a row, during which they’d conceded eight times, and left them nursing a record of just three victories in 19 league matches going back to Boxing Day. In that time they’ve conceded three to Preston, West Brom, Derby, Birmingham, Reading and Stoke and twice been beaten 5-0, by Blackburn and Brentford. QPR managed just one single serious shot on goal against them over 90+ minutes. Garry Monk’s side have won six league and cup games in 24 outings over eight months – two of those have been at Loftus Road.
They were in front after six minutes. Just as they’d done against Barnsley and Charlton, Rangers conceded good and early, before the game had even really begun, to make the task nice and difficult. Luke Amos clumsily fouled Alessio Da Cruz on the edge of the box presenting the visitors with a dangerous free kick. Josh Windass took that and drew a flappy save from Joe Lumley. No QPR player reacted so Mass Luongo, back on his old stomping ground, had a go from 25 yards and Lumley tipped the shot onto the post. No QPR player reacted so Dominic Iorfa, back on the ground his dad used to wander around offside a lot, took a touch and pumped it into the back of the net. Just watch Manning on the replay. Just watch him.
Soon the Irish youth international was in at the other end down the left but he failed in multiple attempts to get the ball under control and ended up falling over it. Lumley came to collect a long ball only for Yoann Barbet to take matters into his own hands and chip it over his own goalkeeper’s head – disaster narrowly averted. Eze nearly caught up with Barry Bannan’s underhit backpass which could easily have made it 1-1 and then drew a yellow card for a small boy Wednesday had playing in midfield.
But from a poor beginning, things fell apart completely for Rangers after the first water break. Eze pissed away a free kick on the half hour and within a pass and a half the other way QPR had been completely opened up. Cameron’s desperate block stopped Windass making it 2-0. Not a minute later and the home team was cut apart down the same channel again, this time Dom Ball giving possession away cheaply and Cameron far too deep busting the offside trap allowing Da Cruz a clear run into the area but the sheer number of options for passes and shots seemed to fry his brain a bit and he held on just long enough for the opportunity to evaporate.
Warbs Warburton removed Conor Masterson from the back three and went to a four, adding Aramide Oteh to the attack. Masterson looked distraught. It made not a single jot of difference. Ball, who’s taken a turn for the abysmal since everybody decided he was the new Claude Makelele, was booked for a foul on Luongo. Luongo who I was always told was overrated, didn't do enough, not good enough, not enough goals, not enough assists, best off rid of him. Luongo the best midfielder on the pitch here by a distance. Tom Lees, not for the first time, was completely unmarked at the resulting free kick but headed over. Straight away Barbet and Ball were caught at sixes and sevens and Windass was in for another look at the goal, but Osman Kakay rescued the situation. If I didn't know better I'd say Barbet had been drinking.
Luongo read a low Eze corner routine and got a block in on Manning as he shot, and he was also well ahead of Geoff Cameron’s thinking when the American played a square pass on halfway – intercepting and freeing Windass only for Kakay to get across and bail his team out again. This Osman Kakay vs The World theme was starting to become the story of the half – at least the kid looks like he gives a toss about what he’s doing. His incredible block in first half stoppage time after Da Cruz had ghosted past Barbet with alarming, embarrassing ease and put a second goal on a plate for Windass was remarkable. His mates rewarded his efforts by allowing Windass to stand completely unmarked, two yards out from goal, at the resulting corner and he headed in the second from there. Just watch Barbet on the replay. Just watch him.
Two nil and my fucking God it could have been anything Wednesday wanted it to be. Biblical. Four more substitutions were available and should all have been made at this point. Nobody bar Kakay would have been safe. The same eleven emerged for the second half and should have conceded again immediately when Manning was caught in possession and Wednesday had big numbers up in the attack but Da Cruz helpfully fell over his shot. Monk removed him and replaced him with Jacob Murphy which… was not good news.
Two changes in the Hooped line up came on the hour. On came Ilias Chair and the lesser spotted Jack Clarke for Mide Shodipo, who I’d actually forgotten was playing at all, and Dom Ball, who I dearly wish hadn’t been. Within 60 seconds Windass had got in behind Kakay but blasted a shot over. Within 60 seconds of that he was through on goal once more, and Lumley produced a super save with one hand sliding underneath his man. Within 60 seconds of that Big Bad Luke Amos had given the ball away and Windass attempted a backflicked finish from the resulting low cross. On and on and on this went, wide open defence and a piss rank attitude to passing the football. QPR finished the game with 70% possession, all of it in areas that posed no threat whatsoever to Sheff Wed, much of it actually posing a danger to QPR themselves such was their propensity to hand it over to their opposition at the worst possible moment.
There aren’t swear words strong enough to describe what we were seeing. I thought about maybe slamming a few together to create new ones. Cuntfuckery? Shitbuggery? Arsewankery? LukeAmos? Oteh could have interrupted that with a goal after Chair chipped a cross over Joe Wildsmith in the Wednesday goal, but a bungled finish landed clean in the keeper’s arms. It was to be Rangers’ only shot on target in the entire game. Third top scorers in the league at the restart they’ve since managed two in six games, both from the now injured Jordan Hugill, and have registered just 16 shots on target across those matches – five of them at Middlesbrough a week ago. It was also, pathetically, followed by Murphy squaring up Kakay and then seeking out the far top corner with a curled 20 yarder. Three fucking nil. Now 39 goals conceded at home in the league this season, a club record.
That would have been four had the ball not just gone over the dead ball line a moment before visiting sub Atdhe Nuhiu stuck it into the roof of the net. Soon the BFG extra was trying his luck from 20 yards, because why the hell not, and Joe Lumley needed two attempts to catch it. For one horrible, excruciating moment, I thought he’d dropped it in the net. It had been exactly that sort of day.
Whatever you say about our club’s circumstances, and God knows I’ve trotted through them often enough on here to know them by heart, this abject level of performance and pathetic application was in no way acceptable to a club like Queens Park Rangers, and everybody involved in producing it needs to be made very aware of that very quickly.
Absolutely fucking disgusting.
QPR: Lumley 5; Masterson 4 (Oteh 33, 4), Cameron 3, Barbet 3; Kakay 5, Manning 3; Eze 4, Ball 3 (Clarke 60, 4), Amos 3; Osayi-Samuel 4, Shodipo 4 (Chair 60, 4)
Subs not used: Kane, Rangel, Bettache, Kelly, Gubbins
Bookings: Ball 35 (foul)
Sheff Wed: Wildsmith 6; Iorfa 7, Lees 6 (Shaw 75, 6), Borner 6; Odubajo 6, Hunt 6 (Pelupessy 61, 6); Bannan 7, Luongo 8, Harris 7; Windass 6 (Nuhiu 75, 6), Da Cruz 6 (Murphy 55, 8)
Subs not used: Rhodes, Reach, Dawson, Brennan, Hughes
Goals: Iorfa 5 (assisted Luongo), Windass 45+2 (assisted Harris), Murphy 78 (assisted Bannan)
Bookings: Hunt 30 (foul), Odubajo 57 (foul)
QPR Star Man – N/A Absolutely not.
Referee – Oliver Langford (West Midlands) 8 Few errors and three correct yellow cards in a relatively easy, uncompetitive game to control.
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