Another dreadfully disappointing result at the weekend has left QPR well and truly looking like favourites to go down. At this stage in the season, winning at home against fellow strugglers is pivotal and when playing as well as QPR were for the first 45 minutes, going on to lose the game was even more painful. Substitute, Kevin Doyle heaped incredible woe upon QPR after scoring the winner which increased the feeling of sorrow around Loftus Road.
QPR were dominating and not for the first time this season, started the game well. QPR have given away more points from winning positions than any team in the division. Wolves on the other hand have earned more points from losing positions than any other side, so what was about to happen, wasn’t as big a surprise as supporters may have thought.
QPR were finally back to playing attractive, one touch, on the ground football. The new signings fitted into the side with ease and despite having less than a week’s training together, it looked like they had been playing together for months. QPR deservedly went 1-0 up after a period of possession which eventually built up to Shaun Wright-Phillips laying the ball back to debutant Bobby Zamora, who hit the ball on the half-volley into the back of the net. It was the perfect start. The finish was one which QPR have been lacking all season; an out and out striker’s finish, something Bothroyd, Campbell, Hulse and Macheda have all failed to produce this season. The goal came, following Cisse’s superb finish in midweek against Villa, to mark his dream debut and the start the pair made against Wolves was mouth watering for QPR fans, considering they only cost £8million. The strike partnership seem to be what QPR fans have been hoping for, for many seasons.
Football is a game that can turn sour very quickly. Once again QPR’s afternoon was spoilt and what had started to look like a certain win (a win that would have put a wide gap between themselves and the relegation zone) was quickly slipping through their fingers. After a disgusting tackle by Johnson on new boy Cisse in the 33rd minute, Cisse was left feeling understandably aggrieved having already suffered two potential career-ending leg breaks. Cisse’s reaction, however was inexcusable and he was rightly shown red after raising his hands to Johnson. Myself, as well as other Ranger’s fans sitting around me, were quickly reminded and then all commented on how similar this was to the Norwich game; a game in which we were also dominating but cruelly lost 2-1 following the dismissal of Barton. As Barton tweeted after the Wolves game and it could have applied to the Norwich game as well. “If we had kept 11 on the pitch it would have been a cricket score” I don’t believe that this statement was far wrong as QPR were by far the better team in both.
As an R’s fan, losing this ‘six-pointer’ at home certainly feels like relegation is inevitable. Relegation could be catastrophic for the club. Going down could leave QPR with possibly the most expensive wage bill in Championship history, as well as an ‘ambitious’ manager who certainly wouldn’t be happy managing in the lower leagues. Whilst I am mentioning wage bills, our highest player on books, Joey Barton is far from earning his money this season. I have received a bit of stick from fellow QPR fans recently for questioning our captain. He is reportedly earning around £80,000-90,ooo a week and yet cannot pass a football, let alone live up to his self-professed ‘best midfielder in England’ title. He is certainly more trouble than he is worth. His controversial tweets as well as his on the field shenanigans have frustrated me and some others all season. I read somewhere that he has misplaced the ball on more occasions than any other Premiership player and after watching him week in and week out, that statistic is not hard to believe. If I were Hughes, I would ban him from Twitter and teach him how to pass. Relegation or not, I don’t want him in a hooped shirt next season, let alone captaining the side.
A silver-lining from another terrible weekend for QPR was the return of Morrocon magician, Adel Taarabt. He is a player who I have openly criticised and I believe rightly so, this season. He has performed very poorly all season but has started to show similar glimpses of his superb form from last season. Throughout the second half he was the only QPR player that ever looked like threatening Wolves’ goal. This form has come at the right time considering Zamora has no strike partner due to Cisse’s suspension and if Taarabt can continue this form, he may finally score his first goal to spark his Premier League career.
Wolves are not a great side and with no disrespect, I have no doubt that they will go down. Wigan are also in a lot of trouble and are looking increasingly likely to be relegated. Whether Blackburn or Bolton are likely to join them, instead of QPR, we will have to see. A good inclination as to who will go down will be the MUST MUST win game for QPR against Blackburn this weekend. It is the first fixture of a double return to old clubs for Hughes. After going away to Blackburn, QPR will play at a sold out Loftus Road against Hughes’ former club, Fulham.
Time seems to be running out for QPR. Faurlin hasn’t been replaced, Barton has severely underachieved as have Shaun Wright-Phillips, Campbell, Bothroyd and others. Zamora and Cisse seem to be the perfect strike partnership to claw QPR out of an increasingly large hole. This weekend, however QPR will have to rely of Taarabt up front with Zamora; a partnership that will have to work for the next three games. On Cisse’s return, QPR’s future in the Premier League may be all but decided.