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|Prediction||Prediction Logged by at 13:42:52|
Hull City v Queens Park Rangers prediction logged
|Exciting QPR Friday game|
at 13:45 11 Oct 2019
I say a QPR player (past or present) next person says another one, but first letter of first name must match first letter of previous surname. Two to start to demonstrate. all welcome!
|Antti's Six Knee Jerks: QPR 4 Blackburn 2|
at 14:54 7 Oct 2019
ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?
1. WELL? ARE YOU NOT?: I only ask because in a game of six goals and some bl00dy lovely football, it all seemed surprisingly flat from our fans. OK, flat is an exaggeration. But before the season started if someone told us we'd score four in a game (it was only two months ago the 'Twitt-R-arti' were lighting flaming torches in readiness for a march on the KPFS, armed with an effigy of Lee Hoos, an old Shoot! poster of Les Ferdinand with an angry red cross scrawled on his face in lipstick, and RED RUM written across his chest instead of Holland Fly KLM and a baby blimp of Tony Fernandes because we hadn't signed any strikers, #DONTANNOUNCECHRISMARTIN #ANNOUNCEWELBECKHESONAFREE) I think we'd have all collectively lost our sh!t - pandemonium in the stands, man with Mexican hat falling into the Paddocks to be caught by Jude, that girl from the Palace 6-0 game who stripped and ran up and down the top of the exec boxes doing it all over again sort of thing. On Saturday, at least near me, there was a lot of harrumphing, a lot of heads in hands, and then some three-quarter-hearted cheering as we rammed in four pretty sweet goals.
I'm not sure why this is, just as I'm not sure where the fans who turned up in number for the Luton game have gone, unless they simply thought things would never get that good again. And maybe that is the issue a bit. We saw half an hour of near-perfect football, so the feeling among some is: 'well why can't we play perfect football and score a goal every 10 minutes EVERY MATCH. WHY NOT?!'
I am, of course, being over-dramatic for (limited, yes all right) comic effect. But I do have a serious point. I think the reason why no one was getting very carried away in the way we did against Luton and in the way we might have done in years past is because none of us really know what is a safe score with this team. And it's not about playing out from the back. For all the complaints, we're actually decent at doing that. It's just that we do look really, really vulnerable in defence. Even on Saturday, Kelly did not have a save to make other than the two that went in, and yet there was still that nagging fear that somehow we could give it away. The bravado of 'you might as well go home' after 30 mins v Luton was completely absent after 80 mins and 4-1 v Blackburn. No one felt safe. The Luton game has perhaps created a weird paradox, where we're desperate to see that swaggering perfection again, but at the same time so scarred by their mini-comeback that we're not sure any score his safe.
Still, it's much fun.
2. BREAKING THE CYCLE: Since Ollie took over in 2016, we've endured these runs: 6 losses in a row. 5 without a win. 6 losses in a row. 7 without a win. 5 losses and 1 lucky draw in 6. 5 losses in a row. 7 without a win.
That tells you how important it was to win on Saturday and snap the cycle quickly. True, this is a different team now, but after such a good start, it would have been awful to start slipping down the league and, worse, losing confidence into what had got us so many point so early in the first place. While we might have spent half an hour of this game being a little more cagey than before, it was good to see that we weren't suddenly abandoning everything. This team knows it did not play badly in the last two games, as much as they deserved to lose both, but that's not a reason to chuck everything away and start again. Strength of charatcer, fortified by Wells's opener, helped us overcome doubts to turn in a smashing performance.
3. MANNING: Another excellent performance from our left back/wing back. One of the great things about this side is how everyone is comfortable on the ball. Even Dom Ball, rested on Sat, and not the most technical player in the squad, has no compunction about demanding a pass. Manning, though, has all the technical skill required for passing, controlling and, to deadly effect, crossing. There can't be many games where a left back can pretty much claim three assists, but currently almost every time struggles with his energy, determination and quality of delivery. One in the eye for the 'round pegs, round holes' brigade. His tackling stats are also hugely impressive.
There's a but coming - you can sense it, I know. I'm just wondering. Unlike some people I wasn't hugely enamoured with the performances of our CDMs on Saturday (see below). There was a suggestion last week of pushing Manning into one of those slots and moving Wallace to left back. I'm broadly against that for various reasons: Manning is performing so well, you don't really want to move him. Wallace surely cannot match Manning's delivery, which has been crucial from wide areas. And I'm not quite sure if Manning is right for a CDM role. But, six goals we have conceded this season have come from attacks down our left side, plus a seventh deep cross from the right against Luton where Manning did not track his man all the way (many of the rest were set pieces). Two of the six from the left were dreadful pens given away by Barbet, for which he is of course responsible, but still, they were dangerous attacks down our left with Manning not really in the picture. This is tactical as much as anything, so please don't see it as an attack on Manning - clearly he has license to be a valuable attacker, often forming that lethal triangle with Chair and Eze higher up the pitch. But teams are targeting him, both with high balls to exploit his lack of height and with balls in behind him. Blackburn several times on Saturday drifted balls over to him to get their right winger away, particularly in the first half, and Luton were particularly keen on bombing deep balls in from the right to isolate Manning's size. So I don't know if there's a solvable issue here or not. Would Wallace be better in terms of defence, with Manning becoming more of a quarter back alongside Cameron or Ball? Or would that cut off one of our major attacking threats to our detriment? If Manning is being targeted by high balls or balls exploiting his position higher up the pitch, do we just accept that as an unavoidable consequence and trust he'll do more damage than they can? I don't honestly know.
4. DEFENSIVE MIDFIELD: Good games for Cameron and Scowen on Saturday, but I'm unable to join in some of the love shoved their way. I felt the excellent Rothwell and the decent Dack too often had too much time and space to hurt us. Rothwell, at least, was coming from deeper before playing some really very sharp key balls, several times cutting us in half, which made him difficult to pick up. But there was no such excuse for Dack. Especially when we had two defensive midfielders in his space, and even more especially when he was still finding large pockets at 4-1. At that stage, surely, Scowen could've just man-marked him, ensured he didn't hurt us as he frequently threatened to do, as the game was won. The fact he didn't may have been down to Warbs a bit, who I felt could've sent on Ball for the tiring Cameron with instructions to stand on Dack and take him out of the game (legally obvs, I'm not an animal). For me, this was where our main problems stemmed from on Saturday, because apart from The Beard's classic tackle, I found little to fault the back four.
5. BOS: An odd game for Bright. He's been taking some mild criticism that his approach play is great, but his end product not so much (for wingers, twas ever thus, was it not, friends?). But on Saturday it was the opposite. He wasn't his usual ebullient self with ball at feet and legs on fire, but he set up won and stylishly scored another. I was thinking of him last week and he reminded me a bit of Andy Impey at his age. Younger fans may not remember, but Imps got some fearful stick at one stage from the LR faithful. But then, it slowly began to change, most memorably when he got two away at Ipswich, and he went on to be player of the season and one of our most consistent and reliable performers. I wonder if Bright may follow suit. He has all the tools, he's still only 21 and he has a great attitude. Was really pleased he scored such a good goal on Saturday - hopefully that'll give him confidence to score more going forward.
6. FOUR SCORERS: If ever there was a sign of the new QPR, this was it. Four goalscorers - the only thing missing, and from this season too, is one from Moroccan Messi. When it does come, surely, it's going to be a pearler. The fourth of course came from Hugill another (still another!) getting some stick from some quarters, despite that being his sixth of the season (none of our team got more than 7 league goals last season). What a Warby sub that was. 3-1? Better get another striker on, come on lads. Attack, attack, attack, attack, attack. Great header - couldn't have been placed better. Nahki's seventh means he is averaging a goal every 91 minutes at the moment. I insisted in another thread a Prem club wouldn't take him. Having read that, I'm not so sure. Eze's finish was a thing of beauty. We're currently on course to score 50% more goals than we did last season. Woohoo!
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Queens Park Rangers v Blackburn Rovers prediction logged
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Cardiff City v Queens Park Rangers prediction logged
|QPR Life Goals|
at 10:13 2 Oct 2019
Haven't heard Theo Delaney's podcast yet, but i think it does a thing where you talk about the goals of your life, the ones with the biggest impact that you saw your club score. I know we've done games and atmospheres etc before, but what are your top 10 QPR goals in terms of ones that stand out in your memory - so not best goals, but, I suppose, important ones. A few we'll all share I'm sure. I would put Gerry v Liverpool in, but I wasn't born, so forgive me. Here's mine, from 10-1.
10. JOHN SPENCER v PORT VALE, CHAMPIONSHIP, 1997
The only one I wasn't there for, but it gets in because I went batsheet mental. I was at uni and for some reason this potential dog of a game was on ITV. So me and my housemates settled back to watch it. At half time, sulking and embarrassed, their laughter ringing in my ears, I skulked off to my room to watch the second half alone, and in silence. Goals one and two barely stirred me. But I let out a yelp on goal three. And when goal 4 went in it was payback time because we had DRAWN. With Port Vale! Take that, suckers. Will never forget that look on John Spencer's face, a look that said, 'Of course we did it. Of course it was me.' 'I'm yer fkn man' indeed.
9. ISHMAEL MILLER v LEICESTER, CHAMPIONSHIP, 2011
There are goals I've left out - Austin v Wigan, Blackstock v Preston, Kulscar v Palace, that were probably bigger. But I love this goal so much. Miller didn't really do a lot else for us, (or, oddly for a player who seemed very decent, for anyone else), but this more than paid for his loan deal. It was a tough game against a strong Leicester team and to be honest by the end I was fairly happy with a point and a clean sheet. And then a tackle by Ale (of course), a superb outside of the boot ball by Routledge, and there was Miller, sprinting away like Les in his pomp, holding off a challenge, and sliding it home, before showing us his bum and trying to pull his shorts up like it hadn't happened. The day I knew we were going up (Paladini madness notwithstanding).
8. CLIVE WILSON v MILLWALL, FA CUP, 1995
The last time I thought we might win a Cup. Just the 24 years ago. An incredibly tense, even game. The Wawll lads at boiling point to my right (I was in the Paddocks). A ridiculous handball and then Willo, one of my all-time favourite players, the best left back we've had over the last 30-odd years, stepped up and nervelessly stroked it home. I did one massive cheer, one flick of the Vs to the Millwall fans, then waited by the exit for the final whistle before pegging it from the inevitable mayhem on the streets.
7. ADEL TAARABT v WATFORD, THE CHAMPIONSHIP, 2011
Of course, he scored better ones. Scunthorpe, Cardiff (twice), Swansea, Fulham and on and on. But this was the one. The thing about Adel that season was that, for all his flaws, when the big games came, he delivered. Both Cardiff games. Barnsley after we'd just lost 4-1 to Scunny without him. Swansea after our December wobble. And this one. In an incredibly nervy game as we limped over that b'stard finish line, who scored when we needed it? Adel. A lovely little finish, too.
6. KEVIN GALLEN v SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY, PREMIER LEAGUE, 1994
A personal one this. It was a scuffed strike, but it felt like the start of something special. It was Kev's long-awaited home debut. Gerry Francis had been getting some stick for not chucking Gallen in the side the season before, but finally, aged 18, he was in for the new season. He had a goal robbed off him at Old Trafford on the opening day, but he wasn't to be denied in a superb game against Sheffield Wednesday, in which three of my all-time faves all scored (Les, Trev, Kev). This one was in front of us in the Loft, and it bobbled in, just about, to give us the win. And we all thought we had a future England star at the club. I remember Howard, editor of In the Loft, a great old fanzine perhaps unfortunately often in the shadow of AKUTRs, had written months before that when Kev would finally make his debut, 'it would see the birth of the greatest striker the country has seen since Gary Lineker.' I really believed it.
5. TREVOR SINCLAIR v BARNSLEY, FA CUP, 1997
I was there, were you? I saw it go in and next thing I knew I had run 12 steps down to the front of the Loft, screaming 'DID YOU SEE THAT?'. The best goal I have ever seen live, or will see live.
4. LES FERDINAND v EVERTON, PREMIER LEAGUE, 1994
Les scored loads of goals that could have made this list. But this one is a special memory. Matt Le Tiss scored the last goal at the Dell for a Southampton win, which I love, and Les scored the last goal at the Loft End terracing to give us a win, which I also love. Our equaliser by Devon White in this game had, let's say, a hint of handball about it... in that he punched it over the line quite blatantly. But this late winner was wonderful, a classic Ferdinand goal from the era. The Bard gets it, plays a trademark ball over the top, Les outsprints the defence: bang. 2-1. Goal. Game. Bye bye terraces. A sad day, but what a way to end it. Still have the certificate, signed by Gerry and Richard Thompson. Odd.
3. JAMIE MACKIE v LIVERPOOL, PREMIER LEAGUE, 2012
Few players loved a dramatic goal as much as our Jamie. And this, for someone who scored a few of them, was the best. People were leaving on 75 minutes as we drifted to defeat and, it has to be said, almost certain relegation (we would have gone down, actually, had we even drawn this). But then Derry - Shaun Derry! - rose to get one back. Cisse touched home another, got cramp, and yelled at Taiwo for celebrating when he was in so much pain. And then came Jamie Mackie with the coollest finish you could ever imagine considering what was at stake, the lateness of the game, and the match situation. I accidentally destroyed a seat in front of me celebrating, while my Liverpool mate next to me stood in dead silence.
2. BOBBY ZAMORA v DERBY, PLAY-OFF FINAL, 2014
Not quite top spot, but clearly an incredible goal. Not many groups of fans can genuinely claim to have celebrated a goal, a win and a promotion all effectively in exactly the same moment. I sent this goal to someone the other day when they emailed me about the Derby car wreck, and I watched it 12 times. You can't only watch it once. And you find something new each time. Zamora almost angry. Redknapp trying to remain calm and issue some instructions. Charlie going mental. And *that* Derby fan. A bizarre goal, really, from almost nothing, and yet when you watch it now, it's as if we fans sensed something. We were going mad on the throw-in FFS. Absolutely incredible. All my life I wanted to see us at Wembley. It's done. There isn't much else, really, that's feasible.
1. PAUL FURLONG v OLDHAM, PLAY-OFF SEMI, 2003.
This, for me, pips Zamora. I know Zamora's goal was bigger, and in the end meant a lot more. But sadly several things mean it can't be number one (Redknapp, Barton, and, yes, sorry, the fact it wasn't Austin who scored, because if anyone deserved it that season, it was him).
This was different. I loved this team. Full of Rs fans. So many individual stories, or 'journeys'. The emergence of Gino. The relentlessness of Bircham. Langley's best season, cruelly curtailed by tw@ttish referee Steve Bennett. Ollie's incredible personality to bounce back from the depths of despair. Gallen's return to form. Danny Shittu's cult status. Who didn't have cult status in that team? But perhaps the best story of all was Paul Furlong. A player no one wanted. A player who proved we were right not to want him with some poor performances. And then a player with the belief, determination and quality to prove everyone wrong, to turn the entire crowd on his side, and to later end his career with us as a modern-day legend. Such a legend that he even bequeathed his own son to us, who has since forsaken his birthright to join a rival family, the b'stard.
Anyway, where was I? Well, this was the culmination of years and years of absolute rubbish. People complain about last season or JFH and I think - Jesus Christ, you cannot have been there in the late 90s/early 2000s when we were seriously, seriously useless. We put up with it all (most of us - there seemed to be a lot more by the end of the season), and when this goal went in and we then won the game, they heard the roar throughout W12. Grown men crying. Children dancing. Culkin and Day hugging. Team, management, owners, fans, all as one. It was a special, determined goal, by a special, determined player.
at 10:05 2 Oct 2019
apologies. a test.
|Antti's Six Knee Jerks: QPR 0 Albion 2|
at 20:56 29 Sep 2019
Well, come on, five wins in a row was never going to happen was it?
1. RESPECT: Once more, I thought Warburton's comments after the game were pretty much spot on: from the start I felt we paid them too much respect. In fact, I'd go further and say we looked a bit frightened. In a way, I don't blame them. I saw Albion last week and felt that to get anything at all out the game we'd have to score twice, such is our accident-prone defence this season. And we looked like we knew that. We looked terrified of their pace down the wings and their ability to attack quickly on the break. Mix this with the added extras of a place on top of the league and also a game on Sky after getting rave reviews recently, and we felt a bit like a deer in the old headlights.
Against Luton, the passing from the go was magnificent - crisp, incisive, attacking. Against Albion it was tentative, much slower - we were afraid to make a mistake, and because of that, we *did* make mistakes. Kane, Eze, Wells, Cameron - all gave the ball away early on in siutations when really they were not under significant pressure. Wrong decisions were being made, we looked jittery and with each bad pass, only came more jitters and so more bad passing. It was like a cricket match where two players drop catches and suddenly the whole team stiffens and forgets how to field.
However, I also thought that by half time we had calmed down a bit and just before the break twice we could have done better when we got ourselves into good areas. We were well in the game, as we were at the start of the second half, until some very poor defending from the front right to the back allowed the admittedly excellent Ferguson to grab his goal. But, we are a new-ish team against a good side. A side that will be in the play-offs this season at a minimum, unless something drastic happens. A side that can afford to leave expensive striker Zohore on the bench for the whole game. It wasn't an unexpected result, we didn't do ourselves justice, but we must learn from it in the future, have more belief, and know that we can hurt even the better sides in this division.
2. BARBET: I think The Beard is starting to look better in the three at the back, and I actually thought he had one of his best games for us on Saturday. He made some crucial blocks, an excellent one on Austin, and also threw himself into some headers from dangerous crosses. His passing was, as usual, reliably good. On first impressions on Saturday, I was a bit annoyed at his red card challenge. I feel in those siutations you are almost always better off allowing the forward the run - there's no guarantee he'll score and that late in the game, it feels stupid to me to risk a red card and a ban. Rob Green's brainless one against Forest the other year was one of the worst I'd seen (just let him score, FFS), Gary O'Neil in the play-off final a little more understandable in such a big game. But here, I thought it was clumsy. Having seen the replay, though, I have some sympathy for Barb. The Albion striker was undoubtedly, and weirdly, considering he was clean through, looking for a touch as an excuse to go down, it does look accidental at worst, and possibly there was not even a real touch - not enough to send him down, anyway. So, I feel for him a bit. But he can sit out Cardiff, Wallace will get a baptism of fire, and Warbs will have a decision to make next week in the QPR 0 Blackburn 2 (Dack 2) match.
3. CHAIR: I only become a bigger fan of the Moroccan Messi with each passing game. Other than Hugill, who refused to be bullied and worked as hard as he could for very little reward, I thought Chair was our only offensive player who met the challenge as if it were any other game. As usual, he barely gave it away (that boy really takes care of the football), and all our best moves involved him, even if he should have done better when he raced into the box, left two players on their arses, and then failed to find the killer pass or shot just before half time. He didn't have an amazing game, but I thought it was a good sign Warbs noticed his performance and kept him on, having faith in him to play first wide and then off Hugill.
4. LEISTNER: Just a quick word on the BFG. We are all saying how well he's done to et back in the side and play so well, but we do need to keep some clean sheets somewhere. The two on Saturday had little to do with Leistner, however and once more I thought he played very well. The myth that he can't pass seems to have finally faded, which is perhaps the best news. I always think the key to passing from the back is not how good your defenders are at passing, but what options they are given from the players in front of them. That was the main problem last season, and it's much better this season, making it easier for everyone. But mostly he was what he is - a hard as nails centre half making sure Charlie Austin knew exactly where he was at all times with a whole gameful of crunching tackles, that the ref was sometimes too quick to penalise. Glad to have him back, although I thought the back three missed the moderate pace of Hall - Cameron looked slow again to me.
5. AUSTIN: Seemed like a typical early season Charlie performance to me - not quite at full fitness yet. The movement in the box was occasionally there, and he always showed for the ball on Albion attacks, but in truth he was fairly easily dealt with by Leistner. Yes, he still had a couple of good efforts, but he'll do that in almost any game because his movement, willingness to shoot, and accuracy is so good. I was glad at the ovations he received and I'm sure he appreciated it too. I was less impressed by the pathetic booing of Phillips, but that's just me. I agree that sometimes he didn't seem to put in his all, and Clive will no doubt cite the Blackburn away game. But equally, he stood up at times, particularly the end of our relegation season, when others didn't even give the slightest toss. He wasn't a playboy, a drinker or anything. He provided loads of assists, scored some great goals, and we sold him for a profit. I'm really not quite sure how all that justifies a booing, however tongue in cheek it might be.
6. PATIENCE: I don't want to harp on about our fans, but I will a bit. It won't make a blind bit of difference me writing this here, but a bit more patience for a new team would be nice. We won 3 in 23 at the end of last season (or something), we had a huge turnover in personnel and a new manager, we've had a start absolutely no one predicted. And at the game people were getting really quite angry. I had people around me demanding we 'go long' after about 20 minutes of the game because they were so frustrated that we weren't, I dunno, already 2-0 up. We were beaten by a better, stronger, bigger side in a game we deserved to lose, for sure, but not a game in which we were out-classed until, perhaps, we were down to 10 late in the game when Lumley had to pull off some fine saves. And I get back and find, of course, far more messages on here than there were after the Luton game, with a decent portion of them accusing us of being 'awful.'
Now, I'm not saying we were good. But 'awful'? Surely we can just find a bit of moderation, a bit of understanding here? It was 2-0. Two preventable goals, for sure, but it was 2-0 against a side unbeaten in the league this season. Do we need to get better at the back? Yes. Can we play a lot better? Yes. Were we 'awful'? No, come on. 7-1 atb theirs last season was 'awful'. Losing at home in quick succession to teams that would go down weeks later, was awful. It's semantics, I know, but I also think it's worth being a little moderate in our views sometimes. I remember we lost to Norwich 1-0 last season and there was a similar reaction on here. They then went on to walk the league and in retrospect, we actually did ok in that game. This season will not see us challenging for promotion - let's just all understand that. Let's still have high standards, of course, but let's also be reasonable. No one was not trying, no one was not working hard, no one was not caring. We will do better - and, sadly, we'll probably do worse, before this season is out.
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Queens Park Rangers v West Bromwich Albion prediction logged
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Millwall v Queens Park Rangers prediction logged
|Antti's Six Knee Jerks: QPR 3 Luton 2|
at 13:25 16 Sep 2019
For me, this is a sweet spot. I have zero interest in promotion to the Death Star floating above us, so all I really want is attacking football, goals and entertainment. At the moment, that is exactly what we have. Too mistake-prone at the back to challenge seriously, but, touch wood, just too damn good to go down. Perfect.
1. THE FIRST 30: OK, there's a lot to unpack from this game, but let's start with a whole chunk of it. That first 30 minutes was absolutely scinitillating. One of the best 30 minutes of football I have seen by a QPR team. Took me back to one of my first ever games that I saw - a 3-1 midweek victory over Southampton, where we laid waste to their goal in a second half spell that, much like Saturday, brought three goals, but it could easily have been six or more (night of the Dave Bardsley thunderbolt, fact fans).
All across the pitch we were utterly magnificent. The skill, the movement, the focus, the determination, the work rate, the passing. Luton are by no means a poor side, but they barely seemed to touch the ball and while we spent pre-season worrying if we'd score enough goals, we looked like we'd score every time we got the ball. It was sensational, from back to front. When the BFG, whose passing has always been cruelly underrated, is playing 50-yard defence-splitting balls, you know things are going well. The only very minor quibble would be that we should have scored more, but even then, Eze's two bar-hits were very unlucky - you can't criticise that too much.
Of course, no team can keep up that sort of play for an entire game - while it was beautiful to watch, it was underpinned by incredibly hard work that at times embarrassed Luton. While Harry Cornick Junior did well to tuck away Joe Lumley's generous present, I could scarcely believe his lack of action for the rest of the half - same with Lua Lua (step over, shift left. He doesn't change, does he? As predictable as a Katie Hopkins hot take, that bloke). Time and again Ryan Manning had so much space and time on the left he could have been forgiven for thinking he'd stepped in some dog sh!t. And there would be Cornick, perhaps reminiscing to himself about his turn in long-forgotten World War II drama Memphis Belle, ambling back, barely even glancing at Manning, as Rangers out-numbered their hapless opponents for the 25th time in the game. It was astonishing. Still, he scored the first and created the second, so maybe the tactics were better than I thought. The stuffing was knocked out of us a bit after their first goal, but even then we should've had one or two more before half time. In effect, both Eze and Wells could and arguably should have already been arguing over the match ball while sucking on their half time protein gels.
2. EZE: This time last year I was 95% certain he wouldn't be here this time this year. He is, and thank the lord for that. If this continues, though, he definitely won't be here this time next season. OK he tired, as the whole team did, towards the end, but that was forgiveable given the immense amount of work he put in - and he still had enough about him to glide past players, win free kicks and play that gorgeous outside of the foot ball to Ball or Mlakar or maybe both, I dunno. This was an absolutely beautiful performance - he was King of the KPFS, lording it over everyone, dominating the game, demanding the ball, passing beautifully, scoring beautifully, dribbling beautifully. It was utterly, utterly brilliant, to quote Timmy Mallett, and no wonder the fans have begun to resurrect Adel's song for our current No.10.
What was his best moment? His outstanding opening goal? The perfect pass for Wells's second? His double backward drag back thing in the centre of the pitch? For some, none of that, it'll be his relentless harrying and tackling back that has surely shut up even his most idiotic critics with their lazy accusations of laziness. Superb performance. Clive better give him an 8 minimum, but this was approaching Freeman v Leeds for me.
3. BALL: I was thoroughly underwhelmed by his little display as a sub against Pompey, but much more encouraged by this. I thought he had a very good game in front of the back three - he's mobile, strong, decent in the air, and while some around me were annoyed when he tried a more expansive pass, I don't mind that he has the self-belief to try and rocket a 40-yard diag to Manning even if he should be tapping it short to the Moroccan Messi (possible new nickname: John Inman). Not afraid to burst forward and give us an extra man in the attack, and a man who has a lot to say for himself. Last year we were a bit quiet as a team, so maybe that's no bad thing. Greg Cameron might be a bit worried.
4. PUGH: Just a quick word on Pughy. I felt a bit non-plused by Warbs's subs this week. Mlakar for Wells seemed a bit odd given Wells's electric first half display - although he has been off banging them in for Bermuda, so he may well have tired (I'd have considered pushing Morrocan Messi or Eze up a bit and bringing on Amos, personally); and Amos for Kane was an odd one that didn't really work. But bringing Pugh on was a great move. He brought calmness, strength, determination and just a bit of experience to our tiring side and really helped us try to get back on the front foot. He made a couple of great runs with the ball and also won it a few times too - he may be in his 30s but his energy was just what we needed. He's not going to play every week, but he's going to be a valuable asset to this team.
5. LUMLEY: I don't want to spend too long on Lummers, because it's been done to death on here a bit already, but, yes, it was a dreadful mistake for their first. And he knew it, he doesn't need us to tell him and the poor guy was apologising to fans as he walked off at half time. This should not stop us passing from the back - because it is working well, and worked fantastically in that first half. The thing is, you have to judge when to do it. And the worst thing is - we had been. Most of the time when it was tight, we were getting rid. On this occasion, Lumley was absolutely correct to be looking to make a pass. He was under no real threat, he had time, and he had options. He just mis-hit his pass. It's not a reason to stop the way we play - we just have to cut out the really bad mistakes. If we play like this all season and four or five times someone gets robbed and we lose a goal - fine. That's inevitable, and the rewards are greater. But these ones are the ones we can't afford. It was really bad.
Should he be rested? I really don't know. Kelly was brought in with a reputation of being excellent with his feet, but from what I've seen he's not as safe with his hands as Joe. I think for now, we stick. Joe's a good keeper and he can put this behind him - other than that one bad pass, his distribution was actually very, very good, with some really superb passes. Worth remembering.
6. FANS: I occasionally like to jerk off on the fans a bit, if you'll excuse the expression, so here's a quick one. I thought there was good and bad on Saturday. It was great to see the stadium pretty full - Luton brought a lot down and the home stands were packed, which made for a really good atmosphere. It really felt like fans are starting to believe something exciting is happening, and the players responded brilliantly with that amazing start. I also thought the fans were great with Lumley, with far more shouts of encouragement than shrieks of anger after his mistake. And at the end, they received warm applause for the three points and the entertainment. However, sometimes great football has a price, and some of the groans at the (very) odd misplaced pass seemed well over the top to me. There was a lot of impatience around me in the second half too. I do think sometimes it's worth us sucking up our annoyances - passes are misplaced, mistakes are made - and at any level. It will never be plain sailing. This lot are giving us some marvellous football at the moment - let's try and have a little more understanding when we're not scoring a goal every 10 minutes.
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Queens Park Rangers v Luton Town prediction logged
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