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Wycombe Wanderers 1 v 1 Queens Park Rangers
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 19th December 2020 Kick-off 15:00
Very QPR indeed? Preview
Friday, 18th Dec 2020 18:33 by Clive Whittingham

QPR, without a win in six, head to fellow out-of-form strugglers Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday for a crunch match against a club, team and manager with many close ties to our own in which the result feels almost too inevitable.

Wycombe (2-5-12, DLDLLL, 23rd) v QPR (4-7-8, LLLDLD, 19th)

Mercantile Credit Trophy >>> Saturday December 19, 2020 >>> Kick Off 15.00 >>> Weather – Damp >>> Adams Park, High Wycombe, Bucks

Go with me on this for a moment, but there is a slight chance that losing this game could just be so incredibly QPR that it comes all the way back out the other side, up and around again, and doesn’t happen.

You think you know what’s coming don’t you? Because whenever a new club comes into a league with a worse team than us on paper and a lower playing budget we tend to lose to them regardless. The chances of that defeat increase if their results prior to the meeting have been poor, and Wycombe’s absolutely have. I mean they have at least got their first win, and first home win, out of the way in advance, otherwise we may as well not have bothered turning up tomorrow, so certain would the abject performance and resulting defeat have been. But they’re kept off the bottom of the table only by Sheff Wed’s points deduction, they’ve conceded more than anybody else in the division bar PNE, they’ve won fewer games than anybody else, they started the season with seven straight defeats and didn’t score for the first five of those and they arrive in this game without a win in nine and three defeats from the last three games. You’re better off calling Charity Park Rangers than the chuffing Salvation Army in these circumstances usually.

Then you throw in the extra context that comes with it being Wycombe. This a club up to and including last year that we were using as a development site to test run players like Paul Smyth, Ebere Eze and Giles Phillips, or a useful off ramp for cast offs like David Wheeler (still don’t think we gave him a fair crack by the way, and wouldn’t mind him here now). Of course that team beats us the first chance it gets, even before you consider that a lot of their main strengths – physicality, height in attack, devilishly delivered set pieces – play right into the heart of our seemingly terminal weaknesses. Opposition corners are like opposition penalties to Rangers at the best of times, and now here comes Joe Jacobson who produces goals from them, often directly from them, even against teams that know what they’re doing.

Add in the current situation around Loftus Road, with pressure mounting on Mark Warburton after a third spell of six without a win in his reign so far (the tenth time we’ve had such a sequence since returning to this league five seasons ago). There’s always a tipping point at modern day QPR where even the self-styled message board moderates turn on the manager – Chris Ramsay’s long walk at Brentford, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s team selection at Nottingham Forest, Ian Holloway dropping all the best players after the 4-2 win against Sheff Wed for a 2-0 home loss to Preston, Steve Schteve McClaren managing to lose to Rotherham and Bolton in a week – and a seventh game without a win, on a cold December afternoon at Wycombe, feels very much like a nadir in waiting. Don’t bother with the heating tomorrow night, you could light Windsor Castle by the fires of QPR Twitter 24 hours from now if we lose this.

And then of course, there’s Gareth Ainsworth, who many would quite like to be Warburton’s replacement, standing like a man suffering multiple mid-life crises at once, in the opposition dug out, conveniently placed to hammer in a final nail. You just couldn’t write the way football throws these things up sometimes, but here we are. Watch how quickly concerns about his style of play, the need to completely revamp the squad in the coming windows to suit him, the haste with which we sack managers, the way the replacements are never anything like the predecessors, the cost, the risk of damaging a club legend if he comes back and does poorly, that dodgy dye job he’s done on his hair, and more besides, go completely out of the window to be replaced by “JST GO AND GET HIM BHATIA YOU TIGHT PRCK #WARBSOUT” should Akinfenwa/Ikpeazu be allowed to peel off our latest zonal marking catastrophe and over the top of Hämäläinen to make it 2-0 off a set play at about half past four tomorrow afternoon. Wheeler with the first of course, assisted by the ghost of Ray Wilkins via a favourable bounce off Scott Donnelly’s crisp packet, or some such convoluted serendipitous nonsense.

It just all seems so written, so inevitable, so QPR, that maybe, perhaps, this time, actually... no.

Links >>> The Would Thing – History >>> Puncher’s Chance – Interview >>> Ward in charge – Referee >>> Nedum Onuoha part one – Interview >>> Nedum Onuoha part two – Interview >>> Wycombe Official Website >>> Gasroom – Forum >>> Bucks Free Press – Local Paper >>> Chairboys Central – Blog

Geoff Cameron Facts No.121 in the Series - Geoff was the original host of CBS’ Saturday Night Craparama.

Below the fold

Team News: Difficult to really envisage any wholesale changes to the QPR team, given how set in his methods Warbs Warburton seems to be and how little impact is being made by those coming off the bench into games. There’s an argument that Macauley Bonne deserves a start now Lyndon Dykes has tried and largely failed for a few consecutive games, though his latest tour of every offside blade of grass during a late cameo against Stoke didn’t exactly blow any socks off. Chrissy Willock looked a better bet than Albert Adomah on Tuesday but, again, nothing to send a postcard home about. Luke Amos and Charlie Owens are the long term absentees. We’re offering helicopter pilot lessons with Les Ferdinand for any sighting of Marco Ramkilde.

A point I made in the week when Stoke came missing three goalkeepers and selecting wingers as strikers, and will again here, is that QPR’s injury list relative to most of their opponents at the moment is very favourable. Wycombe the latest to present a fairly sizeable list with Alex Pattison serving one on the naughty step for a midweek sending off at Bournemouth while influential central defender Anthony Stewart and impressive Everton loanee Dennis Adeniran are doubtful. The Chairboys hope to have defenders Ryan Tafazolli and Darius Charles back while Curtis Thompson may come back into contention. Dominic Grape was forced out of the Bournemouth game early with an injury and is a doubt. It’s between Bayo Akinfenwa (pray for Ilias Chair) and Uche Ikpeazu for the main striker role – either way Joe Jacobson’s set pieces should be an absolute riot.

Elsewhere: This is the seven hundred and eighth, and final, round of Mercantile Credit Trophy fixtures before Christmas, although Brentford and Stoke have to squeeze a League Cup tie in between now and Christmas Day because of course they do, perfectly fair and reasonable that one. We kick off with the Sky Sports Leeds encounter between Preston Knob End, six defeats at home already this season, and Bristol City who’ve won more away games (five) than anybody bar league leaders Borussia Norwich (seven). Everything else is tomorrow with the Canaries up first at home to Cardiff in the early tellybox game.

Fourth placed Swanselona suffered a rare off night in defeat at Derby during the week and will; have to watch their step against Grimley Collier Band who have won three on the spin and are starting to fulfil those ambitious looking pre-season predictions of a surprise push into the top half of the table. No such form or luck for the Sheffield Owls, where wages have gone unpaid for November and the Tony Pulis revolution continues apace – now no wins in nine and four straight defeats after a midweek loss to Nottingham Forest (!!). He is, naturally, talking up some January arrivals. Maybe pay the players you’ve got already first Tone you tracksuited troglodyte. Coventry at home for them this weekend.

Birmingham 0-0 Middlesbrough.

Two clubs QPR could really do with staying shit meet in South Yorkshire as Rotherham meet the Derby managerial committee while there are awkward away trips for high flying relegates Watford at Huddersfield and Bournemouth at Lutown. The Mad Chicken Farmers are at Stoke.

Justice League leaders Spartak Hounslow will almost certainly be the best team high flying Reading have faced all season when they clash at LegoLand Kew. And of course we wish Nottingham Florist’s slimline squad of in form trojans all the luck in the world for their journey down to Miwlllwawll (fackin ‘ell Wawll) this weekend.

Referee: Gavin Ward has a long and chequered history with QPR, but it’s Wycombe who have more cause to be alarmed about this appointment having already been screwed over by this referee for an injury time winner conceded at Norwich earlier this season.Details.

Form

Wycombe: It has, as predicted, been a season of struggle for Wycombe so far, who have just two wins, and 12 defeats, to their name so far. Thos victories came back to back against Sheff Wed H and Birmingham A at the end of October and were preceded by a run of seven consecutive defeats and a draw to start the season and proceeded by a winless run of nine, with five defeats including the last three. It took Wycombe five Championship games to score a goal, but they’ve bagged 11 since then which is more than derby and Sheff Wed (ten each). They have, however, only scored more than once in a game twice, against Birmingham and Preston. Only PNE, with 30, have conceded more than their 28. These two sides have met six times competitively, all during QPR’s three-year League One stint from 2001 to 2004, which ended with the R’s promoted and Wycombe relegated. There have been two wins each with two draws – Rangers didn’t win any of their three visits to this ground in that time, mainly due to the wind, and Rob Styles.

QPR: The rip roaring ride to Thrillsville against Stoke during the week was, at least, a fifth clean sheet of the season so far for Rangers, leaving them just one short of the six they managed in the whole of 2019/20 – that is still only the eighteenth best total in the Championship mind. It was, however, the final leg in the latest run of six league games without a win, the second time Rangers have embarked on such a run this season, the third time it’s happened in Mark Warburton’s 18 months in charge and the tenth time it’s occurred since QPR returned to this level of football in 2015. QPR have only scored three goals in that six match sequence, and just one in the last four, since putting three through Rotherham. Away from home the 1-0 success at Derby stands as the lone away win from ten league and cup road trips. The current total of 19 points from 19 games is Rangers’ worst start to a league season for six years and the 46 points it leaves them on course for would have been enough to stay up in seven of the last ten Championship seasons.

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, spot on with his Millwall call, offers us this…

“We've reached the five hundredth consecutive match in the Saturday - midweek - Saturday series, and it feels as though I've emailed Clive more than I have my boss this autumn. I can take Christmas week as time off in lieu, right? I'd long earmarked the two fixtures against Wycombe for six points and earlier in the season it looked like everyone else was going to cash in as well. Yet as Clive mentioned in the Stoke match report, fatigue has set in. Most teams will be feeling lethargy in body and mind and I think that tips the scales towards our hosts. In Akinfenwa they've got the biggest of non-scoring target men up front who doubtless will be salivating at the prospect of an afternoon against our back four, fighting for whatever long balls/set pieces come his way, possibly assisted by ex-R, David Wheeler. At the moment it really does seem that basic to get a result against us. Lose, and we are looking ever more anxiously over our shoulder with some tricky looking games in December and January. So let's not do that.”

Mase’s Prediction: Wycombe 1-1 QPR. Scorer – Ilias Chair

LFW’s Prediction: Wycombe 1-0 QPR. No scorer.

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TacticalR added 20:07 - Dec 18
Thanks for your preview.

Now would be a very bad time for a Charity Park Rangers Christmas special performance. Unfortunately at the moment we can't take anything for granted as we are making hard work of everything.
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Phil_i_P_Daddy added 02:22 - Dec 19
As you say Clive, we're dead certs to lose this one, which makes us dead certs not to, which makes us...

Anyone for tennis?
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distortR added 08:07 - Dec 19
i predict starting ltc will be a waste of time today but that brd will give a mom performance.
0

timcocking added 11:27 - Dec 19
How about that photo...Bircham, Gallen Rowlands. Nice.
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