February 28, 2012
Queens Park Rangers have once again pushed their footballing fortunes to the brink, dropping another crucial clash at Loftus Road on Saturday to local rivals Fulham. For the fifth time this season the Hoops had a player red-carded and staggered through to a defeat without a whiff of the urgency or composure that their situation demands.
I can stomach a team that's not any good, and I've seen plenty that were deserved losers. But the character of the current lot is much different than some of the old teams that have dampened supporter's spirits before. You can buy a good striker, or a "talented" left back, but you cannot buy a team. A team is a group of individuals committed to a common cause, working together as one, supporting and defending each other to the last. If QPR are relegated, I won't look to the innumerable matches they were in a position to win and then wasted away; I won't moan over losing to Wolves at home or Bradley Johnson's phantom headbutt. The blame, sadly, will be solely on the players who put forth these limp and lifeless efforts while pocketing fat pay-cheques each week.
There is no fight in this squad, no do-or-die mentality to take on an opponent and thrash him, to gut out a run and make the extra effort to get on target or battle back for a ball. In the place where a heart should be, there's just a greasy pound sign and the lingering stench of defeat.
February 23, 2012
Queens Park Rangers have their backs against the wall and it's only February. Can they turn things around in time to stave off relegation?
The mood in W12 was buoyed by the flurry of new arrivals in the January transfer window, breathing life into a club that was slipping down the table as the year drew to a close. With a new manager appointed and headline grabbing players acquired, Hoops supporters were flying high with dreams of an instant turn around. But inconsistent play and an inability to hold leads have left the club foundering in recent weeks. From conceding a two goal advantage to Aston Villa, to the last abominable performance at Blackburn, Rangers have looked out of sorts and unprepared. The expected change in preparation and focus that was supposed to flow from the managerial change hasn't materialised, and the squad still struggles to keep its shape or properly mark opponents, let alone put ninety minutes of cohesive football together.
There is talent enough in the team sheet to keep them up, but games aren't won on paper. There is a missing element in the squad - one they had in the Championship run last season - an intangible that doesn't register in statistics or match facts. A less talented QPR team played as one unit a year ago, but now all the new faces can't seem to get together to force a victory. They need to regain that spirit of unity if they hope to avoid making the return to the Premier League a one-and-done affair.
February 7, 2012
QPR's revamped team came out guns blazing against Wolves on Saturday, but saw their lead evaporate into another disastrous defeat. Djibril Cisse's foolish red card cost them a player and sapped the heavy momentum they'd begun with, but the remaining ten men on the pitch did little to decide the contest with the pressure on them. Heading through what was to be the soft part of their schedule, questions remain as to whether this squad can hack it in the Premier League.
The silver lining of this costly missed opportunity was the spectacular return of Adel Taarabt, who blazed through the Wolves' defence late in the game trying to force a draw. He couldn't do it all on his own however and the R's dropped three crucial points in a contest they looked to have easily in hand.
They'll be tested again with a visit to fellow relegation candidates Blackburn, and desperately need to regroup and focus on putting some distance between themselves and the drop if they hope to retain their status in the top flight.