Luckless QPR have raised their game

QPR FanZoner Chris King thinks the club’s recent performances have shown plenty of promise and believes the Rs have hope of avoiding the drop.

Man of the moment | Charlie Austin slots home the opening goal against Manchester City. (Image | La Footyettes)
Man of the moment | Charlie Austin slots home the opening goal against Manchester City. (Image | La Footyettes)

Queens Park Rangers have experienced a transformation so drastic and absolute over the past few weeks that it has seen them go from nailed-on for relegation to hopeful of finishing in the promised land of 17th and above.

It is just a shame that the Rs’ luck has not undergone a similar change, as Harry Redknapp’s team are still not getting what their performances deserve.

Once again on Saturday, against crisis-hit Manchester City, QPR were the better team, looked more organised, hungrier, even more skilful at times, than their rivals, yet emerged with something other than three points.

This time it took two goals from Sergio Aguero, arguably the best striker in the Premier League and unplayable, as pundits like to say, when he is on form, and he was certainly on form at Loftus Road.

However, while City looked like a dying empire propped up by the superb Argentine, Rangers put on a real show, with Bobby Zamora, Charlie Austin and Eduardo Vargas electric up front.

Vargas and Mauricio Isla, the Chilean internationals, showed their understanding more than once as they swept forward, while Zamora continues to prove a point every time he steps on to the pitch.

Namely that despite his age and condition, the latter of which remains a cause for concern, he is as effective in the hold-up role as any other forward in England’s top division, and can continue to be the catalyst for Austin.

For what it is worth, the former bricklayer and Swindon Town striker now has six Premier League goals, making him the second-highest English goalscorer, after finding the net three times against City, with two efforts ruled out.

Pedantic officialdom, which chalked off his second, and a correct offside call that silenced the Rs fans the first time he found the net, aside, Austin showed enormous cool and confidence to finish low past Joe Hart after he was played in by Vargas.

He also forced the England goalkeeper to make a string of excellent saves, leading to calls for him to be considered for a national team call-up by Roy Hodgson, and validating just how impressive his transition to life as a Premier League player has been.

Following a listless display against West Ham United just over a month ago, when QPR slumped to their lowest ebb, the Rs have put in four consecutive performances that have merited far more than a mere four points.

On current form, Rangers are not the second-worst team in the Premier League. Indeed, they have proved themselves able to challenge the best the division has to offer, including current leaders Chelsea.

The return of Joey Barton, who added a little more steel to the hosts’ midfield when he came on against City, will give Redknapp another option in the middle of the park, where the fitness of Sandro remains an issue.

Yet the manner in which Karl Henry, often a derided and undervalued figure, has blossomed in the Premier League suggests that Jordon Mutch, if not Barton, will struggle to regain his place when he returns from injury.

This is not to mention Yun Suk-young, who has shown himself to have composure, positioning and pace in abundance, and has cemented his place at left-back, a position that has long been QPR’s Achilles heel.

Put simply, it is hard to see Rangers going down playing like this, and while the table might not lie, it can be misleading. The Rs are just a point above bottom side Burnley, and one behind both Leicester City and Crystal Palace, all of whom are in worse form.

In the Superhoops’ favour, however, is the fact that after facing a resurgent Newcastle United at St. James’ Park in two weeks, Leicester visit W12. After four losses in a row, they are ripe for the taking and will be dreading the trip down the M1.

Performances on the pitch must soon translate into points on the board, but hopefully next time Rangers will see their luck turn, and can just score once in order to go 1-0 up. Finding the net at least three times per game is a bit too much to ask.

Have your say | Tweet the author | @chriskking

Originally published on TEAMtalk on Monday November 10 2014.

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