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The view from the Pu - November
Thursday, 3rd Dec 2020 14:32 by Steve Hardy

Steve Hardy's monthly review looks at the month of November, when QPR recovered from the horrors of Barnsley to post a respectable points total with eye-catching performances.

Just like that the dark, cold and substantial meals are upon us. I don’t know if I’m more surprised that we’re in December already or that a month that feels like it’s lasted forever and there was football being played pretty much every five minutes only included five games for our beloved Super Hoops. Let’s dive into a fairly even month that delivered us two wins, two losses and a draw. Could have been much more mind, if it wasn’t for some woeful refereeing.

Good

A lot calmer this month wasn’t it? I felt like October reached a point – especially after the Barnsley game – where it could all unravel and we’d be left with unnecessary pressure on a young squad and more than likely another manager coming in and demanding a plethora of signings in January. Luckily Dom Ball’s left foot stopped that and since then we seem to have steadied the ship, with seven points being added this month that could so easily have been ten if we were given referees with even the most basic of understanding of the laws of association football, more on that later.

Still, in my eyes a lot more of a solid month and I do feel that the team is starting to look a little bit more confident in their ability as well as settling into the way that Warburton is asking them to play. I do have a tendency to play things down a little and just sit here and say ‘don’t worry, it’ll all be ok’ and it usually isn’t, but I’m quite happy that after all the panic of mid-October things appear to be a bit more mellow now, although December does look tough when you consider the fixtures. However, let us not forget that the Championship is ultimately one massive ball of mediocre slop plus Derby County so we shouldn’t really be fearing anyone.

I mention that we seem to be looking a bit more settled as a team and I believe one of the reasons for this is moving Ilias Chair from the left side into a more central role. Not only does this allow him more of an influence on our moving through the ‘transitions’ as Warbs would say but it also allows him to become more of a goal threat as evidenced by the fact his goal tally is at four for the season already. At Derby at the start of the month I thought he was excellent, albeit against turgid opposition, and was a huge influence in us winning that game. He also spoke brilliantly when on the Open All R’s podcast as well which I was very impressed with, I do note that he has played every game so far though and with eight games coming up in December I hope we don’t see the young Moroccan flogged to death.

Whilst I’m singing the praises of our forwards I wanted to spare a word for our caber tossing target man, Lyndon Dykes. I saw some criticism on the message boards earlier in the month comparing him to Conor Washington which I thought was harsh in the least. Five goals in 12 appearances now for our new number nine and I may be in the minority but I like him, I don’t care if the majority of his goals have come from penalties, a goal is still a goal. Let’s not forget that the guy has had to move from Scotland to a new city during a global pandemic, and during a season where he’s currently getting minimal time on the training ground. I thought he was brilliant at Brentford on Friday and deserved a lot more than to be on the losing team.
It has been pointed out that analysing our wins this season shows that we have only beaten struggling teams – albeit Cardiff are one place above us in fourteenth – and this may currently be the case but isn’t this a good thing? Usually it’s the other way round when it comes to us, beat the teams we should struggle against and then lose to Bolton and Rotherham at home. So for us to be beating the teams we should be is a welcome relief in my eyes but if we really want to show signs of progress then we will have to start picking up wins against the teams higher up. Looking at the games coming up in December and just by looking at the sheer volume of them I think this should happen sooner rather than later. Add to this the addition of fans and hopefully this will work more in our favour, I know it’s only a maximum of 2,000 but something is always better than nothing right?

One more thing before I start moaning about refs, Bright Osayi-Samuel dancing around the Rotherham defence last week, absolutely delicious.

Bad

Before I get started on this little rant, let me just say one thing, we always lose at Brentford and had their centre back been sent off we still would have contrived some way to lose the game but that still doesn’t excuse the ref having a shocker. When Dykes got fouled there were ultimately three outcomes that should have happened. First option, no foul play on. Second option, free kick and a red card as Sorensen was the last man. Third option, penalty and a yellow card due to the double jeopardy rule. How on earth then he’s managed to give a free kick and a yellow card is completely beyond me, it was an absolutely ridiculous decision. Like I say we always lose at Brentford and had he been sent off we still would have found a way to do this as evidenced by getting Niko Hämäläinen to mark Ivan Toney at an attacking free kick, basically the equivalent of wiping your arse with Lidl toilet paper the morning after a night on the grog. When you then add that decision to the one from the Watford game a week before it does start to grate, as that is ultimately an extra three points that we could have on our current total for the season. It’s a bit annoying that we seem to keep getting these refs that are new to the Championship for our games and you can just only hope that things start to improve.

One final thing as I’m sure we’ve got another game kicking off at some point in the next ten minutes, despite all the uncertainty of 2020 it’s nice to know that Charity Park Rangers are still operating in full force. Rotherham striker Michael Smith hadn’t scored since February this year, we gave him a nice 38 minutes before allowing him to bury a header into the net from almost the edge of the box. Vitaly Janelt ten games into his Brentford career, not even had a shot on target yet, fourteen minutes we allowed him before he could score from 20 yards out. Clearly this is all tongue in cheek but surely there can’t be another club out there that is as charitable as us. John Jensen, Lloyd Doyley, Rotherham’s only away win in two years – it’s starting to get a bit farcical now. Should be up for a pride of Britain award really.

Oh and one more last thing, Andy Hinchcliffe he’s a bit of a bellend ain’t he?

November grade – C+

Links >>> Follow Steve’s match-by-match reviews on Instagram >>> August 18 >>> September 18 >>> October 18 >>> November 18 >>> December 18 >>> January 19 >>> February 19 >>> March 19 >>> April 19 >>> 18/19 Season Review >>> August 19 >>> September 19 >>> October 19 >>> November 19 >>> December 19 >>> January 20 >>> February 20 >>> March 20 >>> April 20 >>> May 20 >>> June 20 >>> July 20 >>> September 20 >>> October 20

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PinnerPaul added 15:21 - Dec 3
One minor point, a push in the back, as this was on Dykes, is a red card if denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity, inside or outside the box.

In the penalty area denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity has to be a 'genuine attempt for the ball' to become a yellow.
1

gazza1 added 15:22 - Dec 4
1 - Dykes is struggling and needs to improve. He was better at Brentford but nothing exceptional.
2 - I don't agree with the blame being attached to management for the free kick/headed goal. Hämäläinen has got to do so much better in that situation and why shouldn't he be the person at the front post?? It is not at though Toney jumped high to get the header before Hämäläinen, he got there first without much of a challenge. I dread to think what would have been said if it was Wallace that got beat at the near post!! No excuses or sheding the blame - Hämäläinen was at fault 100% and not management.
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