|DATE||Saturday 7th March 2015|
Tottenham's visit to QPR sees them in a run of London derbies and
also in desperate need of points.
Manager Chris Ramsey will know Spurs well, having served the club for ten years as youth coach and latterly as an assistant to Tim Sherwood. Now Timmy is back in management at Aston Villa, it will be interesting to see which ex-Spur fares better, although Villa were in a slightly better position than Rangers to start with. Ramsey is highly regarded as a very good coach, but that does not always mean that he will be a good manager, as there is a different relationship with players and a different set of skills is needed. I hope he makes the transition, as he appears a very astute football man and does not appear to have been swayed to carry himself in the mould of Redknapp or Sherwood.
Ramsey is not the only ex-Spurs connection with Loftus Road at the moment. In their ranks are Adel Taarabt, Steven Caulker, Sandro, Niko Kranjcar and Bobby Zamora. Taarabt might not be fit for this match with a groin strain, while Kranjcar usually starts on the bench along with Zamora. Sandro is likely to play because of injuries and so is Caulker, although he is having a tough time this season at QPR. His promise doesn't seem to have been realised and from England prospect, he is now in a relegation dog-fight.
In goal, Rob Green is a competent keeper, who can make a number of saves, but is prone to a positional error, like the one he let in at his near post on Wednesday. Spurs need to test him at every opportunity and see how he shapes up. His defence is not the best at protecting him, with the likes of veterans Richard Dunne and Rio Ferdinand not providing the experience the club needed, leading to Caulker suffering without a reliable partner. Another veteran - Clint Hill - is often used to add some aggression to the middle of the back four and he might be deployed to put the frighteners on Kane. Former Rangers' favourite Paul Furlong has his son in the first team picture and Donnell is facing a late test on an injury, along with Mauricio Isla and Nedum Onuoha, so Armand Traore and Yun Suk-Young might fill the full back berths.
In midfield, Matt Phillips is an attacking player, who has good delivery and there will be a place for Sandro, who is now returned to fitness after being in and out this season. Karl Henry will be the ball-winner in midfield, but he will have to measure his tackles, with Spurs players having quick feet and this might win free-kicks in dangerous positions. Adding width on the other flank to Phillips will be Junior Hoilett, who is another big money signing, which hasn't really paid off for Rangers as yet. A strong runner with the ball, Hoilett has a low centre of gravity and is difficult to knock off the ball, so he should not be allowed to go too far with the ball. The only other option available to Ramsey are Shaun Wright-Phillips, whose career has taken a nose-dive since he joined Chelsea all those years ago.
With Charlie Austin leading a lone goal-threat most of the time, he has done well to score as many as he has, but he might be paired with Zamora playing just behind him. This will provide a problem at set-pieces and the Rangers side probably have the height advantage over Spurs, so expect Fazio to feature in this match for Tottenham for aerial battles. Zamora is not as sprightly as he used to be, but has the nous to be in the right place at the right time, so he needs to be watched carefully. Austin is a string all-round striker, who scores goals out of nothing, so he is also someone that needs to be tightly marked. Eduardo Vargas and loanee Mauro Zarate are other striking alternatives, but the two that they mainly rely on are Austin and Zamora.
The home team have injury problems, with Alejandro Faurlin and Richard Dunne out for the rest of the season with knee ligament injuries and Leroy Fer has suffered the same fate, but might return for the last few matches. Joey Barton is still suspended.
This match might be more about Tottenham than QPR. They have struggled and have struggled at home in particular (no win in 2015 at Loftus Road), where they would have hoped to pick up points, but . Their away form is abysmal, but has been for a couple of seasons now, so that is no surprise, even though Ramsey masterminded their first away win of the season recently at Sunderland, where he got one over his old Spurs management team-mate Gus Poyet.
With the schedule Tottenham have had of late, it might be the time when they have a dip in energy, but there are enough players in a fully fit squad for Pochettino to shuffle his pack. Rangers lost at home to Arsenal on Wednesday, so they have played this week, although they had a free week before that, having been due to play this game while we were in the League Cup Final.
If Tottenham can harness the
style they played against Swansea in the second half, then this
should bring three points home. However, they need to sharpen
up to ensure that there is not a repeat of the last five minutes in
Wednesday's game, which caused concern, which should have been
avoided by putting the game out of Swansea's reach.
|PREDICTION||QPR 1 Tottenham Hotspur 3|
|Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Spurs have a fully fit squad to choose from.
QPR TEAM NEWS :
Joseph Barton is serving the third of a three match ban, while injuries may deprive QPR of Donnell Furlong, Nedum Onuoha and Mauricio Isla, who all face late fitness tests. Richard Dunne, Leroy Fer and Alejandro Faurlin are all out for the match with knee ligament injuries.
USA NBC SportsLive Extra
Africa Super SportsSupersport 4
Norway TV2TV 2 Sport Premium
Sweden ViasatViastat Sport HD
Arabic beIN Sport7 HD
Thailand CTHStadium 2
Hong KongNow TV621
Malaysia AstroAstro Supersport 1
Australia Fox SportsFox 4
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
in these countries on these stations ...
|QPR 1 (0) Tottenham Hotspur
Saturday 7th March 2015 Kick off 15:00
Sandro 74m 51s
Kane 33m 38s
Kane 67m 55s
Henry (foul on Mason) 60
Bentaleb (foul on Henry) 62
Mason (foul on Henry) 80
|Crowd : 17,992||Weather : Warm, sunny|
|Referee : Craig Pawson (Lancashire)||Assistant Referees : Mr. A. Garratt; Mr. P. Kirkup|
|Fourth Official : Ray East||-|
|QPR kicked off and played towards the School end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90+7 minutes.|
|QPR :||kit||Tottenham Hotspur :||kit|
1 Robert GREEN
6 Nedum ONUOHA
Andros TOWNSEND (19
18 Harry KANE
|Manager : Chris Ramsey||Manager : Mauricio Pochettino|
|Sponsor : Air Asia||Shirt sponsor : AIA|
|Kit Supplier : Nike||Kit Supplier : Under Armour|
What was lined up by the media
as Harry Kane v Charlie Austin turned into a no contest, with Kane's
double giving Spurs the three points, with Austin drawing a blank
through his lack of subtlety in finishing.
Spurs received a reprieve when Rangers had a crack at goal in the 19th minute. Kyle Walker had been successfully heading the ball back to Hugo Lloris for a few matches now, but this time, he left it short and Austin seized on it. Just eight yards out, he tried to nudge the ball past Hugo as he came out, but the keeper got a palm to the ball and then reacted quickly to knock it away as the QPR forward went for the loose ball. A couple of minutes later, Phillips exchanged passes with Austin and hit a shot that bumped into the ground and went wide. Crosses were coming into the Spurs area without being cut out and were getting too far but luckily, Rangers strikers were not alert enough to get on the end of them and most ran through to Hugo.
When Spurs did clear crosses, they did not clear them to safety. Sandro profited from such a clearance, driving in a shot that was easy for Lloris, but the Spurs keeper was thanking his woodwork a minute later, when Caulker knocked Dier out of the way, allowing the ball to run to Austin who stumbled past Vertonghen and smashed a shot at goal rather than looking to find the net. The ball bounced down off the crossbar and out. Rangers looked to take advantage of their pressure, but form a 32nd minute free-kick, Spurs broke away and Caulker fouled Kane as he threatened to break on goal. Tottenham's free-kick was swung in from the right and with Nedum Onuoha and Rob Green closing on it near the penalty spot, Harry Kane put his head in first and glanced the ball past them into an unguarded net to put Tottenham 1-0 ahead. Rio Ferdinand was most at fault, as he had started pulling Kane's shirt, but let it go and let his man go for a free header
Seven minutes before the break, QPR wanted one of many penalties, as Mauricio Isla broke into the box onto a forward pass and Lloris produced a star jump (a la Schmeichel) that worked as he saved the shot, but Isla went down from the challenge and writhed around like he had been shot for some time. It was only after treatment that he was able to run again, when it looked as though he would never walk again. Coming out of the ground after the game some QPR fans thought that this was a nailed on penalty, while they claimed that the Spurs players went down easy to win free-kicks. Funny how you can watch the same game and see totally different things.
Austin's aggressive running was causing problems and Onuoha's long clearance found the former Swindon Town man chasing it down the right, getting a fierce shot away, but he had been shown wide by Dier, so the shot was from a tight angle, allowing Hugo to beat it out at his near post. There was just enough time left for Kyle Walker to be played in by Kane and he looked to get a shot on goal. The effort wasn't up to his normal standard in terms of power and it might well have been missing until it clipped Mason and forced Green to a reflex stop and he gratefully grabbed the loose ball before a Spurs man could get to it.
At half-time there was the most confusing array of entertainment. Former full back Ian Gillard came out to wow the crowd with his monotonous answers to inane questions by the QPR media man and this prefaced kids running onto the pitch with balls and having to run the length of half the pitch before dribbling around cones and scoring in a mini goal. Nice to see QPR are happy knackering the kids out before they get into a shooting position !!
This only added to the weirdness of how they operate during the game. There are few ball-boys to keep play moving; there was a large black cat who was a mascot before the match, who took an age to go up a flight of stairs in the QPR home end before disappearing (through a big cat flap ?) and then there were the four hardest working stewards in the Premier League, who ran out of the Loftus Road end to crouch in front of their end of the Ellerslie Road stand and then run back to their starting position without actually doing anything. Entertaining, but weird !!
The second half started with Spurs on the front foot. Within a couple of minutes of the restart, a Davies long throw was headed out by Caulker to Bentaleb and he held off a challenge to lay it back to Eriksen, who crashed a bending shot past Green and off the post far from the left hand side of the D. Kane was onto the rebound, but could not get his shot on target, but was offside anyway. A couple of minutes later, Caulker played a pass straight to Andros Townsend and the Spurs winger looked to slip as he hit his shot that went too high. After Wednesday night's scare, I wondered if these missed chances would come back to bite us. Especially when Eriksen drove a low cross shot along the six yard line, with Chadli too far away from it, after starting the move with Kane.
With 57 minutes on the clock, Green played a long free-kick forward and in the jump for the ball, Zamora threw an arm into Dier's face and the ball fell kindly for the QPR captain, who thumped it at goal, with Hugo keeping it out with a push over the bar with another good save at his near post. When the corner was cleared, it led to a Spurs break that should have brought the second goal. Harry played a ball wide right for Walker to run onto and he looked as though he was going to hit it first time, but delayed it, running it a little too close in and doing so, Green got something on it, but pushed the ball out in front of him, to where Christian Eriksen was. He picked out a low shot back at goal and it looked as if it would go in, but Austin was back and slid across to stop the ball reaching the goal.
A bad foul by Karl Henry (now there's a surprise) right in front of the dug-outs sparked a melee with Mason (the fouled) having to be pulled away from Henry and Zamora, who were both called to the ref, but only Henry booked. Strange that Zamora has left Kyle Walker bloodied after this and still didn't make his way into the referee's book and that Henry continued to foul without further punishment, but Bentaleb's foul on Henry brought a yellow card for his first tackle. Mason also went into the book for fouling Henry. There followed a five minute spell when Rangers pushed on the Tottenham defence, but they stood firm and cleared crosses and Pocehttino brought on Dembele for Townsend. The Belgian was hauled down by Henry (told you) and from thirty yards, Eriksen tried his luck, but his free-kick went wide.
In the 68th minute, Spurs finally got their second goal and it was well-made. Ryan Mason picked up the ball on the halfway line and chipped a pass over the QPR back line. Nacer Chadli looked offside, but Harry Kane ran through, shooing the Belgian out of the way, as he took the ball through one-on-one with Green. By using Chadli as an option to pass to on his right, he shaped to do so, fooling Green, who he then went round to the left and slid his shot into an empty net. Both players might have been onside, as Rio Ferdinand stepped up so late, that they might have both been the right side of him when the ball was played.
Seven minutes later, QPR were back in the game from an unlikely source. Austin went wide on the QPR right and played a ball across the box, Zamora held off Dier and laid it back to Sandro running in on the edge of the box and he side-footed low inside Hugo's left hand post to bring the score back to 2-1.
The goal sparked an automatic reply from Spurs, who worked the ball to Eriksen who shot low at goal from the right side of the box and Green dived the other way to smother it. Tottenham went back to not clearing the ball effectively, leaving free-kicks and crosses to rain in. Hoilett shot over from 12 yards out, Dier blocked Austin's effort and the team worked hard to keep out the home team and also to run down the clock, making the final whistle a joyous moment, bringing the result the side deserved.
QPR felt hard done by, especially with a late scramble in the box that saw Austin shoot at goal and the ball appeared to hit Bentaleb's arm, but it was very close in and might have been a harsh award. The difference in the two teams was composure in the box. Whereas QPR were all bash and crash, two moments of cool headedness brought Kane a Man of the Match performance and another two goals that earned the win.
Spurs played as a unit, with each part of the team functioning well. There were still some nervy moments, which need to be ironed out, but the speed on the break in supporting Kane was impressive and the amount of possession for an away team was huge (almost 63%). Rangers looked poor and will do well to get even close to surviving in this League. The chant of "It's Time to retire, Rio Ferdinand, It's Time to retire" had a ring of authenticity about it. Maybe he will Twitter his response ... but hopefully not like Carlton Cole !!
The overall lack of quality in the QPR squad is what is letting it down. Promising players who have not developed into the players the club thought they would be, coupled with some who should never have been bought in the first place, combine to leave the club in a mess. Ramsey is a decent coach and he will need to work a minor miracle to stave off relegation, but buys from the previous manager have left him with little choice and maybe that was why there were two Academy graduates on the bench today.
The Spurs fans were great again today, constantly out-singing their Rangers counterparts, but the team performed the same on the pitch and the sunshine made it a great day out. Another away day win and up into fifth place. We need to push on for the final eleven matches now.
QPR is actually an anagram
of PQR ... a sequential set of three letters of the alphabet.
|Match ball sponsors||-|
|Match programme sponsors||-|
|Match shirt sponsors||-|
|What you thought|
Surprised that you didn't mention the terrible state of the pitch.
We all know it is a crap ground, but the bobbly surface was well
mastered by Spurs, but not so by the home team which is a little
performance in the face of some feisty QPR play, which not all was
within the laws of the game, but the control Tottenham exercised was
pleasing to see and also that the players we sold to them brought in
money and didn't let the good ones slip away. Sandro scored,
but didn't do much else, while Caulker was a shadow of the player
who promised so much at the Lane.
Nice to see Ryan Mason turning into a gentleman player. When
he went down in the box , the QPR players were saying he dived and
the referee fouled wasn't sure, but when our 38 got up, he waved his
hands to indicate that there wasn't a foul and that he just
imagine many other players doing that.
|10||West Ham United||28||10||9||9||38||35||39||+3|
|13||West Bromwich Albion||28||7||9||12||26||36||30||-10|
Position before match :
Position after the weekend : 6th
* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.
Back to homepage