Heading in the Right Direction?

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It always seems to be a period of transition with this football club, from players leaving and arriving like a revolving door, to managers coming and going. But, and call me crazy, I finally believe that things are moving in the right direction, with an ambitious manager like Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink arriving, and up-and-coming players like Conor Washington and Matt Ingram joining. In this article, I’m going to analyse the home fixture against Wolves, the latest bid to win at the City Ground, my opinion on the correct formation and the latest transfer gossip.

How’s your luck?

QPR reverted to a more familiar starting XI with Alejandro Faurlin still missing out through illness, his replacement Massimo Luongo sat with Karl Henry in midfield. New signing Conor Washington started from the bench as Seb Polter spearheaded the attack. The match couldn’t have started better for the Super Hoops as the big German headed in from a Matt Phillips free kick, just two minutes into the first half. QPR continued their assault on Ikeme’s goal for the majority of the first half, with Alex Smithies being a virtual spectator. Polter went close again with a header from a Phillips cross, but was gobbled up by Ikeme, while a James Perch cross somehow evaded everyone. After the break, however, Lady Luck cast her spell over Wanderers as a James Henry pop shot ricocheted off QPR centre backs Grant Hall and Nedum Onuoha and bobbled over the line past a helpless Smithies to stun Loftus Road into silence. Polter and Fer subsequently went close before the game went uncharacteristically quiet. Henry was first to make way, as Chery replaced him. The game then sprang into life. First, Phillips saw an effort blocked from a Konchesky cross, before Wolves laid siege onto the QPR goal. Doherty, Coady and Edwards were all denied from separate, excellent saves by Alex Smithies as QPR just about remained level. Conor Washington was brought on for the last 10 minutes and set up Chery for what should have been the winning goal. The new signing took a pass down with an excellent touch, before bursting down the left and crossing for the Dutchman who was free in the area. If he’d hit the target, it would’ve gone in, but he inexplicably hit the post as a stranded Ikeme looked on. Four added minutes were introduced but neither team could find a winner and it ended all square. QPR 1-1 Wolves.

Polter’s header was not enough for all three points…

A Win in Nottingham? Attempt 32

As Nottingham Forest played Watford in the FA Cup on Saturday, the league game between Forest and QPR was moved to the Tuesday beforehand. Hasselbaink made one change from the side that was held by Wolves, as Ale Faurlin returned in place of Karl Henry. If QPR were going to break their City Ground hoodoo, the would’ve needed to take the host of chances they had in a thrilling first half. Junior Hoilett was set up by Polter, but his low effort was superbly saved by Forest stopper Dorus De Vries. Smithies then spectacularly saved from ex QPR defender Michael Mancienne before Ben Osborn hit the post. Forest hit the woodwork once again in the 24th minute when Robert Tesche hit a long range effort off the crossbar. Polter headed wide and Hoilett forced De Vries into a smart save before the break as the game went into half time somehow at 0-0, as Phillips tested De Vries and Oliveira forced Smithies into action in stoppage time. Shortly before half time though, De Vries somehow tipped an Ale Faurlin free kick onto the crossbar to stop the visitors from taking the lead. The second half begun quietly as Smithies held onto an O’Grady drive after 53 minutes. Hasselbaink brought Washington on with half a hour to go in place of Hoilett. Chances for the remainder of the match were limited, however, as a Burke effort was seen wide by Smithies with 12 minutes left. That was the last of any notable action in the game, as QPR walked away from the East Midlands once again winless, but with a point to show for their efforts. 0-0.

A Faurlin free kick cannoned off the crossbar…

4-2-3-1? 4-4-1-1? 4-4-2?

The formations and the tactics that go with it have been hotly debated amongst QPR fans this season, especially since Jimmy Floyd took over in December. He, and his predecessor Chris Ramsey, tends to use a 4-2-3-1 formation, with the standard back four, two holding midfielders (usually Henry and Faurlin/Luongo) an attacking midfield trio of Fer on the left, Phillips on the right and Hoilett behind either Polter or Austin, when he was at the club. This is a fairly popular formation in this country and is being used more and more. Whilst I believe it can introduce creativity, diversification and stability to the midfield, I think it can weaken the attack, depending on the players deployed. I also think that Leroy Fer or Tjaronn Chery would perform better behind the striker with Hoilett out on the left to increase the pace down the left hand side and provide Polter with better support up front. Also, Luongo and Faurlin would work better in midfield as Henry is more susceptible to giving the ball away. QPR fans have been more used to watching two strikers play, especially at home and I agree. The team would work better now, with Washington, in a 4-2-2-2 formation. It would include the traditional back four, a midfield two of Faurlin and Luongo, two wingers in Hoilett and Phillips, and Washington and Polter up top. I feel that it would not change too much of the general dynamic in a defensive sense, but it would strengthen our attacking movement and it should bring more goals and entertainment. It’ll bring Conor Washington out of his shell as well, which will benefit both himself and the club.

Conor Washington is yet to score in a QPR shirt…

Deadline Day- Ins and outs?

It’s poised to be a quiet transfer deadline day at Loftus Road as deals have already been completed. However, QPR have agreed a £350,000 fee for Burton Albion striker Nasser El Khayati, but personal terms are yet to be discussed, and a medical has yet to be completed. There were rumours flying around that the Hoops were to make a deadline day swoop for Oxford United midfielder Kemar Roofe, who has impressed a lot over the last 12 months for the League Two club. Wigan midfielder Emyr Huws (currently at Huddersfield on loan) has also been linked with a moved on deadline day. Away from incomings, Sandro left for West Brom on a loan deal until the end of the season, while Rob Green has been linked with a move to West Ham or Crystal Palace and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas is reportedly in talks with MK Dons over a loan move.

Highly rated El Khayati is in talks with QPR…

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