January cannot come soon enough for Neil Warnock and Queens Park Rangers. Another disappointing draw at home against weak opposition left some of the Loftus Road faithful feeling a little frustrated, despite being 11th and gaining 9 points from their first 8 games. The reason for this might be that it is unlikely that QPR will pick up any points in their next four outings. Chelsea and Man City at home and Spurs and Stoke away is a huge task in the coming weeks and with odds heavily against QPR gaining any points, they will quickly slide down the table and by mid November could even be holding the rest of the league up.
Warnock has already hinted that QPR cannot wait for January to arrive. Injuries to new signings Gabbidon, DJ Campbell and Dyer have seen QPR’s 25 man squad start to look a bit thin. With Taarabt and Traore out for the Africa Cup of Nations for a month in January, QPR need to replenish the gaps that are starting to form in their squad. Fernandez has already informed Warnock that there will be funds to spend but with 11 fixtures still to play before the transfer window opens again. Warnock has a huge task to gain points in the up and coming weeks, especially as 6 of those 11 fixtures contain Man United, City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham.
Another problem that Warnock is facing is that most of his new boys are either injured or not performing as well as expected. The most disappointing for me personally, has been the anticipated arrival of Joey Barton. Self-professed “best English midfielder” has failed to perform to his high level this season and looks disinterested in a blue and white hooped shirt. He seems to be lacking pace and his passing has been diabolical.He has said in the Monday morning papers that he doesn’t see why Taarabt is described as being a ‘genius’ and that he is a ‘lazy sulker’.
This is all true but “pots and kettles” spring to mind Joey. He doesn’t seem to be putting in the 100% that £80,000 a week should be paying for and he could really do with going back to basics when it comes to his passing. On Saturday he only completed 59% of his 51 passes and needlessly went long or passed the ball in the air and repeatedly gave away possession to the frustration of QPR fans. For football’s ‘hard man’ he seemed to wimp out of a few challenges and I distinctly remember yelling at him to ‘man up’ after jumping out of another tackle. He then had the cheek to call Taarabt a ‘lazy sulker’ when I don’t think I saw Barton make an ounce of effort on Saturday or on any of the other occasions when he was wearing a hooped shirt.
Taarabt stated this week that he is ready to quit due to finances. Another petulant, childish, pathetic, ‘toys out of the pram’ story came out of W12 last week when Taarabt left Craven Cottage after being subbed at half time. This has left me and other QPR fans wishing he would go for good. He is a talented footballer without question but players like Tevez, Balotelli, Taarabt and even Cristiano Ronaldo who believe they are bigger than the team are not worth having at your club.
I can’t wait for January to come, when we can get rid of him. He has no loyalty and doesn’t care if QPR win or lose. Only his personal plaudits bother him. He is obviously using QPR as a springboard to greater things and whilst we was banging in goals, QPR fans weren’t too fussed by his childish antics but now the skills, goals and man of the match performances have dried up, his tantrums are becoming increasingly frustrating.
Mackie returned for his first start in nine months and was brilliant. He put in 110% and was physically superb, battling for everything.. I belive he is more than capable of filling Taarabts’ boots which would free up funds for Warnock to buy a decent out and out striker plus two more defenders. Despite not having any shots but completing 91% of his 11 passes, it was the runs he was making that made him look so appealing as an attacking forward. He chased everything and after 9 months out with a double leg break, the challenges he was going in for were truly incredible. I believe when he is fully match fit, he will be a key player in QPR’s bid for survival.
The game itself wasn’t impressive and was rightly left for the penultimate fixture on Match of the Day. As the statistics below show, it was a very close game. It was end to end football but neither side had any real chances or efforts that threatened the keeper. It was a game that never really got going. A shot/cross from Helguson found the net before Samba rose above anyone else in the box to head from the edge of the area, beating Paddy Kenny at the far post. A goal again that QPR should have defended. QPR could have claimed that they deserved a penalty but it would have been harsh. Taarabt fluffed a real chance to win the game late on. Hoilett was impressive for Blackburn. He had 3 shots and on 4 occasions, he tore the QPR defence apart but again nobody wanted to score from his passes or from the chances created. Despite having a few notable strikers, Blackburn couldn’t convert.
After their last outing, which lead to a sit-down protest, I don’t think Blackburn fans will be any happier now. 2 more points dropped against a newly promoted side and despite the owner saying he backs Kean ‘101%’ unless results improve he will soon be out the door. Blackburn sit at the bottom and nothing on Saturday convinced me that they will be finishing outside of the bottom three. Fans are becoming increasingly frustrated and desperate for Kean’s departure; a loss next week at home to Tottenham could be the final nail in the coffin for Steve Kean. QPR possibly have the hardest 4 games imaginable coming up and I would happily take 2 points and see that as nothing short of incredible from them. This result was not good enough. At home, against fellow relegation fighters is a must win and Warnock will no doubt be disappointed with the result. However, it is a better result than a fortnight ago and hopefully QPR will be looking forward, instead of back.
In the last few seasons, finishing in 17th spot ( my aim for QPR) has required a good home record. Wolves stayed up last year with 40 points, 28 of which were won at home. In the 2009/10 season, West Ham stayed up with 35 points of which 26 were won at home. In the 2007/8 season, Reading stayed up with 36 points, 20 of which were won at home. These recent survival stories show that your home form is vital. QPR have played well at home this year but have struggled to convert. If they are to stay up in this division they have to start scoring more goals. Otherwise, teams will start taking advantage of their inability to score and put 6 past us…
It was another frustrating day in the Premier League for QPR and Blackburn. QPR can take solace from the fact that they are 11th in the league, 3 months into the season. Blackburn have more to worry about. Fans desperate to see the back of their manger whilst holding up the rest of the division. Warnock has a few injuries to be concerned about and before he can do anything about it, he has to play the ‘top 6’ teams. The silver lining is that Tony Fernandez has promised more funds by January. Let’s hope it isn’t too onerous by then. Another week gone in this year’s Premier League and QPR are still above the bottom three.