It has been another controversial week at QPR. Neil Warnock suggested that the Carling Cup is of no interest to Premier League clubs. This comment after a despicably poor performance against League One’s Rochdale angered fans who had paid £15 to watch; in hindsight a game Warnock never intended to win. The mood of the fans lifted, however when on Friday the most unlikely of signings; Joey Barton joined for free on a suspected £60-80,000 a week salary; this almost acting as an apology to Rangers fans who in turn seemed to perk up after such an impressive signing. It ended another ‘controversial’ week in Rangers recent history and again asked questions about the reliability of one of Warnock’s signings.
Despite another weekend of ‘experts’ who had ‘watched’ the QPR game and questioned QPR’s place in this year’s Premier League, again suggesting they are not good enough, they demonstrated that they had once again fallen short in their research when failing to mention the fact that QPR had six first team players missing and a back four of two make-shift full-backs and a Premiership debutant at centre-half.
All the luck was against QPR this week; two deflected goals, and the woodwork was Wigan’s man of the match. For the first time this season QPR dominated when it came to attacking statistics. They had 19 shots (4 on target) compared to Wigan’s 12 shots (3 on target) and after hitting the post three times, the QPR faithful would be forgiven in thinking that they were hard done by and deserved something from the game. QPR threatened heavily from wing play and Taarabt who was threatened this week that he would have to ‘shape up’ to keep his place, was back to his best and was the most threatening. He successfully completed 82% of his 28 passes and had 6 attempts on goal, hitting the post twice. He was arguably QPR’s best player apart from, once again, another outstanding performance from veteran, Shaun Derry who completed 90% of his 41 passes and forced Ali Al-Habsi into a stunning opening half save which could have given the R’s the lead. For the third game running, Derry bossed the midfield and put forward a case as to why he should be given the Captaincy.
One player who did impress and rightly won Man of the Match was two-goal Franco Di Santo who took both his goals well and, before both Manchester games on Sunday, had contenders for goal of the week. He had all three of Wigan’s shots on target and completed 71% of his 17 passes.
QPR played well and were unlucky to leave Wigan with nothing. They have new signings, Luke Young and Joey Barton and a rumour of another three or four to be completed before the window closes on Wednesday. With this is mind, a decent enough performance against Wigan, where luck played a key role and also the fact that major squad members are returning from injury this week, still gives me and other QPR fans hope and confidence that they will stay up this season. For Wigan, in a season where everyone has written them off, this gave them their first win and sent out a message to the rest of the Premier League that Martinez is once again capable of achieving the impossible in keeping Wigan up; an accolade I personally believe Martinez deserves for the loyalty he has shown to the club.