|Queens Park Rangers 0 v 2 Swansea City|
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.
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.
The Twitter/Instagram @loftforwords
Pictures – Action Images
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Letters from Wiltshire #26 by wessex_exile
Well, after a piss-poor Xmas period so far for the U’s, culminating in the Roots Hall horror show on Boxing Day, let’s hope the U’s have burned off those festive calories and are raring to go. They’ll certainly have to be at their best against a Cheltenham side aiming to force their way into the automatic promotion places. In other news, we now finally have confirmation that there will be a trade deal in place with the EU once Brexit arrives in 2021. It remains to be seen whether it’s a good deal or not, and more to the point, who for, but at least it’s not the economic uncertainty of no-deal.
Letters from Wiltshire #25 by wessex_exile
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Letters from Wiltshire #24 by wessex_exile
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Letters from Wiltshire #23 by wessex_exile
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Letters from Wiltshire #22 by wessex_exile
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