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Queens Park Rangers 0 v 2 Swansea City
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 26th December 2020 Kick-off 15:00
Warburton hanging by a thread as QPR slump v Swans - Report
Sunday, 27th Dec 2020 17:15 by Clive Whittingham

The future of QPR manager Mark Warburton was cast into fresh doubt by the latest defeat at Loftus Road, to Swansea City, on Saturday afternoon, stretching the R's winless run to eight.

Queens Park Rangers have lost games this season when they didn’t deserve to. They’ve lost games through poor finishing, poor fortune and poor refereeing. They’ve lost games through intelligent changes made by opposition managers, and dumb moves made by their own. They’ve lost games they’ve played well in through individual mistakes, and games they’ve played badly in through tiredness. And now, most worryingly of all, they’ve lost to Swansea City through simply not being good enough.

Seven games without a win and a descent into the relegation whirlpool at the bottom of the Championship had ratcheted up the pressure on Warbs Warburton before the game. Churn out that same 4-2-3-1 and talk about “first contacts and second balls” after bollocksing up the substitutions again and the socially distanced natives would be exercising their right to protest. Change was demanded, and change duly came, with a switch to a back three of Rob Dickie, Captain America and Les Incompétents. Todd Kane and the Royal Crown Prince of Umlauts as wing backs, Robert the Bruce and Macauley Bonne finally paired up front as a two, and Bright Osayi-Samuel dropped onto the bench. Fair fucks for rolling the dice. It made precisely zero difference.

Initially it was all about crosses. Crosses from the left and the right, crosses from deep and from the byline, crosses from wing backs and centre halves, crosses from all angles. More crosses in the first half an hour here than the rest of the season put together. Each of them missed, sometimes altogether, in a variety of creative ways by Bonne – perhaps most glaringly when one of Barbet’s Diags™ picked him out a treat on six minutes but he gave Freddie Woodman the chance to make a camera save with a poorly directed header.

You couldn’t fault Bonne’s workrate. Busying himself and hassling defenders high, winning the ball back well on eight minutes to set Dom Ball up for a shot deflected wide. Ball later headed wide at the back post when placed to do better himself, while outstanding approach work from Ilias Chair which had Jake Bidwell paying to get back in was cleared before it could reach the Zimbabwean on 25. Nice control and lay from Lyndon Dykes looked for a moment like creating an opening via a one two, but the second part of the move was butchered.

It was kind of nice to see us at least trying something new, but what the Brentford and Bristol City games showed was you really need to score when you’re on top and take advantage of catching the opposition out a little bit, and what the Rotherham and Cardiff games proved was that even then it’s a rocky road to victory for this QPR team. Against the best defence in the league (12 goals conceded and 12 clean sheets from 20 played) it never felt very likely. Desperate, forlorn swings in vain.

Swansea may not concede many, they also don’t score too often either. Yet to manage more than two goals in any game this season, they specialise in holding teams at bay for long periods of time, scoring when a chance comes along, and then seeing things out ruthlessly. They could, indeed should, have gone into the lead on three minutes when the wonderfully named and strikingly handsome Yan Dhanda found himself in good space on the edge of the area with the new look QPR defence exposed, feigned to shoot but instead executed a beautiful reverse into the path of the onrushing Jamal Lowe who was only prevented from opening the scoring by his lack of a left foot – Seny Dieng making a save he should never have been in the equation for.

Warning unheeded, the Swans did indeed lead at half time. More irony than an Alanis Morrissette tribute act in the initial stages, with Swansea producing a cross far better and more dangerous with basically their first attempt having got in behind Niko Hämäläinen than QPR had managed with any of their multiple centres at the other end, and then Jake Bidwell who many Rangers fans will tell you is crap steaming in at the back post for a team moving into the automatic promotion places with a firm header. What came next…

I’ve been going to QPR for a really long time now – 28 years give or take. I’ve been writing about that for 16 of those. I’ve born witness to, and had to subsequently describe, some acts of incredible self harm and rank stupidity. Long range own goals, mindless red cards, defeats by up to and including seven goals, Sammy Koejoe… all the time requiring new adjectives, more graphic sexual imagery, ever more creative and provocative swearing. And then on Saturday Yoann Barbet heads the ball backwards, against the inside of his own post, and out to Andre Ayew, who’d we’d obviously left unmarked, to tap into the empty net. What is there left to say?

What will come to define the Mark Warburton era at QPR is a failure to correct known faults and problems with his team. Not even so much in this case with Yoann Barbet, who wouldn’t sense danger if you set fire to his foot, and maintains a place in this defence despite this because of his ability to very occasionally keep a long diagonal pass on the field of play. More with the chronic failure to communicate with each other. Watching QPR in limited crowds against Reading and Stoke really brought home how utterly silent we are as a team relative to our opposition. Swansea, led from the front by Ayew who bitched, moaned and harangued team mates and match officials throughout, were another obviously vocal team against our school for deaf mutes. They were nearly able to talk Dom Ball into a red card for a late challenge in the second half, screaming, carrying on, leaping around on the touchline, surrounding the referee. QPR do not talk, to each other, to the referee, to anybody. This goal a prime example of nobody commanding a situation, directing the traffic. And Barbet’s been the fucking captain. Warburton knows this, he spoke about it to us off mic in the summer, and yet zero attempt has been made to sign a voice, a leader, a mouth. Like Barbet with the basics of defending, it’s like we see it as beneath us.

If it was tough enough against Swansea’s defence at 0-0, going into the second half at 0-1 was not the one at all. The clock running at throw ins began immediately, Jake Bidwell warned in the forty sixth minute. QPR needed to score next, and I guess if Guehi hadn’t cleared an early cross ahead of Dykes that might have been one, or if Bonne hadn’t nosed a presentable chance from a Rob Dickie cross wide that could have been another, but frankly with 66% possession almost entirely played in front of the opposition in neutral areas and just a single shot on target in 90 minutes QPR weren’t scoring here as long as I had a hole in my arse. When Dickie, not for the first time, sold a pass short and handed possession back to Matt Grimes it was only one sweeping pass later when Jamal Lowe went cruising through on goal for 2-0. It felt bleakly easy for a team quite comfortably winning a game in second gear.

Everything that happened thereafter was a substitution. Bright Osayi-Samuel, Chris Willock, Charlie Kelman and Albert Adomah were all summoned to try and breath life into a toothless attack. Swansea stood, watched the ball being played around in front of them, and barely needed to break a sweat. Kelman stumbled attacking a Barbet cross at the far post, seemingly caught in two minds before attacking with head or boot, and Willock volleyed wide when he had options for a pass. Osayi-Samuel, whose destruction of Bidwell in a 5-1 FA Cup win here just under a year ago was absolute, made zero impact. It was the sort of “end of days” performance supporters of a club that changes manager as often as we do are well familiar with. A forlorn, depressing, heads-down slog through to a merciful full time whistle after which Les Ferdinand and Lee Hoos pointedly remained in the director’s box in full view of the cameras sharing phone messages.

Now, for all the good it will do us, we once again await the white smoke above Loftus Road.

Links >>> Photo Gallery >>> Ratings and Reports >>> Message Board Match Thread

QPR: Dieng 6; Dickie 5, Cameron 5, Barbet 5; Kane 5 (Adomah 77, 5), Carroll 5 (Willock 77, 5), Ball 5, Chair 5, Hämäläinen 5 (Osayi-Samuel 66, 5); Dykes 5, Bonne 5 (Kelman 66, 5)

Subs not used: Duke-McKenna, Kelly, Bettache, Masterson, Thomas

Yellow cards: Ball 78 (foul)

Swansea; Woodman 6; Cabango 6, Guehi 7, Bennett 6; Roberts 6, Fulton 7, Grimes 7, Dhanda 6 (Smith 65, 6), Bidwell 6; Ayew 7, Lowe 7

Subs not used: Manning, Benda, Fry, Leela, Professor Farnsworth, Latibeaudiere, Cooper, Garrick, Palmer, Routledge

Goals: Ayew 44 (unassisted), Lowe 53 (assisted Grimes)

Yellow Cards: Dhanda 33 (foul)

QPR Star Man – N/A

Referee – Steve Martin (Beverley Hills) 7 Thought he was ok. Couple of generous calls, one in our favour at the start of the second half when barbet was awarded for a suicidal back header with a free kick for a push, one against us in the first when Dickie cleanly won the ball on halfway and went charging forwards in the manner that brought a goal at Derby but was pulled back for a free kick. I’ve sene it suggested that there were some pretty good penalty shouts for various pulling at set pieces, but to be honest I didn’t see that, possibly numb to it all, and I came away thinking he’d been alright.

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Hoopstar added 17:45 - Dec 27
Depressing stuff perfectly captured.

Haven't been able to bring myself to watch the highlights - thought that was Chair's worst game for us for some time as everything he did seemed to miss- crosses, passes etc. and still our best player.

Didn't their second goal come from his getting into space and passing a cross straight to their nearest defender?
2

E15Hoop added 18:14 - Dec 27
Its interesting to note a distinct change of tone in the Warbler's post-match interviews over this Christmas period. From trying to keep his players cloistered, his tack changed after this game to an all out criticism of his strikers, and a "possession counts for nothing" stance which directly contradicts how he's set the team up and what his tone was at the start of the season. This smacks to me of a man who knows himself that his time is almost up and is trying to take an "I told you this was a problem all the way down the line" which is complete and utter hypocrisy.

Also very interesting to note that the first question Paul Morrissey asked him in the pre-match interview was related to team camaraderie, which tells me straight away that the media team have picked up on an obvious issue. And also very interesting to hear Clint Hill's comments about Warbler's dismissal of practising defending set pieces "because we're all about the football, here" when he was managing the blue side of Glasgow that Chris Charles referred to on the Podcast a few days ago.

I've been refreshing the News Now feed for the inevitable announcement of his immediate departure. What price do you think the bookies will offer for it happening tomorrow?
1

knocker added 18:48 - Dec 27
Think camaraderie could be a problem. With half the team taking the bloody knee and the other half determined not to. And Bright is stinking the place out.
0

Geoff78 added 19:27 - Dec 27
Totally agree with Knocker re taking the knee - it can't be good for morale if the black players (except Albert) think this is important (as do the premiership teams and most - certainly many - other sports people) but the white players in the squad insist on standing.

It's not obvious that team spirit is poor as mostly the team seem to be trying, but Les has probably screwed this up with his comments. He's right that action is more important than gestures but at this moment gestures may be very important to some of the players.

This is not an anti-Les pitch as I don't want to see him go as DoF. In all the circumstance it's hard to see anyone could have done much better.
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Sittingbournehoop added 20:02 - Dec 27
Always hard to stomach when you get beat by the opposition who don’t have to play anywhere near their best. At this rate we will be down well before the end of the season, the team have too many weaknesses, and a managers now looking out of his depth. At least he tried something different, but again no penetration and goal threat is becoming nonexistent. We look a league 1 team, which is where we deserve to be. Recruitment has been poor, not enough characters with fight, far too many placid individuals who now seem to accept the inevitable. I’ve supported the club for over 30 years and this is one of the poorest QPR teams I’ve seen in a long time. The buck shouldn’t just stop with the manager here, it needs a clear out in the boardroom too. The club is a complete shambles and some of the directors should hang their heads in shame.
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gobbles added 23:45 - Dec 27
How does Barbet still get 5s? He is surely only in the team as some kind if secret double agent playing for the opposition
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062259 added 04:25 - Dec 28
A greater sackable offense than Warburton’s lacklustre management would be mismanaging the Osayi-Samuel situation so disastrously that he ends up leaving for nothing. Whose head(s) should roll if that happens? Or, as every passing day increasingly suggests, when?
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Phil_i_P_Daddy added 12:41 - Dec 28
This squad is by no means the worst we have had over the last couple of decades or so, and I’d argue that Warbs, as a person, is the best manager we’ve had over the same period, bar Colin.
However, what Warbs is doing isn’t working. He’s chosen to wait until fan pressure has built before trying a different system and, albeit after only one attempt, this too fell flat on it’s face.
Our defensive stats during his time in charge speak for themselves, as does the lack of goals this season.
IF the squad are still behind Warbs (BOS clearly isn’t!) then I would give them all to the end of the season/Warbs’ contract before reviewing the way forward. I don’t see any obvious candidate to replace Warbs right now. It would odds-on have to be a ‘placate the fans’ appointment and, right now that probably means Holdsworth...
Can anybody take a reasonable guesstimate as to what the financial impact of relegation would be? I’m thinking worst case scenario League 1 could be a great opportunity for a Derry/Hill led reboot...
On the other hand, I could be talking out of my arse 🤷🏼‍♂️
Thoughts?
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E15Hoop added 12:57 - Dec 28
Phil: according to Kevin Gallen, relegation would cost the club around £7 million, PLUS there's a salary cap in League One, meaning we'd be further limited in the quality of players we could expect to attract after the inevitable bailing out of a portion of the current squad to recoup whatever we can in transfer fees. PLUS have you seen the clubs in League One this season? No guarantee that we'd come back up as quickly as last time even...

From the furious look on Lee Hoos' face at half-time on Saturday by all accounts, I would suggest that all and sundry behind the scenes see relegation as an unconscionable disaster..
1

E15Hoop added 12:57 - Dec 28
Phil: according to Kevin Gallen, relegation would cost the club around £7 million, PLUS there's a salary cap in League One, meaning we'd be further limited in the quality of players we could expect to attract after the inevitable bailing out of a portion of the current squad to recoup whatever we can in transfer fees. PLUS have you seen the clubs in League One this season? No guarantee that we'd come back up as quickly as last time even...

From the furious look on Lee Hoos' face at half-time on Saturday by all accounts, I would suggest that all and sundry behind the scenes see relegation as an unconscionable disaster..
0

Loft1979 added 20:00 - Dec 28
Under Warbs QPR run very hot and cold. I can see them going on a run.. but there has to be a change in the team to drive that run. Use Ball as a defensive midfielder? Bring in Charlie?
I think BOS is done as a QPR player.
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Loft1979 added 20:00 - Dec 28
Under Warbs QPR run very hot and cold. I can see them going on a run.. but there has to be a change in the team to drive that run. Use Ball as a defensive midfielder? Bring in Charlie?
I think BOS is done as a QPR player.
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snanker added 23:31 - Dec 28
All very familiar despite some minor tweeking in the set up, punished for every amateur error and squandering chance after opportunity after sitter up front. I feel sorry for the Warbler he is ardent and honest and trying his utmost to work with what cattle he has got but simply we are not capable of scoring to save our lives. We certainly also need that Hill/Derry steel like character on the pitch and if relegation is going to cost 7 million squid best we spend up decently to secure that player. Norwich game could get ugly ?
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TacticalR added 17:24 - Dec 29
Thanks for your report.

It's déjà vu all over again. We seem to be doing the right things, but as you point out all the crosses don't mean much if the quality is not there (not to mention the school of thought that not that many goals come from crosses). It's not just crosses - what should have been a simple short pass from Dickie to Chair was of poor quality and led to the second goal.

Confidence looks at rock bottom. Teams know to let us play in front of them and let us punch ourselves out.
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