End of Term Report 16/17 – Strikers
Thursday, 25th May 2017 09:08 by Clive Whittingham
Dragging us over the line for the final part of the annual round up is QPR’s mostly misfiring attack, although Idrissa Sylla’s numbers stand up against anybody’s in the division.
9 - Conor Washington C
While calling out QPR supporters on their unduly harsh treatment of some players, it’s pleasing (if a little confusing) to see that Conor Washington continues to be afforded extensive slack despite his poor goalscoring record.
I think there’s a few reasons behind this. Firstly he works very hard for the team, clearly puts the effort in, and, as we’ve seen with Jamie Mackie, QPR fans who’ve sat through the Jose Bosingwa years will forgive you a multitude of sins if you do that – absolutely right as well. Secondly, we’d like it to work, and we collectively recognise just how expensive it is to buy a striker at our level these days so let’s give this one every chance. It’s unlikely we’d even be able to spend the couple of million Connor cost us trying to replace him. Thirdly, it’s generally accepted that he’s been misused for much of his time here – either alone up front fielding long balls or marooned wide and starved of possession altogether because we’re so incapable of playing with width.
I look at his goal against Wigan, and the one against Forest at the end of the season, and I think it’s clear he can finish. He’s pretty quick too. Thinking aloud on the way home from that final home game of the season I asked how many times we’d seen Washington go through on the goal like that and miss, and I couldn’t think of one. Apart from one at Leeds this season where he curled it wide when I expected him to score having opened his body up on his favoured side, I don’t recall him missing many chances full stop. I think that’s an indication that we don’t use him or service him correctly and give him the chances to miss. He scores much more prolifically for Northern Ireland.
But I also think it’s partly to do with his own lack of movement and I guess your opinion on which carries more weight really depends on whether you rate him or not. The more qualified among the LFW group describe his movement, in their kinder moments, as sub-standard – he just doesn’t make the right runs at the right time, he doesn’t know where to be, there doesn’t seem to be that natural instinct for space and position to go with the ability to finish. And while it is ridiculous to expect him to play up front alone and field long balls punted down the field, as we did most monotonously at Burton Albion in one of the lowest quality games of football I’ve ever seen, he is going to find it hard to forge a career at this level, at QPR or elsewhere, if he always has to be played up front in a two with a target man because very few teams play that way in the top two divisions these days. Jermain Defoe is an extreme, unfair example, but there’s a striker of similar physical build who has remained prolific in the worst team in the Premier League, in the twilight of his career, while playing alone up front with crap service.
Things I’ll never understand about last season #356 in the series – why on earth, when we finally did get him scoring, looking confident, winning us games through February did we not just leave him in the team? Why start rotating him and shifting his positions about again? He’s clearly a confidence player who thrives from regular, steady selection and by taking that away from him his form stopped as quickly as it had started. A mind-blowing decision from Hollloway that one for me. If you spend 45 minutes trying to get your car to start and then it finally coughs into life you don’t immediately turn the bloody thing off for fear of using too much petrol do you?
Overall the goalscoring record – eight in 36 starts and 22 sub apps over 18 months - isn’t anywhere near good enough. So we either start using him properly and regularly and hope that improves, or we see if Ipswich are still interested.
29 starts, 14 sub appearances, W13 D8 L22
8 goals (Swindon H, Fulham A, Norwich H, Burton H, Newcastle A, Burton A, Wigan H, Forest H), 3 assists (Blackburn H, Wigan H, Bristol City A)
1 yellow card (foul)
4 LFW MOTM Awards (Fulham A, Ipswich A, Newcastle A, Wigan H)
LFW Ratings – 5, -, -, 6, 7, 6, 3, 4, 6, 6, 7, 6, 7, 6, 5, 6, 8, 6, 5, 5, 5, 5, 6, 5, 5, 6, 8, 6, 6, 8, 7, 6, 6, 6, 6, 5, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 5 = 5.878
Interactive Ratings – 5.78
0 Supporter MOTM Awards
23 – Yeni Ngbakoto C/D
Plenty of mitigating circumstances to put before the jury here. The moving to a new country, the language barrier, the death of his father so soon after getting here, the change of manager, the notorious nature of the Championship and the known problems it presents foreign players coming to play in it for the first time… I’ll be reserving judgement until most of the way through next season, assuming he stays.
Much like Massimo Luongo we’ve seen it, we know it’s there, we just need to see more of it, more often. The goal at Birmingham, but particularly the one at home to Cardiff which really did come from nothing at a time Rangers weren’t playing well at all, show there’s an explosive player here, capable of suddenly bursting into a game and changing it in our favour.
Running theme… we need to play less long ball and with more width in order to provide him with decent ball with which to produce those moments. But at the same time, he needs to assert himself on games and affect them more, more often. Too many times, particularly away from home, the games went on for hours at a time without you ever realising Ngbakoto was there. This also happened with Pawel Wszolek at Bristol City and it’s clear QPR need to be far better with the ball to help them, but at the same time Ngbakoto in particular needs to be able to grab a game by its balls and have an impact on it – repeatedly get the ball and drive at a weak defender, get that powerful shot away more often.
At the moment he looks a little bit prone to just coasting through waiting for the ball to arrive or something to happen.
14 starts, 14 sub appearances, W9 D2 17
4 goals (Swindon H, Birmingham A, Cardiff H, Rotherham H) 6 assists (Barnsley A, Blackburn H, Cardiff H, Barnsley H, Rotherham H, Rotherham H)
1 yellow card (repetitive fouling)
2 LFW MOTM Awards (Cardiff H, Rotherham H)
LFW Ratings – 6, 7, 6, 5, 5, 4, 6, 6, 5, 5, 5, 4, 4, 5, -, -, 6, 5, 7, 6, 6, 7, -, 6, 6, 4, 5, - = 5.45
Interactive Ratings – 5.30
1 Supporter MOTM Award (Cardiff H)
12 – Jamie Mackie D
Just the 19 appearances for Jamie this season (12 from the start) after 16 (nine starts) the previous. Not good enough, and we can’t tee off on Sandro, Caulker and others – despite the extra elements to their stories – and then pretend otherwise for him.
I had the pleasure of interviewing him a couple of months back and although his voice makes him sound like a reject from the School of the Gifted he’s actually quite articulate, and clearly thinks a lot about the club and his game. I always said in his first stint he wasn’t given adequate credit, written off as some kick and rush merchant, for working on aspects of his play, most notably his first touch, and scoring good, important goals against some of the best teams in the country. When he runs you through the injuries he’s had it’s clear he’s been singularly unfortunate. I also think you get rid of people like this from the QPR dressing room at your peril. While the turnover of players and managers is still far too high you need constants, and people with the club at heart, more than most squads would. Most would concede, I think, the decision to ditch both Hill and Faurlin last summer wasn’t shrewd on or off the pitch.
But we’re not a charity, so while I think a one year extension on reduced terms – signed last week – is the right option we need him to have a big season next year. It’s not beyond him. When he came back from injury and, remarkably, played two games in the same weekend in January, Rangers won both to snap a six match losing run and spark something of a revival through the spring. Him, Manning and Wszolek coming into the side transformed it, and all three were brilliant and combined for the winning goal in our best performance of the season away at Reading. When Mackie and Manning were subsequently rested for games, notably Burton at home, the performance levels collapsed again.
But he had a poor end to the season when used and the naysayers who think the years are catching up with him and he simply isn’t the same player he was had plenty of material to work with. Brentford away didn’t go down well, as he combined an anonymous performance with frequent arm waving at the supporters trying to rouse them – pack it in Jamie, we know you care, we know you’re trying, but if I needed a cheerleader I’d go and bounce up and down with my arms round the topless wannnabe ultras at Crystal Palace.
Players have always had to modify their games as years have advanced. It helps if you didn’t rely on pace and engine in the first place – Furlong, Gallen – but Mackie really did. Little yappy dogs don’t modify their behaviour as they get older, they just don’t tear about the place as much and lay by the fire a bit more. Does he have it in him to either keep going as he was, or to change adequately?
Questions for next season. I’m hanging my hat on him still being useful to us if (if) he can have a full pre-season (which he hasn’t had for several years now) and then stay injury free. That Reading game wasn’t that long ago.
12 starts, 7 sub appearances, W5 D3 L11
1 goal (Reading A) 3 assists (Wolves A, Cardiff H, Sheff Wed H)
4 yellow cards (kicking ball away, ungentlemanly, foul, foul)
1 LFW MOTM Awards (Blackburn H FAC)
LFW Ratings – 6, 5, 7, 7, 6, 7, 7, -, 7, 6, 5, 6, 6, 6, 6, 5, 5, 5, 6 = 6.00
Interactive Ratings – 5.68
0 Supporter MOTM Awards
15 – Pawel Wszolek B
Polish Pawel could scarcely have had a tougher start to life at QPR, tossed on for a debut as a substitute for the injured James Perch in the first half of the Newcastle massacre. Welcome to England.
After a steady, quiet start in the games after that, and a nicely taken goal against Reading, he really came into his own just after Christmas with a goal and an assist in the much-needed win at Wolves, and a high quality performance in another away success at Reading. Rangers promptly made his loan deal permanent with a two year contract and whether that was good business or a typical bit of knee-jerk, fan-appeasing, ooh-look-something-new-and-shiny QPR nonsense will only be known in time.
Personally, I think the signs are reasonably good at this point. Ian Holloway likes him because of the distance covered, which is often greater even than Ryan Manning, and the work rate. We saw in that crucial match with Nottingham Forest at the end of the season what a difference his engine makes to the team when he’s included in it, and Holloway and the club could have helped themselves a lot more if they’d explained his otherwise unfathomable absence before that was due to a family bereavement.
And I like him because I think our strikers thrive on width, the whole team looks better when it plays with width, and he has a very nice final ball on him. Three assists is low considering that, but the crosses for the goals at Wolves and Barnsley and his ball in the build up to Mackie’s strike at Reading show the quality he’s got – a low total of assists comes back to the running theme of QPR starving their wide players of quality possession all season.
A lot of QPR fans liked Junior Hoilett but you only have to look at Bobby Zamora’s play-off final winner to see just how crap his final ball was – almost always just slung hopefully in there towards nobody in particular. I like Wszolek’s method of actually looking up and trying to pick out a man with his crosses or cut backs. That’s such a basic thing but so ridiculously unusual at this level I’m all in favour of throwing him off a cliff top to test whether he’s actually a bloody witch – maybe combine it with a pre-season friendly at Dover?
Good player I think, looking forward to finding out more (or being proved hopelessly wrong again) next season.
25 starts, 6 sub appearances, W9 D7 L15
3 goals (Reading H, Wolves A, Ipswich H) 3 assists (Fulham A, Wolves A, Barnsley H)
1 yellow card (foul)
2 LFW MOTM Awards (Burton A, Reading A)
LFW Ratings – 3, 6, 7, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 5, -, 5, 5, 7, 7, 6, 8, 7, 6, 7, 6, 6, 7, 6, 6, -, 8, 7, 4, 4, 7, 4 = 6.00
Interactive Ratings – 6.02
4 Supporter MOTM Awards (Birmingham H, Ipswich H, Reading A, Barnsley H)
17 – Seb Polter C
My pre-season prediction for the Player of the Year award, which wasn’t quite as wide of the mark as the time I tipped Samba Diakite for it moments before they locked him in the padded room, but still wasn’t nearly close to being right. Like so many others – Karl Henry and Jordan Cousins chief among them – he looked brilliant on that opening day against Leeds, terrorising the visitors and scoring a fine third goal. He won a penalty at Cardiff a week later and won another, and scored one of his own, at Barnsley the following Wednesday.
With a year of Championship football under his belt, that exciting partnership he’d forged with Tjaronn Chery at the end of the previous season ready to blossom, the famed “toughest pre-season of all time” getting him in better shape than the one he’d personally criticised the year before, it all looked to be laid out in front of him to be our new Helguson. But it just never quite happened did it?
He could be, at his best, brutally effective. But on other occasions, most notably when he came on as a substitute at Sheff Wed when we were chasing a single goal deficit and spent the final 20 minutes killing any chance we had by conceding a series of soft free kicks for daft challenges he didn’t need to make, he looked like a right carthorse.
It is nevertheless disappointing that for reasons away from the field – and we’re not going to go into the rumours of what they were here as we’ve spent all this week going quite close to the mark and official LFW counsel (not a salaried position) has drunk all the good gin again – we didn’t get to see how Ian Holloway might have used him with Conor Washington. In Holloway’s first game, against Norwich, they were paired together as a conventional front two for the first time I can remember, and within 25 minutes they’d both scored – Polter’s a lovely finish too. Holloway was a big fan before he arrived, and you’d think that physical, hard working, target man side of Polter’s game would have been right up his street. But for reasons out of his control he couldn’t select him, and then had to sell him.
A likeable personality, a hard working player, inconsistent but good on his day for this level… an unsatisfactory end.
12 starts, 11 sub appearances, W7 D6 L10
4 goals (Leeds H, Barnsley A, Burton A, Norwich H) 3 assists (Cardiff A, Barnsley A, Norwich H)
3 yellow cards (foul, repetitive fouling, foul)
0 LFW MOTM Awards
LFW Ratings – 8, 7, 6, 7, 5, 6, 6, 5, 6, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, -, 5, 4, 6, 7, 6, 5, 5, 5 = 5.77
Interactive Ratings – Not available
0 Supporter MOTM Awards
17 – Matt Smith B/C
I seem to have written this a lot over the course of this week, but Smith strikes me as yet another player we don’t use correctly, whose strengths we don’t play to. Although he did miss very presentable chances from crosses against Brighton and Forest late in the season, I nevertheless think he is far better facing goal, coming onto good service from wide. You don’t have to have spent years watching Paul Furlong and Heidar Helguson to know his back-to-goal game and hold-up-and-lay play isn’t anywhere near as good as it needs to be, but having seen it done so well for all that time it really sticks out when you have to watch it done badly now.
And yet QPR either by design, or through laziness, more often than not just punt it long down the field to him, and rarely supply it well from wide areas. It is tempting when you see a lad of that size up there, and the opposition deliberately coax us into it by marking tightly elsewhere while leaving Nedum Onuoha unchallenged in possession, but it’s not playing to our strengths at all. Watching Aiden Flint stand and head this tedious rubbish straight back down the field at us several thousand times over in the away match at Bristol City was an irritating way to spend an afternoon.
Smith needs to do a bit better though having said that, after a bright start he clocked off more than most in the final few games of the season and that infuriating minute at Norwich where he faffed around with his boot while play went on very closely around him rather summed it up. But it’s the absolute refusal, under Hasselbaink and Holloway, to play with any width at all that’s really got me to the point where I’ve torn all of my hair out and am now getting to work peeling the skin off my face. Pawl Wszolek has a tremendous final ball on him, Smith and Idrissa Sylla both seem at their most dangerous when attacking crosses from wide, and yet we hardly ever do it. When we do, we score very regularly – Smith v Wigan, Sylla v Bristol City, own goal v Barnsley, Sylla v Fulham, Mackie v Reading, Polter v Burton. Why won’t we go wide? Why?
13 starts, 3 sub appearances, W5 D1 L10
4 goals (Birmingham A, Wigan H, Rotherham H, Brighton H) 2 assists (Preston A, Rotherham H)
0 yellow cards
0 LFW MOTM Awards
LFW Ratings – 6, 7, 8, 6, 6, 6, 6, 7, 5, 6, 7, 4, 5, 6, 6, 4 = 5.93
Interactive Ratings – 5.89
0 Supporter MOTM Awards
27 - Olamide Shodipo B
And I can continue that point here because having decided last summer that Mide Shodipo may be of use to the first team, and duly slung him in from the start on day one to good effect Rangers then underused him, and Holloway bombed him out altogether. First of all massive credit to Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink for putting Shodipo in there, from the start of games and regularly rather than the random selections we’ve seen other players suffer towards the back end of the season, without the need for endless loan spells. That was a very bold call that none of his predecessors were ever brave enough to make.
QPR are so desperate for a youth teamer to break through and establish themselves after a decade-long drought that there is a tendency to treat any kid that turns up on the bench for a couple of games as some sort of messiah – hype and expectation quickly build, the player inevitably can’t fulfil that, and people get on their backs very quickly. Shodipo is, undoubtedly, very, very raw. Against Leeds on day one the ball looked too big for him. But he grew from there, buoyed by a classy assist against Reading, and when he came on at Fulham he changed the last 20 minutes in QPR’s favour and was a big reason we won that game.
I like his Andy Impey-style basic approach to wing play – get the ball to the byline, get it into the box with some pace on it, and do that regularly. QPR look far better when they do this, and in the first half of the season always looked better when Shodipo was on the pitch. Sadly things slipped into a bit of a pattern whereby he’d come on for the last 20 minutes, look good, the team would play well, a situation would be salvaged, and you’d hope Hasselbaink had finally seen the light and would throw caution to the wind the following match, only to turn up at Loftus Road again a few days later for more of the same negative, boring, narrow, long ball bullshit with Shodipo back on the bench.
Holloway got rid of him straight away, moaning about his lack of defensive ability. That does undoubtedly need work, although he’s certainly not the only wide man at QPR who leaves his full back exposed and the systems we’ve used this year will do that regardless of who’s playing wide midfield. To throw an inexperienced attacking player into a defensive situation in that game against Norwich and then, rather unfairly, pick him out personally as a reason we nearly bollocksed that up against ten men was unfair in my opinion. It rather smacked of Holloway not enjoying being told by supporters and Marc Bircham what a good player somebody was and wanting to show he knew best.
I don’t place as much stock as some in his lack of action for a poor Port Vale side, although admittedly it doesn’t look good that he couldn’t force regular selection in one of the worst sides in League One. Firstly Port Vale were a right mess last season, with a transfer policy that always looked a bit of a nonsense blowing up in their faces. I don’t trust their judgement, nor do I think anybody would have looked much good in their team unless they were an absolutely exceptional player, which nobody is pretending Shodipo is. Secondly, we’ve seen with Ryan Manning, who didn’t look much good in our Under 23s but suddenly became an important player for the firsts, that sometimes kids just need to be thrown in to the senior side and sometimes they just fit and work.
While accepting there’s a good chance he won’t be good enough and won’t make it, I’d like to see him kept and used regularly next season. But as I’ve written each of these reviews it’s becoming increasing apparent that if I want to watch a team play with genuine width I’m probably going to have to watch my football elsewhere.
7 starts, 7 sub appearances, W4 D5 L5 (4 starts, 2 sub appearances for Port Vale, W1 D0 L5)
0 goals, 1 assist (Reading H)
2 yellow cards (foul, encroachment)
2 LFW MOTM Awards (Blackburn H, Forest A)
LFW Ratings – 6, 6, 7, 7, 5, 6, 7, 5, 7, 7, 6, 6, 6, 6 = 6.21
Interactive Ratings – 6.17
0 Supporter MOTM Awards
40 – Idrissa Sylla B
A few goals-per-appearances stats from some of the more expensive and/or sought after Championship strikers this season for you: Jordan Rhodes, 3 in 20; Fernando Forestieri, 12 in 37, Steven Fletcher, 11 in 41; Jordan Ayew, 3 in 22; Ross McCormack, 4 in 29; Ayoze Perez 12 in 42; Aleksander Mitrovic, 6 in 29; Sam Baldock, 12 in 34; Sone Aluko, 9 in 50; Chris Martin, 11 in 33; Matej Vydra, 5 in 36.
And then there’s Idrissa Sylla, speaking no English, playing in this country for the first time, playing in a poor team which we’ve already said repeatedly provides lousy service to its strikers, adapting to the Championship, moving cities etc etc bagging 10 goals from 15 starts and 18 sub appearances. Opta’s Jack Supple kindly looked into this for us late last night and of the regular Championship starters (which rules out Newcastle’s Daryl Murphy) and scorers (five or more) Sylla sits sixth in the whole division for goals per minute – Dwight Gayle scored a goal every 93 minutes, Oliviera at Norwich one every 127, Britt Assombalonga notched every 130 minutes on the field, Chris Wood one every 134 minutes and Jota at Brentford one every 142 – then it’s Sylla scoring a goal every 148 minutes.
And yet nobody much rates him and Ian Holloway seems absolutely determined to throw him under every bus that drives past.
There is a degree of ‘you can prove anything with statistics’ about this. Sylla is, kindly put, not a technically proficient footballer – I don’t think I’ll ever forget his very first touch for the club, just after he’d come on as a late substitute in a 1-1 draw at home to Blackburn, where an attempt at controlling the ball inadvertently sent it flying 20 yards back towards our own penalty box causing the sort of panic usually only reserved for when Asda bring out the discounted meat. Nor, despite his impressive numbers, is he adverse to missing the odd absolute sitter – one from a yard at the near post at home to Brighton from a great Ryan Manning assist stands out, probably because it denied us the point we deserved from the game. And there have been times when he just didn’t look like he gave much of a toss, notably at home to Sheff Wed - although he did score that bizarre ghost goal in that one. The look on his face, and his subsequent insipid performance, when Ian Holloway decided he was the man to face the last 20 minutes in a typhoon at Preston North End enforced all manner of English football’s favourite stereotypes. His half arsed effort as a substitute at Ipswich was lamentable.
But here he is scoring goals regularly. Sometimes he arrives nicely timed at the near post (as he did for goals against Bristol City and Barnsley at home, although the latter went down as an og) and sometimes he sneaks in late at the far post (Birmingham A, Fulham A). Despite his many limitations, he seems to have that nose for where to be in the penalty box, and although we haven’t seen it often enough he showed in the Sunderland cup game that his target man play and game with his back to goal is superior to Matt Smith’s. As mentioned higher up, Conor Washington gets a very easy time of things despite a goal scoring record Danny Shittu would consider inadequate, and people still give Jamie Mackie a free pass, but nobody seems that sure about Sylla who’s already scored more QPR goals than Washington has managed in nearly three times as many games.
Not least Ian Holloway, who I think has been bang out of order with Sylla on a few occasions this season. Castigating him for having a strop when being taken off at Reading was maybe fair enough – Holloway is all about the collective, the team spirit, doesn’t like egos and people giving it the big I am and we can all support and understand that I think. But when he’s saying in press conferences “I want the French lads to run about a bit more” and then coming out at the end of the season and saying he had to persuade Sylla to sit on the bench for the Forest game when he didn’t think he as fit, immediately planting the seed in supporters’ minds that Sylla doesn’t fancy it when in fact Marc Bircham admitted at the live podcast Sylla had been playing games prior to that with a painkilling injection in his back (rather him than me) it’s unhelpful and unfair. Unfair because it’s unfair, and unhelpful because whether Holloway thinks he’s good enough or not, wants to keep him or not, it’s still a club asset you’re devaluing. Harry Redknapp did this, in much more justified circumstances, with Jose Bosingwa and while everybody was very pleased about that it doesn’t help when you want to get rid of the player, either now because you don’t like him or later for a profit, if the manager has been publicly running him into the ground.
Now as I’ve said multiple times, we don’t work with them every day, we don’t go to training, we don’t know them personally. Maybe Idrissa Sylla is a disruptive knobrocket down at Harlington. But imagine the excitement and hype last summer if QPR had spent £12m Ross McCormack, or £8m on Jordan Rhodes, or £12m on Scott Hogan in January. None of them have scored as many as Sylla, who arrived from Anderlecht for £1m, since their moves.
I agree that in this division you need a core of British players and you need a core of players who know about and understand the club, and there’s been all manner of horror stories at QPR under Paladini, Rotherham and Port Vale recently, where clubs have thought they can take a short cut by stocking up on cheap punts from Scotland or abroad. But that doesn’t preclude players from elsewhere full stop and there’s a fine line between Championship pragmatism and little Englander small mindedness which I think management has, on occasions, with Sylla, overstepped this season.
The fact is if you want a good, proven, ‘name’, British striker in the Championship at the moment you have to pay more than QPR can afford. Villa and Newcastle have inflated that to absolutely ludicrous levels and Derby paid nearly £10m for Vydra who scored five times. If Holloway and/or supporters think Sylla isn’t good enough and needs to be replaced with a proven Championship striker they’re dreaming – we can’t afford one. The other fact is, whether his English is good enough to understand the wisdom Holloway and Bircham want to impart onto him or not, the £1m bargain bucket African we picked up from Anderlecht has outscored almost all of the players other clubs paid astronomical money for. He accomplished that in a poor team, which provides its strikers with shit service, in his first year in the country, in his first year of Championship football, while being bounced in and out of the team, and while having his manager publicly slagging him off.
He may turn out to be shit but QPR’s finances are forcing them to look for transfers like this more often whether we like it or not and so far he’s been a success story. He deserves far more respect than he’s getting at the moment in my opinion.
15 starts, 18 sub appearances, W10 D6 L16
10 goals (Huddersfield A, Fulham A, Bristol City H, Forest A, Wolves A, Ipswich H, Birmingham A, Barnsley H, Bristol City A, Sheff Wed H) 1 assist (Rotherham H)
6 yellow cards (Unsporting, dissent, over celebrating, dissent, deliberate handball, foul)
2 LFW MOTM Awards (Huddersfield A, Sunderland H)
LFW Ratings – -, 6, 7, 7, 7, 7, 5, 7, 6, 4, 7, -, 4, 5, 6, 5, 8, 7, 7, 7, 4, -, 6, 5, 7, 6, 6, -, 5, 5, 6, 5, 6 = 5.96
Interactive Ratings – 5.70
0 Supporter MOTM Awards
In further ‘if it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck’ news, Kazenga Lua Lua (2 starts, 9 sub apps, 1 goal, W3 D2 L6) turned up on loan having been injured for the previous 18 months at Brighton and lo and behold spent the majority of his time at QPR injured as well - one eye-catching goal at Preston apart.
Nasser El Khayati (4 starts, 5 subs, W3 D3 L3) got a nice assist for Sylla’s equaliser at Nottingham Forest (yet another example of how dangerous we can be when we get it wide and cross it) but overall looked like one of those annoying Soccer AM showboat types who turns up for your Sunday League team as a ringer recommended by a friend who says he’s amazing for the work 5-a-side team but actually it turns out can’t play 11-a-side football.
Presumably the hope was Reece Grego-Cox would go out on loan and get a good number of games under his belt this season but his knee exploded early in his stint at Newport County so it seems reasonable to give him a one year extension and try that again next season.
Eberichi Eze unfortunately turned his ankle within minutes of starting for the first time against Blackburn in the FA Cup but he’s one of three or four kids who came on strong in the Under 23s towards the end of the season and may have something about him.
The Twitter @loftforwords
Pictures – Action Images
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Guidolin and Conte- An Italian Managerial Head to Head by BarneyLW
A different league in a different country for two familiar foes; on Sunday Francesco Guidolin's Swansea host Antonio Conte's Chelsea side. So how does the head to head record look from their previous encounters in Italy?
The Mood: What's going on at Swansea City? by BarneyLW
There is nothing new or indeed out of the ordinary with a defeat being met by raucous displeasure among the Jack Army. There is nothing particularly new about a hyperbolic spread of opinion in where things should be going better, or if things really are that bad at all. But there is a strange feeling around Swansea City at the moment.
Queens Park Rangers Polls