Please log in or register. Registered visitors get fewer ads.
Can QPR deliver best present of all against Swansea? Full Match Preview
Can QPR deliver best present of all against Swansea? Full Match Preview
Thursday, 23rd Dec 2010 22:48 by Clive Whittingham

Tube strikes, drifting snow, airports closed, two straight defeats – tis the season to be thoroughly miserable. Nevertheless a win for QPR on Boxing Day can put them as far as six points clear at the top of the Championship.

QPR (1st) v Swansea (4th)

Npower Championship >>> Sunday, December 26, 2010 >>> Kick off 1pm >>> Loftus Road, London, W12

I’ve never really been one for booing my own team or players at a football match.

I think I lost the plot with Zesh Rehman one night as Plymouth went 2-0 up at Loftus Road just because he was so dreadfully awful I couldn’t bring myself to hold it in any more, and there was a bit of a rant aimed at Sam Di Carmine during a 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace as he barely dragged his fat backside around the pitch for an hour and a half before skulking off, and come to think of it Damien Delaney’s propensity to cross a presentable ball straight into the Lower Loft used to attract a fair volley of abuse from the front of F Block as well. Those incidents notwithstanding, I generally feel that message boards, websites and public houses are the best places to air criticisms and grievances with our own players and at the game we should support them as much as reasonably possible.

We want to see QPR win, and the players tell us that our support helps them to achieve that, so we must try to oblige wherever possible. We are supporters after all. Of course it could be said that people like Zesh Rehman would have their confidence shot to smithereens should they ever venture onto LoftforWords or any other QPR website, but then if you actively go looking for criticism you shouldn’t be offended when you find it. I believe there was a line in The Thick of It that said Googleing your own name is like walking into a room full of people that hate you.

This time last year I booed though. Oh God how I booed. I booed until my lips turned blue and my teeth turned grey and started to loosen in my gums. I booed until my throat was sore and my lungs were producing blood mixed with a green mucus. While it may seem hard to believe that the fateful home match with Bristol City, Paul Hart’s one and only win in his mercifully brief time at the helm of our club, was a year ago we are now at the anniversary of that wretched day – the only time I can ever recall a QPR side being booed from the field despite winning. And by God Hart deserved it.

You may recall, as I do while lying awake in the dead of night sweating profusely, that against a mediocre Bristol City side on the cusp of a managerial change QPR comfortably moved into a two goal lead before Nicky Maynard pulled a goal back in spectacular fashion half an hour from time. It was then that Hart swung into action. Adding a right back and a left back to a formation that already boasted one of each, and a defensive central midfield player to go with the two he had already picked to start. That essentially meant a flat back six comprising four full backs and two centre halves, protected by a three man wall of holding midfielders approximately five yards further up the pitch. The only concession to this all out defence policy was Patrick Agyemang, who was charged with chasing after the aimless hoofed clearances down the field with the usual vim and vigour he shows on such occasions.

QPR hung on, but it was a disgraceful shambles and an insult to the history of the club and the people who paid their money that day. I’d have sacked Hart that night, but then I’d never have appointed the miserable, incompetent, bumbling idiot in the first instance. That he dared to start his programme notes that day with the outrageous claim that his footballing beliefs had been moulded by the great Dave Sexton QPR side of the 1970s that included supreme attacking talent such as Dave Thomas, Gerry Francis and Stan Bowles only further served to paint him as an idiot at best, and a liar at worst.

I always think days like that are worth bearing in mind when we’re complaining about our current team and management, sitting four points clear at the top of the Championship just 12 months late. That doesn’t mean we should just accept everything that happens and never criticise until it gets as bad as dropping 15 places though the league and appointing a bumbling oaf as manager again, but I do think any negative thoughts we may have this season, even after two straight worryingly emphatic defeats, should be laced with the perspective of just how awful things were at Loftus Road this time last year.

You may recall that two days later we went and lost 3-0 at Ipswich and in the LFW match preview for that game I stated my growing intention to bring my involvement with this site to an end once the season was over – so exhausted and demoralised was I by five years of writing about just how bloody awful QPR are/were. It’s no surprise I’m still here to be honest, and I’m pleased I am to report on the fabulous season we have had so far, although as writing LFW can be a little like painting the Forth Road Bridge (no sooner is the match report written and submitted than the build up to the next game begins) and the games come thick and fast at this time of year I’ve no doubt I’ll be thinking of jacking it all in again by the time we get to Blackburn in January – especially as I just know that at least one of these previews will be a wasted effort because of the snow.

Still, as is traditional in this last preview before Christmas, I’d like to wish the very best to both my regular readers (that joke will never get old) and to everybody else who is passing through today. Thank you for your support over the past 12 months and I hope you have a peaceful and warm holiday period with three points thrown into the bargain.

Five minutes on Swansea

Story so far: Believe it or not, and it seems to come round so quickly to me, this is our first return fixture of the season. It may well have escaped your notice, it's a miniscule change proffered to the tiny amount of people that actually read these long rambling previews all the way through, but as we preview teams for a second time in the season on LFW the 'Recent History' section changes to 'The Story So Far'. So having previously looked at how the club we are facing has reached this position during the last ten, 20 or, if I'm in a particularly enthusiastic mood, 30 years or so we now examine how their season has gone so far. This reflection has traditionally begun with a glance back at the pre-season predictions posted on LFW during the long hot summer. Now LFW has never been known for the supreme accuracy of its predictions - much like my maths GCSE the workings out are amazing, intricately woven and meticulously researched genius, but the answer they produce at the end is a complete crock of horse shit. Twas ever thus.

For a variety of reasons, so far proved to be complete nonsense, we (and by that I mean I, as is always the case) had Cardiff, Swansea and QPR all down for mid-table mediocrity, missing the play offs by some distance because of, respectively, financial collapse, lack of firepower and lack of firepower. The summer assessment of the Swans read, and I quote: "With Sousa gone the club has turned to Brendan Rodgers, who succeeded at Watford before being ousted early on in a rebuilding programme at Reading. The loss of Leon Britton from midfield is a big one as well. It’s doubtful that Swansea can continue to maintain season on season improvement while continually losing their best players to other clubs every summer and as it stands they’re unlikely to do as well again would be my guess at this stage."

And I tipped them to finish 13th. Stick with me kids, you won't go far wrong.

By some strange quirk of a recent slight drop in form on the Swans' part this game is actually a contest between first and fourth in the Championship, just as it was when we travelled to the Liberty Stadium in October, but for quite some time it had looked to have the potential to be a top two Boxing Day Battle Royale with fireworks, dancing girls and Steve Claridge hopping up and down on the touchline cock in hand saying "Well Manish I did say they were weak at the back." As it is it's probably still the game of the day, but both sides need to get back on track with a win after a bit of a lull through the back end of December.

My surprise at QPR's achievements is well documented, but I have to confess I've raised eyebrows at Swansea's achievements as well and I'd say anybody outside South Wales who claims now to have tipped them for success this season before a ball was kicked is probably embellishing the truth. The two prime reasons for this are, and remain the case today, Swansea lack a real serious goal threat in attack and had a tumultuous summer where a managerial change, and quest for a replacement, dragged on for such a period of time it had to have a detrimental affect on their progress. Had to. I'm telling you.

Swansea has been a club on the up for quite some time now - moving from the bottom division into the second tier, and a new stadium, during the last six years. They consolidated their place in the Championship in their first season but lost manager Roberto Martinez and star men Jason Scotland and Jordi Gomez to Wigan that summer. Paulo Sousa was his replacement, fresh from his shambolic axing by QPR, and on the face of it their league position improved yet again last season under his tenure. However having spent so much of the season in the play off picture, and having gone into a final day match at home to a Doncaster side that was notoriously weak on its travels last year and had nothing to play for on the day needing a win to secure a place in the end of season knock out seventh was actually a disappointment - especially as the Blackpool side that nipped in front of them into sixth ended up winning the whole shooting match and are now making a decent fist of Premiership survival against all odds.

Sousa then walked out on the Swans to join Leicester, a protracted and messy move that spanned almost a fortnight and came after Sousa had already begun to spend the summer budget at the LIberty Stadium - our former charge Scott Donnelly has been the main victim of that, signed by Sousa in the summer a week before his departure and used only sparingly since. It hardly seemed worth all the effort when the Portuguese was sacked by the Foxes three months into the season after an awful start that left them in the relegation zone.

Swansea quickly set their sights on Sheffield United assistant manager Gary Speed and made several approaches, while interest in Bournemouth's Eddie Howe, Exeter's Paul Tisdale and Bristol Rovers' Paul Trollope was also rumoured. With pre-season training already underway and other clubs strengthening their hand Swansea were in danger of being left behind as one rebuff followed another from Bramall Lane. With time of the essence they plumped for former Watford and Reading gaffer Brendan Rodgers, ostensibly because he was available immediately - although perhaps I'm being harsh there.

Rodgers had done brilliantly at Watford in his first job, and had a good coaching reputation from his time with Mourinho at Chelsea, but his rebuilding project at Reading due to span a three year plan lasted barely six months before a mercy killing was made. All the time and effort spent by the Swansea board had churned up an inexperienced man with a mixed record and with Leon Britton departing after a decade in South Wales, to go with the key departures of the previous year, a promotion push hardly seemed on the cards.

Rodgers has been a great success so far though. He inherited the division's best defence and left it as it was, while adding Scott Sinclair to spice up the attack. The former QPR loanee has revelled in a permanent contract and some regular first team football after years of temporary moves from Stamford Bridge although there is possibly some suggestion that teams have snuffed him out of games more and more in the same way defenders seem to be coping better with Adel Taarabt than they were at the start of the season. An inauspicious start (Swansea lost three of their first five) gave way to a tremendous run of form through September and October culminating in a famous 1-0 win at arch rivals Cardiff - a seventh game unbeaten, and seventh victory in ten matches.

Cardiff, and QPR, have stuttered a little in recent weeks, losing their all conquering dominant streaks of the early part of the season, but at the moment it seems that it's teams from further back in the pack, such as Leeds, who are most keen to take advantage. Swansea's form has dropped too - they lost to Bristol City less than a week after the Cardiff win and have since been beaten by Portsmouth and Sheffield United and held to draws by Doncaster, and Millwall.

The reason as far as I'm concerned is the same reason I tipped them for nothing more than a mid-table finish to begin with - they don't have the required firepower. Their best form this season came when Middlesbrough striker Marvin Emnes was leading their line on loan. Emnes is no great shake, and has been a big disappointment at the Riverside since moving from Holland, but he is better than anything Swansea have for that position and apart from a match at out of form Ipswich, where the flabby figure of Craig Beattie suddenly burst into life with a fine brace of goals only to sink back into his substantial shell again since, the Swans have missed him badly.

Tough opponents no doubt, and boasting the best defence in the league in my opinion, but expect Rodgers to have his nose in the January trough looking to snuff out a genuine line leader to cement their place as a promotion contender.

Manager: Brendan Rodgers was hailed as some sort of Championship Mourinho when he came from nowhere to land the managerial job at struggling Watford midway through the season before last. A young, confident coach with new and modern methods trusted with a difficult managerial position despite never playing the game to any kind of level. That he was preferred to Malky Mackay, who had a wealth of first team experience behind him and had done a fine job as caretaker manager in difficult circumstances, showed how much Watford rated him.

Rodgers kept Watford up with points to spare, even turning Tamas Priskin into something resembling a professional footballer. He had originally made his name in footballing circles coaching in Reading’s academy, and then later at Chelsea where he learned from the Portuguese man in the Matalan coat. Watford gave him his chance and he seized it with both hands before dumping them at the first possible opportunity to re-join Reading as their manager.

Now there’s a fair bit of luck all round in the story here really. Luckily for Watford Malky Mackay wasn’t too bitter about being overlooked the first time and took the job on – he has since kept Watford up despite a balance sheet that looked like it had been put together by Bob Diamond and Trader Jones during a late night pot party at Charlie Chalk’s hampering his progress. This season Watford are flying. Luckily for Reading their decision to appoint Rodgers for a long term rebuilding job following relegation from the top flight and an end to their parachute payments didn’t damage them too greatly when they then sacked him after three months of dreadful results on the pitch. Brian McDermott came in to replace him and has been an unlikely success despite sounding like that desperately dull man with the never ending list of pointless anecdotes and information about rare Red Kites and the type of points used on the West Coast mainline that I always seem to get sat next to at weddings.

And luckily for Rodgers he landed on his feet at Swansea who are currently fourth and looking threatening in a division that really looks as if it is there for the taking.

Earlier this season QPR’s Tommy Smith, who played for Rodgers at Watford, told the Kilburn Times: “From what I hear, he was very unfortunate at Reading and didn’t really get a chance to develop and move things the way he wanted to. Often, if you don’t get results straight away, clubs start panicking a bit and I think that’s what happened with Brendan at Reading. He’s got a very different approach as a manager – quite a European approach to tactics and training, and it takes players time to get used to. At Watford it took time but, after three or four months, we started getting some great results. I’m sure it would have been the same at Reading – as soon as he left they started winning, which showed the solid foundations he’d put in place.”

Three to watch: Swansea set their side up in a very similar way to ourselves with Emnes, Beattie and Dobbie so far charged with fulfilling the Hulse/Helguson role with support from Nathan Dyer and others in deeper lying roles. For Shaun Derry read Darren Prately and in the all important Adel Taarabt position they have Scott Sinclair.

There are many similarities between Taarabt and Sinclair. Both are blessed with great talent and were tipped to have big futures at the London Premiership teams they initially signed for – Spurs for Taarabt, Chelsea with Sinclair. Both found their first team opportunities limited and both subsequently had to try their hand with loan deals to try and get some regular game time. Both ended up at Loftus Road on loan which means now Sinclair is at Swansea QPR must beware that always irritating football phenomena of the former employee coming back to get one over his former paymasters. Les Ferdinand, Simon Barker, Nigel Quashie and Paul Murray all immediately spring to mind as players who returned to haunt us with new clubs. I’m sure there are dozens more.

Both players started this season on fire but have found the going increasingly tough. Taarabt was superb against Cardiff three games ago but has been below par in his last two outings while Sinclair only has one goal in his last eight appearances compared to 11 in the 13 games prior to that. Form comes and goes with players, and after the starts they made Taarabt and Sinclair were never just going to be allowed a continuous free reign to do as they please by defences. Measures have been taken and the challenge for both players is to either overcome that, or sacrifice their own glory and become simply a distraction that creates space for team mates.

The fixture list sent QPR to South Wales on a Tuesday night earlier this season which meant only a handful of fans from W12 will have seen Rangers just about hang onto Sinclair and restrict his impact. For the rest the last memory of him was probably his unsuccessful loan spell with us when Luigi De Canio was the manager in 2007. Sinclair was something of a coup when he arrived, long trumpeted as a potential signing by supporters.

He originally came through the ranks at Bristol Rovers. Actually, that’s not true, he was coming through the ranks at Bristol Rovers until Chelsea, in what has become the time honoured and thoroughly reprehensible way the bigger Premiership clubs go about these things, quickly hoovered him up with the enthusiasm of a starved pig suddenly flung into the world’s biggest heap of shit. Chelsea, naturally, had no need for Scott Sinclair, or any of the other children (and that’s what they were) they snaffled up then and continue to do so today – another 5 year old poached from Feyenoord this week.

They have shown with Michael Manciene that whenever they do actually create a genuinely high quality talent of their own it only it ends up wasting its time banging its head on a glass ceiling while big money purchases like Alex and Ivanovic play in its stead. Sinclair was signed at a time when Damion Duff and Shaun Wright Phillips were being bought for the thick end of £40m and by the time he was old enough to move into the first team Flourent Malouda had arrived on the scene.

So, like all the youngsters Chelsea and Tottenham selfishly sweep up for the sole purpose of preventing anybody else from having them, he was left to play meaningless matches in a vast academy and reserve team structure, and occasionally go out on loan to the lower divisions. When Sinclair did arrive in the Championship with Plymouth he immediately caught the eye with a goal against Barnet in the FA Cup that started in his own penalty area and ended in the back of the net at the other end of the pitch following a mazy three mile run that took him past the majority of the Barnet team, coaching staff and local population. QPR were doing a bit of snaffling and guzzling of their own at that stage – shrugging off years of financial worries to quickly grab hold of whoever they could find, regardless of whether they really needed him or not. Sinclair scored early on for Rangers at Crystal Palace but whenever questioned on the possibility of extending the loan for a further month or two or, how foolish were we to mention this one, making it a permanent transfer he rejected the chance to give a political answer and said quite clearly that he had come to QPR solely to ‘keep his eye in’ because he’d been promised a game for Chelsea against Liverpool in the League Cup in a few weeks time.

QPR fans had, by and large, gone along with this borrowing players from Chelsea malarkey. At this stage we hadn’t played them competitively since 1996 and even the most ardent of Chelsea haters had to concede that without Mancienne and Jimmy Smith we would have been relegated to League One in 2006/07 and more than likely slipped into administration as well. There were grumbles when John Gregory talked of using us as some sort of Chelsea nursery, and when Sinclair so openly slated the wearing of our beloved Hoops as some sort of glorified fitness exercise. Those grumbles got a hell of a lot louder as Sinclair’s spell with Rangers went on.

It’s often levelled at loan players that they lack commitment to their temporary employers. We’ve had a few in the past couple of seasons and they have been a pretty mixed bag commitment wise. Nobody has ever been less committed to playing for QPR than Scott Sinclair. He pulled out of any potential physical contact, fearful for his place in that big Liverpool game, with such vigour he must have risked serious muscle damage just by trying to tuck his legs up so far behind his back. Cowardice doesn’t even begin to describe it, and by the time he did return to Chelsea to underperform badly against the Scousers and leave the field after less than an hour most QPR fans wouldn’t have kept him even if he’d asked to stay after all.

Further loan spells followed over the next two years as Charlton, Palace, Birmingham and then Premiership side Wigan tried their luck with this once highly rated youngster. But denied a settled environment in which to play regular first team football his fire soon burned out and a cut price move to Swansea in the summer was something of a fresh start. When totting up reasons why England do nothing on the international scene any more this hoarding of the likes of Sinclair, Mancienne, John Bostock, Kyle Walker, Kyle Naughton and others by, chiefly, Chelsea and Tottenham with no intention of ever giving them a game outside the League Cup or loan deals has got to be playing a significant part.

Despite Sinclair’s form the most impressive part of Swansea’s overall game remains the defence. They were almost impregnable last season conceding just 12 at home in the entire campaign. Alan Tate, a Swan since 2002 when he arrived from Man Utd, is a big reason for that and has been their most impressive player several times against us. He was imperious at the Liberty Stadium in October, playing hard but fair and winning every single header.

The same could be said of Darren Pratley who is now being linked with a January transfer to Bolton – the latest in a growing list of clubs to have been linked with a move for the giant central midfielder. Originally a trainee with Fulham Pratley spent the 2005/06 season on loan with Brentford before being signed by Swansea and it’s not hard to see why teams are looking at him. Big, powerful and commanding but with a decent touch of the ball and reasonable passing game as well – he’s like a Championship Tom Huddlestone and he can overpower and dominate you if you’re not very careful against him.

Links >>> Swansea City Official Website >>> Swansea City Message Board >>> Boxing Day Tube chaos


Recent Meetings: QPR were indebted to goalkeeper Paddy Kenny when these sides met at the Liberty Stadium earlier this season, but Jamie Mackie should have made the goalkeeper’s first half penalty save all the more crucial by snatching a winner. Kenny dived low to save David Cotterill’s easily telegraphed spot kick five minutes before half time after Darren Pratley was bundled over in the QPR penalty area. Before that Mackie had volleyed into the side netting from close range with the goal gaping after the ball dropped to him from a corner, then in the second half he took too many touches in a one on one situation and allowed Dorus De Vries to race from his goal line and save. Adel Taarabt was substituted late on, although he was lucky not to be sent off just prior to the change with the Swansea players successfully winding him up and tempting a reckless challenge while he was on a yellow card – round two may be worth looking out for this weekend.

Swansea: De Vries 7, Williams 7, Tate 8, Monk 7, Rangel 7, Cotterill 6 (Allen 46, 8), Pratley 7, Orlandi 7 (Beattie 85, -), Dyer 5, Sinclair 6, Dobbie 7 (Nouble 65, 4)

Subs Not Used: Taylor, Serran, Ma-Kalambay, Emnes

Booked: Monk (foul), Tate (foul), Pratley (foul), Rangel (dissent)

QPR: Kenny 8, Walker 7, Gorkss 7, Connolly 8, Hill 6, Derry 7, Faurlin 7, Ephraim 5 (Clarke 88, -), Taarabt 7 (Smith 80, 7),Helguson 6 (Agyemang 80, 6), Mackie 6

Subs Not Used: Orr, Cerny, Hall, Mahon

Booked: Gorkss (kicking ball away), Faurlin (foul), Taarabt (foul)

By the time the sides met at Loftus Road last season QPR had been all the way up to fourth and then right back down into the relegation battle, working their way through Paul Hart and Mick Harford to reach a point where Neil Warnock was in charge. Swansea meanwhile had climbed into the top six and were looking good for the play offs under Paulo Sousa who spiced up his first return to Loftus Road with some choice comments about Warnock’s preferred style of play in the build up. The game looked to be going to form when Bauza’s through ball that looked destined for Ikeme hit the hapless Matt Hill on the back and fell perfectly for Nathan Dyer to silence the boo boys with a well taken lob. But the introduction of Antonio German, Lee Cook and later Rowan Vine changed the game in QPR’s favour and young German bagged the equaliser with a quarter of an hour left when he bundled the ball home after De Vries had flapped at Taarabt’s corner.

QPR: Ikeme 7, Ramage 6, Gorkss 5, Connolly 6, Hill 5, Ephraim 6 (Vine 72, 6),Faurlin 8, Leigertwood 7, Buzsaky 6 (Cook 58, 7), Taarabt 6, Priskin 4 (German 58, 7)

Subs Not Used: Cerny, Balanta, Brown, Oastler

Goals: German 76 (assisted Vine)

Swansea: De Vries 6, Rangel 6, Williams 6, Tate 7, Richards 6, Cotterill 6 (Van der Gun 66, 6), Gower 7 (Beattie 89, -), Britton 6, Bauza 6, Dyer 8 (Butler 84, -), Kuqi 7

Subs Not Used: Cornell, Pratley, Pintado, Trundle

Booked: Richards (foul)

Goals: Dyer 57 (assisted Bauzer)

Head to Head >>> QPR wins 16 >>> Draws 11 >>> Swansea wins 10

Previous Results

2010/11 Swansea 0 QPR 0

2009/10 QPR 1 Swansea 1 (German)

2009/10 Swansea 2 QPR 0

2008/09 QPR 1 Swansea 0 (Leigertwood)

2008/09 Swansea 0 QPR 0

2004/05 QPR 3 Swansea 0 (Cureton, Rowlands, Gallen)

2001/02 Swansea 4 QPR 0

1980/81 Swansea 1 QPR 2

1980/81 QPR 0 Swansea 0

1979/80 QPR 3 Swansea 2

1979/80 Swansea 1 QPR 2

1978/79 QPR 2 Swansea 0

1966/67 Swansea 1 QPR 3

1966/67 QPR 4 Swansea 2

1966/67 Swansea 1 QPR 2

Played for both: Karl Connolly

QPR 2000-2003 >>> Swansea 2003-2004

A schoolboy at Tranmere Rovers, Karl Connolly was never offered an apprenticeship by the club and actually started his footballing career at Napoli. No not the Italian Serie A side made famous by Diego Maradona and Mars bars but the Warrington based Sunday League team. It was here he was spotted by Wrexham manager Bryan Flynn who was looking for a new left-winger. Still working in a chip-shop part time, Karl jumped at the chance of a signing for the Red Dragons, even if they had just finished the season in ninety second place only avoiding relegation due to a team already voluntarily leaving the league.

He began life at the Racecourse as a left winger and was at the club for their famous FA Cup victory over First Division champions Arsenal. Later when Gary Bennett left the club, Connelly moved upfront to become the clubs main striker and gained cult status for the Welsh club: scoring nearly 100 goals in 350 games before moving on a free transfer to QPR in May 2000.

It wasn’t a happy debut season for Connolly though as he scored just five goals and was part of one of worst Rangers teams in recent times that ended the season relegated to the third tier. The following campaign Connolly was one of the few players who was still at QPR now under manager Ian Holloway and enjoyed a much more consistent season that saw a top-half finish for the club. His last act in a hoops shirt was a penalty miss in the infamous FA Cup defeat to Vauxhall Motors before leaving at the end of that season to join Swansea on a free transfer.

At Vetchfield Connolly struggled to get into the first team and only made twelve appearances in a season in Wales before returning home to play for Prescot Cables and was last heard of at Newi Cefn Druids.

Connolly is always seems to be a player remembered in a strangely positive light by QPR fans, despite the fact that he was absolutely awful for most of his time with us. His chronic lack of pace (cliffs have been eroded faster) rendered him useless in the Championship and he barely held his own in the league below either. One of our worst modern day signings in my opinion.

Links >>> Swansea 0 QPR 0 Match Report >>> QPR 1 Swansea 1 Match Report >>> Swansea 2 QPR 0 Match Report >>> Connections and Memories

Boxing Day

Team News: Alejandro Faurlin has recovered from the flu bug that prevented him travelling to Leeds last week so he should return to the midfield with Kyle Walker returning to full back – personally I think Hill is more likely to be dropped for Walker than Orr is but we shall wait and see. Paddy Kenny and Shaun Derry have also caught the flu bug, but have recovered sufficiently to start. Fitz Hall may be pushing for a recall with Connolly and Gorkss losing form, although he hardly covered himself in glory as a second half sub at Elland Road. Patrick Agyemang has missed the last two games with a thigh strain but is fit to play this weekend and will see some more regular action over Christmas with Neil Warnock openly stating his intention to rotate his squad, especially for the cup game at Blackburn. Lee Cook, Akos Buzsaky and Peter Ramage are the long term absentees.

Neil Warnock told the Kilburn Times: “Agyemang should be all right for the Swansea game and we’ve missed him, really – he adds something different. He’s a handful for anybody and that’s what he’s good at, upsetting defenders. After Swansea we’re going to have to make changes, with the squad we’ve got playing four games in nine days. So there will be other people getting opportunities.”

Tom Butler and the talented but terminally unlucky Ferrie Bodde are Swansea’s long term absentees but they are otherwise injury and suspension free and are likely to name the same team that lost at Sheffield United last weekend before rotating for the busy Christmas period.

Elsewhere: As ever the fixtures are at the mercy of the vile weather currently sweeping across the country so this is all subject to change right up to kick off. There are three early games including our own – Millwall travel to Portsmouth and Palace welcome Norwich. The game of the day, apart from our own, is probably in form Leeds travelling to Leicester, while third placed Cardiff welcome sixth placed Coventry to South Wales. Lower down the table Scunthorpe host Preston in a battle of the bottom two at Glanford Park, fourth bottom Middlesbrough have it all on at home to improving Nottingham Forest. The latest game in the on going saga of Roy Keane’s future at Ipswich is a home match with Watford.

Referee: For the first time since 2006 we have Phil Crossley from Kent in charge of one of our games. Mr Crossley was a late comer to the refereeing game, taking it up at 29, but made rapid progress and has been on the league list since 2002. Last time he was at Loftus Road he harshly sent off Hull goalkeeper Bo Myhill in a 2-2 draw. More details on that can be read here.


QPR: First v fourth would hint at a match between two teams in flying form, but QPR and Swansea actually boast just five wins in their last 18 matches between them. QPR had been unbeaten through the first 19 matches of the season but have lost their last two and now have just three wins in 11 matches. Strange how you can twist form to suit the point you want to make. Watford were the first team to win at Loftus Road this season a fortnight ago, seven other teams have been beaten while three have escaped with draws. Despite the mini blip QPR are still three points clear at the top of the table thanks to a mixture of poor form and postponements elsewhere. The team top at Christmas has gone on to win automatic promotion in seven of the last ten Championship seasons.

Swansea: The Swans looked like being the main threat to QPR at the start of November when an impressive 1-0 win at Cardiff, a seventh win in ten games, helped them move into second place in the Championship. However they immediately followed that up with a 1-0 home defeat against Bristol City and have since won just two of seven matches to slip to fourth. They are now four points behind QPR and could be overtaken by fifth placed Norwich on Boxing Day. A word of warning to QPR though – their away form is becoming something of a tour de force. After losing their first four league games on the road this season the Swans have won five of their next seven losing only one. They have already won at Ipswich, Cardiff, Watford, Palace and Reading this season which is an impressive list of scalps Leading scorer Scott Sinclair has 12 goals to his name, but only one in his last eight games – next down the list are Darren Pratley and Craig Beattie with three each, highlighting the lack of a major goal scoring forward.

Prediction: Swansea don’t draw many on the road, just one stalemate from 11 road games, but I am nevertheless going to go for a tied game here. Neil Warnock clearly knows QPR are in for a tough time this Christmas with the way the fixtures have fallen, and despite a three point lead he keeps stating he’s just hoping to still be in the top two after the Burnley game. For that reason, and the inevitable knock in confidence two defeats will have inflicted, I’d expect QPR to be quite conservative and perhaps a little frustrating for themselves and their fans in this game. Swansea would take a point and not bother turning up if you offered them that now. I’ll say a draw, possibly 0-0, although if Swansea score first confidence and nerves could become a big hindrance to us.

QPR 0 Swansea 0, best priced 17/2 with Victor Chandler

Photo: Action Images

Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.

YorkRanger added 07:14 - Dec 24
The reference to the Bristol City game and how far we have progressed is a point well made Clive. The fact remains that:
1. Every club will have a dip in form at some point during a 46 match season.
2. If, at the start of the season, you had offered any Rangers fan the chance to go into the Boxing Day fixtures 3 points clear at the top of the table they would not only have snatched your hand off, it would have been done with such force the arm would have left the socket too.

That said the next 4 league games will, I think, indicate strongly how the rest of the season will shape. A win on Boxing Day will be a great start.

Chtistmas is being spent in London for my family this year and we arrived yesterday after an unventful trip down the M1. Needless to say the match tickets are safely in my wallet.

Can I take the opportunity to thank you for all your hard work this year Clive. Loft for Words tops my bookmarked sites and during great times (and miserable ones) it is good to share thoughts with like minded people (with the normal differences of opinion you would expect along the way).

Merry Christmas to you and all site members

johann28 added 10:26 - Dec 24
Thank you so much for all your efforts this year - I'm so glad you didn't 'jack it in'. For those of us aboard supporting the team from far away (I'm in Munich at the mo) the site is a real lifeline and I always look forward to reading your comments, which are never 'rambling' and always interesting, informative and humourous to boot. Merry Christmas & HNY.

Toast_R added 11:08 - Dec 24
"Cliffs have eroded quicker" love it, what a complete shower that team was. Ten years is a long time in football and boy have we seen some ups and downs (literally)

Great preview as ever Clive, have a great xmas and new year.

18StoneOfHoop added 13:04 - Dec 24
Brilliant stuff as per usual,Clive.
Excellent on big club's hoovering up and wasting of all available English talent.
Loved (Chelsea's actions betrayed the...) 'enthusiasm of a starved pig suddenly flung into the world's biggest heap of shit'.
Thanks for every word you've written on this site in the past year and look forward to much more on our road to promotion in May.
Merry Xmas everybody.

Watford_Ranger added 13:30 - Dec 24
The best thing about Karl Connolly was his song.

cranieboy added 16:01 - Dec 24
Thanks for all the hard work and info, not to mention the humour. Have a great xmas and lets hope we all (qpr and its fans, that is) have a great new year.
Up the r's.

qprninja added 13:58 - Dec 25
Ben Watson must surely be up there in the loan signing bottling every tackle stakes, didn't he get shed loads of abuse from qpr fans for jumping out of a tackle right in front of them at ipswich? Also, the only memorable thing about Karl Connoly was the charming song "we've got karl connoly, you f**k your family...".......ooh, good times.

NorwayRanger16 added 00:44 - Dec 26
Looking back 12 months ago, i could'nt be more pleased about where we are now.

My situasion is the same as Johann28 posted, thank you so much for your writing over the past year, long may it comtinue :-)

I've lost count on how many hours i've spent reading your articles (not as many as you writing them, obviously), lots of insight and lots of laughs.

Happy holidays Clive, you sure deserve it.

R_in_Sweden added 11:56 - Dec 26
I'd just like to add to the list of appreciation from R's fans stranded abroad. Like the others I am reliant on your reports in order to keep in touch with what's really happening on the pitch.

The humorous Steve Claridge cock in hand comments are very warming in this bitter Scandinavian winter. If we could harness the heat emitting from Steve's member during one of our defeats we could be onto a new environmentally friendly energy source

Happy New Year and 3 points today please.

You need to login in order to post your comments

Blogs 31 bloggers

Knees-up Mother Brown #22 by wessex_exile

Queens Park Rangers Polls

About Us Contact Us Terms & Conditions Privacy Cookies Advertising
© FansNetwork 2024