Three games into the Mark Hughes era at Queens Park Rangers and life at Loftus Road seems far more cheerful. Extortionate ticket prices for the FA Cup, disappointing tweets from our ‘leader’ aimed at the man who got us back into the Premier League and little transfer activity aside, QPR have clawed themselves back out of the drop zone. After an unlucky loss at Newcastle, an important victory at home to bottom side Wigan and a third round replay win against high-flying league one side MK Dons setting up arguably one of the biggest cup ties in years, QPR are heading in the right direction.
After this weekend’s 4th round tie against Chelsea, QPR face six league games that will decide whether they will survive this season. With six games against fellow relegation strugglers and beatable opposition, Mark Hughes will be expecting to gain points and fast. QPR’s last ten fixtures included all of the top six and other tough fixtures such as Stoke and Sunderland, so QPR are in desperate need to pick up maximum points at home in the next few weeks and to try to prevent away defeats.
They have been on terrible form of late and before Warnock’s departure things were looking grim on and off the pitch and it was clear a change was needed to ensure that we gain the necessary points from the up and coming fixtures. Warnock’s departure is a topic I shall not comment on due to contradicting opinions on whether he should have been sacked and because I am pleased that we now have Mark Hughes in charge.
Heidur Helguson continued his fantastic scoring form this season, adding his eighth goal to the campaign against Wigan last weekend. He slotted the ball cooly past Al Habsi who dived the right way but couldn’t prevent Helguson from giving Rangers the lead. QPR were on top and continued to threaten Al Habsi’s goal, a good free-kick from Buzsacky was tipped wide by Al Habsi, this should have posed as a warning for the Wigan defence when, moments later, Buzsacky hit a stunning effort in off the post to double Rangers’ advantage and give the R’s supporters something to cheer about.
They were 2-0 up at half-time and were heading out of the relegation zone. The rest of the game was a formality. QPR continued to be the better side and despite Wigan getting a goal back from a stunning free-kick from Rodallega, inches from the spot where Buszacky scored his, they never looked as though they were going to get anything from the game. Tommy Smith secured the three points after 81 minutes with a remarkable 30 yard strike that gave him only his second goal of the season and gave QPR only their second home league win of the season.
Buzsacky has been the first real shining light in Mark Hughes’ era. The Hungarian, who reportedly was told he was allowed to leave on a free at the start of January, has been thrown back into first team action due to a horrific injury to Ali Faurlin, who for me personally, has been by far our best player this season and has put Barton to shame. I’m sure that everyone at QPR and I know all the fans wish him the speediest of recoveries and look forward to having him back at the start of next season.
It has however, given Buzsacky the chance to show what he can do in the best league in the world and he hasn’t disappointed. Anyone who sits near me at QPR will have heard me continually complaining about the fact that we didn’t have a midfielder or even a striker who was prepared to have a shot from any distance, continuously trying to pass it into the net. Buzsacky has come in and shown everything I have wanted our midfielders to do this season. In the past three matches, he has challenged keepers from range and has been dreadfully unlucky, being limited to his solitary goal.
A manager that has only ever finished outside the top 10 once, a fantastic appointment by Fernandez, Beard, Bhatia and the rest of the QPR board. As soon as he signed his contract, QPR were linked with the world and it’s dog. Disappointingly however, most of these targets/rumours have amounted to nothing. QPR have managed to pull off two very impressive signings in Taiwo on loan from Milan and Onouha from City. Both are talented defenders who will shore up Rangers’ defence.
It appears that QPR are being set up to follow Hughes’ traditional tactics of ‘not losing is a good result’ and we may see a few more 0-0’s or scrappy 1-0 wins at Loftus Road. This was a tactic he was criticised for at City but if he can thwart the defeats QPR have been picking up, it will build confidence in the squad. I do believe with deadline day fast approaching, QPR still need a striker or two and most certainly a midfielder as I do not believe Barton is good enough and is certainly not worth the controversy he brings on top of his lavish wage demands.
Once again QPR have spent a month making headlines for the wrong reasons. The appointment of Hughes however has been a silver lining. I pray now that the club can move forward. His appointment must mean that QPR are aiming high and share his strong ambitions. Attracting personnel such as Hughes can only mean good things for the club.
He has got into Europe with his last three clubs, so can he do the same with QPR? Certainly not this season, as staying up will be an incredible achievement. It’s going to be a very important few weeks in W12 and I believe Hughes is the man to steer QPR towards safety.
There are certainly three or more clubs in this league that are worse than QPR and if they could just be more clinical in front of goal, QPR could have made a similarly incredible start to the season that the other two promoted clubs have. It’s taken a long time for QPR to adapt to the Premier League but hopefully the club have turned a corner and will be moving forwards. I would like to add that despite this being a fresh start and a new era, it is also the end of a very successful period in the club’s history and I would like to thank Neil Warnock and his back-room staff for everything they did for the club; giving Premiership football back to the R’s faithful. It is time to look forward as the recent two fixtures have hopefully given us confidence and put us in good standing to beat Chelsea at the weekend.