Neil Warnock will reflect on last night’s 0-0 draw with Newcastle as two points dropped after his side dominated for large portions of the game but failed to get the win. Even though he gave debuts to five players the team looked fluid and the opposition struggled to deal with their movement.
QPR lined-up in a 4-3-3 formation with Adel Taarabt and Shaun Wright-Phillips flanking Jay Boothroyd and within eight minutes, left-back Armand Traore presented the attacking trio with their first chance of the game but Wright-Phillips’ header was unable to find the net.
They created 14 goal-scoring opportunities last night, equating to a chance every 6.8 minutes, and the scoreline highlighted their lack of a clinical finisher. Newcastle’s Steven Taylor and Danny Simpson made clearances off the line, but out of all the forwards at Warnock’s disposal, he does not have a striker who is a proven Premier League goal-scorer. You could argue DJ Campbell’s 13 goals for Blackpool last season puts him in the frame for a starting position but if QPR are to continue with the same system, Campbell’s lack of physical strength and presence will see him struggle.
Below is a table showing all the strikers at QPR and their goal totals over the past three seasons.
Most of the forwards have limited Premier League experience and as the season progress this will become a stumbling block. After the match Warnock said he would be disappointed if Wright-Phillips didn’t reach double figures this campaign, an optimistic number maybe, but goals need to come from all over the midfield as well.
For Rangers to have any hope of staying up they will need to beat the teams around them. Their next four games are against Wolves, Aston Villa, Fulham and Blackburn Rovers and there is no reason why they can’t pick up a reasonable amount of points.
However, aside from the lack of goals, the rest of the signs are positive for the Championship winners. They outplayed Newcastle in all areas of the pitch, especially in midfield where the extra man pushed Yohan Cabaye and Cheik Tote into more defensive positions. Many times throughout the game Cabaye and Tiote found themselves side by side as they tried to squeeze the middle, but this only succeeded in freeing up space for QPR on the wings.
Traore’s forward forays gave width on the left and when he was withdrawn on 51 minutes play moved to the center and the right of the pitch (QPR playing 6% of their 492 passes to the left). Not to mention Wright-Phillip’s man-of-the-match performance.
Not too many conclusions can be drawn from yesterday’s performance as this is a team that hasn’t gelled and is going to face much stiffer challenges than Newcastle but it’s no doubt that these are exciting times for the Loftus Road faithful.