Friday, 1 March 2013

#21 Do or Die

February is at an end and the closing of the transfer window seems a long time ago, but we have only played three games in that time. As per usual QPR featured in the last day transfer window circus that saw us secure the services of Jermain Jenas, Andre Townsend (loan) and Christopher Samba (a year late) for a new club record of around £12.5million. Added to the earlier acquisitions of Loic Remy, Suk-Young Yun (who?)and Tal Ben Haim it saw The Rangers as the second highest spenders in the transfer window. I never thought I'd ever see the day. Samba is a quality signing, Jenas was once a great player but has hardly been in the spotlight of late, I just hope he can find some good form and stay injury free. Townsend is a handy player and will hopefully do as well as Kyle Walker did at the R's in his stint here on loan. Remy done the business for us in his first game and did as much as he could against Man City but has since been injured. How injured he is depends on which media source you choose to follow, but he has not played for weeks although Harry says he's close to coming back. (Hmmm, we'll see!) In summary this transfer window was pretty much like the last three and I can't help thinking it's still a lot of expensive compromise and players past their peak, with one or two obvious exceptions. Is it good enough to save the R's from doom? Time will tell but I personally don't think they are likely to produce the kind of run we are going to need, but are capable, if they can all find their A game at the same time.

Bunn denies QPR 3 points with penalty save
QPR began the month with another Sky live home game against our perennial bogey team Norwich. This was a game we all knew we should win, to start getting the required run going, as we found ourselves unbeaten in 2013 having conceded just once. True to form, pretty much like most of the season, we drew another blank as we failed to score at home but managed to keep a clean sheet and grab a meagre point. Yet again QPR were restricted to shots from outside the area, predominantly coming from Taarabt but, we are still failing to get significant numbers in the opposition area. Harry handed debuts to the excellent Townsend and Jenas (as sub) and the second half saw the introduction of Zamora, who's presence did manage to hold the ball up and the R's did manage to create some better chances late on culminating with Taarabt having a penalty saved, with Norwich keeper Bunn making further crucial saves, but it was too little too late.

Next up was Swansea away. You would have thought one or two of these players would have a point to prove after the thrashing dealt out on the opening day of the season. Think again, Swansea, the team that went up with us, the team that we used to regularly hammer, went on to easily give us another good hiding, as another pathetic QPR performance resulted in capitulation and the shipping of another four goals. Zamora got one back for us to give us brief hope for a couple of minutes, but all in all, this game did little to raise hope in our quest to turn a run of avoiding defeat in to a run of victories and was a big step backwards leaving us seven points off safety.

Harry then took his underachieving team to Dubai to enjoy a weekend off, courtesy of their disgraceful exit in the cup a few weeks earlier. Modern football never fails to amaze me now days and this is another example of just how detached from reality football is at a time when real football fans are struggling to get by day to day.

So, after a jolly up in the sun, the R's returned to face the daunting task of hosting runaway leaders Manchester United. Only the ultra optimists were thinking of getting anything out of this game, which, naturally, we didn't. However were it not for more inept and lazy defending from the usual suspects in the team, we might have got something. Rafael hit a wander goal that he couldn't do again if he tried another hundred times, whilst Samba had one cleared off the line by the same man. I personally feel Mbia can't do what we need in a QPR midfield and still spends most of the time ending up on the deck. I think he's most effective for us at the back and would replace Traore with him at left back. I have lost patience with Traore and don't think he can concentrate nor put a shift in for 90 minutes. Townsend again worked tirelessly for the R's cause in a Jamie Mackie kind of way and is an example of the effort and attitude required to get a run going.

Townsend - playing well for QPR
Sadly though, QPR are still struggling to get numbers in the box. We don't commit numbers in the box because it takes us too long to win the ball back when we lose it, so most of the team remains withdrawn from the attack for fear of losing the ball and getting caught out. (However against Fulham at home, we defended higher up and won the ball early in their half. Tabs was effective this way and it worked for us, but we have not done it since then.)It also does not help that we have not had enough fit strikers for most of the season. Zamora, (Mr I don't really like football) having just got back from injury, will miss our crucial game at Southampton after picking up an ankle injury against Man U. It looks like Remy is fit to play, but how fit is he? I've no doubt he is quality and in the little time he has played for the R's he has been effective. I still cant understand how we are left in a position where Bothroyd is in the squad of 25 and Cisse and Campbell have gone out on loan. One thing is for sure if Remy is fit or not, we have got to start committing players forward to score goals and even, perish the thought, shoot inside the area!

Sick note - Doesn't really like football.
We now have a run of do or die fixtures coming up. Games that afford us the chance to decide our own destiny. On paper we are good enough to win them. But that will depend on the players that are undoubtedly good enough being bothered. They need to have the guts to do whats needed and take those results. So far they haven't but , this weekend over three and half thousand QPR fans will be going to St Mary's watch these privileged footballers start the recovery we are hoping for. Nothing short of three points will even come close to what we need, but, if they produce another performance like Swansea away, they should be prepared to face however the frustrations of the fans manifests itself. This is a big game for us, a must win game. Since we got back in the Premier we have not done well in these types of games. Quite simply, to stay up, this has got to change.... Now.

I love the R's and it breaks by heart to see us where we are, but the truth is the truth. It's do or die time, so please QPR players, do it for us. At the very least do it for your own personal pride and dignity. Follow the lead of the R's fans that spend their very hard earned cash following QPR up and down the country to watch what is frankly unacceptable and not QPR. We as QPR fans will do our bit as we always do. We will believe right to the end. Above all, we will be QPR and what QPR is and stands for, whatever division we find ourselves in.

Come on you R's

The Bush Ranger

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