QPR started their new era in splendid form, in front of the television cameras on Monday night. Six debutants were on show in front of an almost full Loftus Road crowd. It was an extremely encouraging performance for Neil Warnock and showed fans that if this type of football continues, there is no chance of QPR being relegated.
Shaun Wright-Phillips was outstanding and if performances like this continue, Fabio Capello will have to take note and consider his return to the England set up. He was a terrier on the right hand side and worked harder than the whole squad put together that played against Bulgaria last week. He completed 85% of his 27 passes and had 5 efforts on goal and there were 2 that he really should have scored. He also created 4 chances and on another day QPR would have bagged them all. It was one of those games for QPR fans; they watched a superb performance but it was as if nobody could finish the job.
Despite Warnock and the fans being disappointed with not collecting all three points, QPR fans can take solace from the fact that Shaun Wright-Phillips and Taarabt seemed to strike up an instant partnership which shocked me as I was unsure as to how they would gel, but the chemistry was incredible. Taarabt had his best game in a hooped shirt for a long time; not only did his ‘tricks’ come off but he passed the ball brilliantly and turned QPR from being a ‘hit and hope’ football team into an ‘on the ground,’ smooth, attacking side which will worry other relegation fighters. Despite Newcastle having a brilliant start to the season, Monday night would have been a long journey home and would have left the fans wondering “how did we get away with that?”
All the new boys played well but the most anticipated signing, Joey Barton was average. Huge pressure was on him to perform against his old club and defensively he did, but going forward he seemed to have lost a yard of pace and didn’t execute many of his clinical passes. I put it down to nerves. He will improve and a professional as good as he is, will know that he didn’t play to his personal, high standards.
The one player who I cannot heap enough praise on AGAIN was Shaun Derry who has continually been the player holding it together for QPR and running the game for them. Taarabt’s place was questioned this week but all the midfielders performed well, Taarabt finally made his place surely unquestionable, Faurlin was good going forward and backwards and Wright-Phillips was rightly awarded Man of the Match. The midfield were phenomenal and even Taarabt was playing for the team, they dominated the midfield and if they can continue to produce this dominance, the bigger teams will struggle to break them down.
It was a pleasure to watch QPR’s style of play. They had replaced their long ball tactics with ‘on the ground’ stylish football. The new players gelled really well and Newcastle weren’t sure how to deal with them. It was odd to see a Warnock side play this elegant style of football but it was certainly a pleasant surprise and definitely brought the best out of Taarabt; something I have been waiting for for months. The best part of the game for me was his partnership with Shaun Wright-Phillips but their quick and skillful play really showed the others up at times, and demonstrated that they need to sharpen up latching onto attempts if they are going to finish the chances created.
The lack of an experienced Premiership class striker was evident against Newcastle, fourteen chances on goal and two cleared of the line was enough to leave the QPR faithful pulling their hair out. Bothroyd seemed to be a second behind everyone else in geting to the ball and DJ wasnt given enough time on the pitch, I hope DJ can replicate his scoring form from last season but had ony had one season in the Premiership so we cannot exactly call him experienced. Warnock has made a few brilliant signings but despite having numerous options, are QPR lacking in the all important ‘goal poachers’ position? Time will tell.
Not too much can be taken from one game as to how this season is going to pan-out. QPR’s confidence about this new era can continue; four points from four games is a good enough start and the stabilty at the club has been restored so as one of many hopeful QPR fans and I believe this will be a good season. Warnock has made incredible deals in the transfer window and attracted a few unimaginable signings. His job is safe and QPR are looking forward.