|Queens Park Rangers 1 v 2 Bristol City|
Tuesday, 1st December 2020 Kick-off 19:45
Don’t get mad, get even - Preview
Tuesday, 1st Dec 2020 13:19 by Clive Whittingham
Disappointed and aggrieved with the manner of Friday night’s defeat at Brentford, QPR must channel their anger in the right way when a talented Bristol City team come to town tonight.
QPR (4-5-5, WWLDWL, 15th) v Bristol City (7-3-4, LWWWDL, 6th)
Mercantile Credit Trophy >>> Tuesday December 1, 2020 >>> Kick Off 19.45 >>> Weather – Cold and clear >>> Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium, Loftus Road, London, W12
Referees getting decisions wrong because they missed an incident or interpreted it differently, as happened to us against Watford, is frustrating enough. Referees getting the laws of the game wrong, as happened to us at Brentford on Friday, more so. Mistakes made because you’ve not seen the incident properly, seen something else, interpreted a piece of play differently and so on is simple human error stuff that we must live with. To see the incident, blow the whistle and penalise it, and then get the law wrong, as Matt Donohue did when Lyndon Dykes was deliberately taken out with no attempt to play the ball while in a clear and obvious goal scoring opportunity is a bit more than that.
I actually quite liked seeing Warbs Warburton as angry as he was after the game. He’s got quite a robotic, emotionless exterior which he portrays to the press and public when speaking, steadfastly running a series of stock phrases like “looking after the football”, “academy education”, “the players are human”, “better in both boxes”, “must take our chances”, “captain of Glasgow Rangers” on a loop while also twisting us up in knots with the ongoing Bright Osayi-Samuel contract chess which has reared its retched head again this week with another supposed ultimatum issue. It cane make him quite difficult to warm to and can irritate people when things aren’t going well. Seeing him as mad as he was on Friday, knowing it hurt him as much as it does us, seeing a little crack appear in this veneer of us not being that bothered that Brentford hand us our arse twice a season was actually a good thing, and it was the right time to do it. But, as he said himself at the time, it’s about what we do now that counts.
Whatever we think of it, the decision, the game and the defeat have gone now. Becoming bogged down in bitterness over refereeing calls can become toxic. After all, Rotherham United feel they should have had a penalty at Loftus Road last week which would have robbed us of two points in that game. Even though we’ve been stiffed twice in three games now, you’re much better off accepting it as going around and coming around than waving your arms, gnashing your teeth and declaring that something must be done about this.
Years of slowing incidents down to frame by frame clips from multiple angles to decide if somebody got a toe on the ball, or strayed half a yard offside, or moved an inch from their line before a penalty was taken, has lumbered our sport with the all consuming, morale sapping, unfathomable, unworkable, broken VAR farce that now infests the top division of English football. All those years and years of Chris Kamara and Ben Shepherd conclusively proving a linesman was wrong in the split second he had to call something because their freeze frame shows Patrick Bamford’s e-string finger had strayed offside, all that lamenting they did about how much better the sport would be if only the referee could come and have a look at a monitor and “see what we’ve seen”, all that assurance how it would only be for a couple of big and major decisions a season, and how quick it would be because replays take but a second to cue up… and look what we’ve ended up with. Unwatchable dirge. I’ll take a thousand of those Matt Donohue decisions against us from Friday rather than sit through one VAR game at Loftus Road, and I’ll fight anybody that disagrees with me.
It can be similarly unhelpful for teams to become bogged down in the idea that the world is against them. I liked seeing an angry, human side to Warbs on Friday, but I liked that he immediately started talking about channelling it into tonight’s game more. You’re much better off operating a no excuses culture, than coming out Dean Smith style every match making out like there’s some grand conspiracy against your team and your team alone. It damages morale and mood, and it gives players an excuse and a get out. Get mad by all means, but let’s see a big, high tempo, aggressive, balls-out approach to tonight’s very difficult game against Bristol City by way of a response. Don’t drop from the levels we saw in the first half on Friday just because we didn’t get rewards and life is so unfair. Play like that more often than not and we’llbe just fine.
We’ll need to be at our best to trouble a team that’s become something of a bogey in recent years. City have, much like Brentford, invested in training ground and stadium infrastructure, while recruiting shrewdly and selling players for huge profits over the last few seasons, to the point now where they’re able to pay £8m themselves for the excellent Tomas Kalas (who we could do with still being injured tonight) and can drink us under the table when it comes to contract offers for Nahki Wells (who we could do with still being on the bench tonight). City have received big fees for players they gambled on – Josh Brownhill £9m, Adam Webster £20m, Joe Bryan £6m, Lloyd Kelly £13m, Aden Flint £7m, Bobby Reid £10m, Jonathan Kodija £11m and so on. With that they’ve been able to build a team that’s threatened the play-offs, while not quite breaking through yet, without a parachute payment in a league chock-full of former Premier League sides. You just don’t hear as much about it as you do Brentford because the host broadcaster struggles to speak while coping with the girth of Pontus Jansson’s penis in the back of its throat at the same time. City are, once again, pushing into sixth as we go into this match.
QPR will need to play well for the majority of the 90 minutes to get anything – something they’ve struggled with so far. Good halves against Cardiff and Rotherham faded, a good 20 minutes at Barnsley collapsed, we came on strong after half time against Watford. Only really at Bournemouth, and against a dire Derby side, have we played a proper full 90 minutes. They’ll have to defend better from set pieces and crosses – mahusive Famara Diedhiuou took just nine minutes of this game last year to crawl all over the top of us and head home the opener, and Rangers once again have the worst record in the league for goals off crosses, headers and set pieces. They’ll have to be sure to take chances when they do come more clinically then they have been doing – for all out bitching and moaning on Friday, Lyndon Dykes horribly fluffed an amazing chance to make it 2-1 on half time regardless, and tonight we face Daniel Bentley who’s been in superb form in City’s recent games.
All that pent up anger and frustration needed and more as we go up against one of the division’s better teams.
Links >>> Surprise start - Interview >> Strangler Tommy – History >>> Linington in charge – Referee >>> Bristol City official website >>> The Exiled Robin – Blog >>> One Team In Bristol – Message Board >>> Bristol Post – Local Paper
Geoff Cameron Facts No.118 In The Series - Somewhere just beyond my reach, Geoff Cameron is reaching back for me.
Team News: Todd Kane takes one game on the naughty step for his double booking at Brentford on Friday night, Osman Kakay will almost certainly slot in there with Geoff Cameron feeling the effects of the fixture list and likely to sit out once more. George Thomas finally reappeared from two months on the sideline with a sub appearance at LegoLand Kew. Bright Osayi-Samuel contract chess looks to have taken a turn, with Warbs Warburton dangling the threat of an ultimatum in this week’s pre-game prep. Our situation with our star player fast becoming like Niles’ relationship with Maris: “Brighty? Warbs. You may feel you've triumphed, but all you've done is shown yourself to be petty and uncivil. Uh huh. I see. Very well. Yes. I'll see you at 8, can I bring anything?"
Nahki Wells scored off the bench in defeat at Reading at the weekend so may push for a start but it’s going to be touch and go for centre back Tomas Kalas who has missed the last two while Tyreeq Bakinson is still some way off a return. Former Watford veteran Adrian Mariappa, now 34, has been kicking around making the teas for a few weeks and is apparently getting close to making a debut. Andi Weimann, who has scored four goals in his last eight appearances against QPR for three different clubs, is out for the season. Likewise brief QPR summer transfer target Alfie Mawson who has, once again, blown his knee to bits.
Elsewhere: The surprises keep coming at Middlesbrough, where The Thirteenth Annual Neil Warnock Farewell Tour is once again looking capable of developing into a promotion push, despite the weekend loss at Huddersfield, and Grant Hall is know out until the end of the season nursing his custard knees again. As much as things change.
Boro against Swanselona is probably the headline of Wednesday evening’s action, thought Nottingham Florist’s latest insipid loss at the weekend rather sets up their home game with high flying Watford intriguingly. Scroll through the after match reaction to that 1-0 loss at Swansea and all the talk is how long this will take Chris Hughton to fix, and the various players he should be signing and positions he must improve in January. This a club that signed 14 players in the last transfer window – Cyrus Christie, among their number, must “never play for the club again” according to numerous commenters. With Watford, Reading, Norwich, Brentford, Tony Pulis’ Sheff Wed and then Millwall coming up in the next six Hughton might be lucky to make January at this rate.
All hail Wayne Wazza Rooney the tactical genius, who showed that he means serious business in the managerial game by dropping himself, turning up clutching a big Filofax, and securing a gritty home point against mighty Wycombe Wanderers at the weekend. Wycombe did hit the underside of the bar while pushing for a win in stoppage time, but never mind that. Big chance to lift themselves soff the bottom of the table with a home win against Coventry tonight – the Sky Blues have the league’s worst defensive record with 24 conceded, though they had our old chum Keith Stroud to thank for a shambolic penalty award against them at Borussia Norwich at the weekend. Daniel Farke’s men move on from that fortunate point to an away game at Lutown tomorrow night.
Another 0-0 draw for the Aitor Karanka Wanka Banka at the weekend against Millwall, and it’s Barnsley’s turn to be bored into submission tonight. Wawll, meanwhile, facking ‘ell Wawll, got to the Mad Chicken Farmers in a clash between two of the division’s surprise packages this season – Rovers starting to motor, unbeaten in five with three wins, as key players come back to fitness. They’re going to go close. Cardiff, who were tipped for big things this year, broke out of their early struggles with a comprehensive thrashing of Luton at the weekend, and now have Huddersfield at home tonight. Preston Knob End make the long trek down to Bournemouth, beset by injury and illness and with fans getting restless over results with manager Alex Neil.
Stoke will be glad to have escaped a dire Pulis-derby at the weekend still with a pulse. They’re at Wycombe while the Owls grind through another joyless experience at home to Reading. Justice League leaders Spartak Hounslow will almost certainly be the best team Rotherham have played all season.
Referee: Rangers were unbeaten in 11 league games with James Linington prior to last season’s defeats at Fulham and Reading. Details.
QPR: Ivan Toney’s winner for Brentford on Friday night was the sixth headed goal QPR have conceded this season, and the sixth goal from a set piece – both Championship highs in categories QPR also led last season. They also lead the division in goals conceded from corners (four) while the six they’ve shipped off crosses is the second worst total. Only Preston, Derby (both 21) and Coventry (24) have conceded more than QPR’s 20 goals so far. They have conceded the first goal in 37 of Mark Warburton’s 65 games in charge, but recovered 24 points from losing positions since he took over which is more than any other second tier team in that time. Rangers lost both league games to nil against City last season, they only team they failed to score against, although they did put three through them in a 3-3 League Cup draw back in August. Bristol City went 17 matches between 1977 and 2007 without a win on this ground (W9 D8) but Rangers have only won two of the last six meetings here and have lost the last two without scoring.
Bristol City: The Robins have been streaky as hell for a few years now. Their 2017/18 season remarkably contained an unbeaten run of 12 games, another sequence where they lost one and won ten of 12, a seven game losing run, a run of one win in eight games, and another sequence of one win in 13. In 2018/19 they had one run of four consecutive wins, two sets of four consecutive defeats, and nine wins in a row through January and February. So when they lost only one of their first 12 and two of their first 18 in 2019/20 they probably should have known there was some shade to go with their light just around the corner. Four straight defeats for Christmas was recovered rather in January, but as the country locked down for the summer they’d taken two points from a possible 15 and they returned in June to four quickfire losses that killed their play-off hopes and ended the tenure of Johnson. That hasn’t shown much sign of changing under new boss Dean Holden. City began winning six of their first seven games, four of which were in the Championship, to set the early pace with Reading. They then went on a five match winless streak, followed by three consecutive wins, and now two without victory again. Their away form has been good – four wins from seven road trips already, 2-0 at Stoke, 2-1 at Forest and Huddersfield, and 1-0 at Cardiff. Only Bournemouth, 1-0, and Reading, 3-1, have beaten them at home so far this season. Only Swansea (16) have scored fewer foals than City’s 17 in the top nine – Cardiff in fourteenth and Preston in nineteenth have scored as many. They’ve managed more than one goal in a game only once in the last nine outings.
Prediction: We’re indebted to The Art of Football for once again agreeing to sponsor our Prediction League and provide prizes. The squad is updated and you can get involved by lodging your prediction here or sample the merch from our sponsor’s QPR collection here. Last season’s champion Mase offers us this…
“City have a good record against us in recent seasons and I think they have invested well in their squad in the last few windows. A change in the dugout this year doesn’t seem to have held them back at all and they have been good on their travels so far. While I can see us getting a point, I think they will get ahead and be a bit too canny for us, just like they were in the same fixture last season.”
Mase’s Prediction: QPR 0-1 Bristol City. No scorer
LFW’s Prediction: QPR 1-2 Bristol City. Scorer – Ilias Chair
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