The R's travelled to wet and windy White Hart Lane for the second of their three consecutive London Derby's with the game having been switched to a Sunday due to Spurs Europa Cup fixture the previous Thursday. (after originally being selected for live ESPN coverage on the Saturday.)
The R's fans, who were fortunate enough to attend, were in great voice, even after the pitiful allocation we were give by the hosts. Why do we give them a larger allocation for the return fixture at Loftus Road when White Hart Lane has twice our capacity, especially when we could easily sell the tickets to R's fans. This is something that needs to be addressed. Despite this, the R's fans and the team accounted for themselves magnificently and left North London wondering how instead of coming away with three points, we left with none.
QPR's recent trend of improving with every game proved true as they produced their best performance of the season. This new QPR side played Spurs off the park for the best part of 89 minutes, having dominated the first half and controling the midfield as well as having most of the possession for the match.
Due to the number of injured QPR personnel, Hughes had to mix things up in the side and opted for a 4 4 1 1 formation that completely out foxed Spurs in a first half that saw Gareth Bale playing at left back and not featuring in the game for the first 45 minutes. In fact it was QPR that were out of the blocks first, easily dictating the early exchanges, forcing a number corners with Clint Hill coming very close to putting the R's into an early lead. The depth of the QPR squad was again called upon with Bosingwa having to go off in the opening few minutes with a pulled hamstring as the R's bad luck with injury's continued. Dyer came on at right back and Onuoha slipped over to left back as he did against Chelsea. Dyer had a good game and looked both comfortable and useful going forward occasionally reminding us that he was once an England international. Continued QPR pressure finally got its reward after another R's corner was not dealt with adequately and Faurlin's disguised pass was gratefully dispatched beyond the oncoming Friedle by Zamora.
The midfield quartet of Park, Granero, Faurlin and SWP again worked tirelessly and continued their recent diligence in ball retention and pressed higher up the pitch making it difficult for Spurs to get out of their half for the first 45 minutes, Hughes and his staff again getting their game plan right. Having said that, although they played well, Faurlin and Granero did not look at their sharpest, with the unfortunate Faurlin scoring an own goal and Granero guilty of being caught in possession for Spurs breakaway second goal. However, their efforts today, like most days, were invaluable and we know there is better to come from theses two. Much as I like SWP, I think he's playing at his limit now, and though better than last season, is just not good enough. I don't think his work rate is a justified reason to keep someone else out of the starting eleven. There is still no end product with him, no cross, no killer pass and a lot of QPR attacking movement seems to end when he receives the ball, more often than not with him losing possession and ending up on the ground. Now is an ideal opportunity for someone to up their work rate and take his place. (Adel Taarabt take note)
After a convincing first 45 minutes QPR went in one nil up, when it could have been two or three and with Cesar not having to make a save. Spurs had to change things for the second half and opted to match QPR's 4 4 1 1 formation with Dempsey playing behind Defoe and Bale moving up wide on the left. This brought about a Spurs improvement and Cesar was finally called upon and proved to be magnificent, but QPR remained comfortable. Then we had sixty seconds of madness, switching off, call it what you want, but sixty crazy seconds that saw QPR turn a one goal lead into a one goal deficit. Following a Spurs corner that QPR had easily been dealing with, the ball was harmlessly floated into the six yard box. Faurlin, instead of heading the ball out, inexplicably turned his back on the ball, which then hit him on the back and into the QPR goal. From the resulting kickoff QPR immediately advanced deep into the Spurs area but Granero was uncharacteristically dispossessed and Bale went on one of his destructive runs that ended with a shot that Cesar pushed onto the bar only for the fortunate Defoe to tap into an open goal. Two one down and a potential three points gone in sixty seconds.
Football can be cruel, its been cruel to us R's fans quite a few times, but again there are positives to take from this game. Having gone behind, a lot of QPR sides would have capitulated a-la Swansea home, Fulham away. Chelsea away, I could go on. But not this side. To their credit they continued to plug away and Spurs were never comfortable. When was the last time you saw a QPR side play away from home in the Premier League with such adventure, creativeness and nerve. When was the last time you saw a QPR side dare to believe they can be and are better than mediocre. This team believe they can WIN, and when they do, they will expect to win.
We deserved something out of the game today, we didn't get it, but that's what we're working on and we'll learn from it. I said before we could end up not picking up many points in September, but we will from then on. Fate has conspired to hamper the squad with injuries, but we now have a squad good enough to cope. Clint Hill, in for Ferdinand, was magnificent. Dyer too showed that he can do a job for QPR as part of our squad. I was proud of the way QPR played today, Spurs know we're no mugs and Spurs know we know they were fortunate to come away with three points.
This is a transitional season for QPR, things don't look good now looking at the league table, but things are so much better than they seem. In over forty years following the R's I've rarely seen a squad with the attitude and expectation that we have now. I don't think they're here for the money. They want to do something.The whole attitude of the Club from Tony Fernadez down will not accept the ineptitude we have settled for, for most of our history. They genuinely want to move this club on to somewhere that we have never been before and I think that attitude is infectious.
The future is bright for QPR. I say again this is the start of something new for QPR, the winning will start soon, hopefully against West Ham next Monday. Then the next away game is WBA, we are good enough to win that. They have only allocated 1400 tickets to us, so if you could not go to Spurs or get an Arsenal ticket why not go to the Hawthorns to watch QPR try and turn that belief into three points. Be there and witness another turning point in the QPR revolution.
So, only 2 points but I'm still feeling good, lets look at the table in six weeks time, things will start to look much better.
Blog to you soon
The Bush Ranger