|Queens Park Rangers 2 v 0 Peterborough United|
Tuesday, 14th August 2018 Kick-off 19:45
QPR hoping to avoid more League Cup blues - Preview
Tuesday, 14th Aug 2018 11:53 by Clive Whittingham
Having started the season with two defeats in the league, the last thing cup kings QPR really need isa talented League One team running hot in one of the knockout trophies.
QPR v Peterborough
Zenith Data Systems Cup >>> Tuesday August 14, 2018 >>> Kick Off 19.45 >>> Weather – Another lovely day >>> Loftus Road, London, W12
It was 1970 the last time QPR started a season outside the top flight with two defeats, and given that cup competitions have turned even the good teams we’ve had down here recently into quivering wrecks we’ll do well not to make it three from three tonight against Peterborough United who’ve started the season in flying form. Steve Evans lolloping over the horizon wiping the burger grease off his chin with the back of his shirt cuff not exactly what we need right now.
Even in our recent dire attempts at a Premier League return we managed to recover from a 4-0 opening day shellacking by Bolton to win 1-0 at Everton a week later, and the 5-0 humping by Swansea at the start of the 2012/13 campaign was followed by a 1-1 draw at Norwich – although we looked bloody awful getting it.
That Mark Hughes squad had issues coming out of its ears, and a management and coaching staff completely caught up in their own egos, sleepwalking into a footballing disaster from which they never once looked like knew how to solve. So, don’t get me wrong, in making the following point about defeats becoming something of a self-perpetuating thing, I’m in no way suggesting that Hughes was unlucky, that the situation was salvageable, that we really were right when we said Djibril Cisse to be Premier League top scorer at 80/1 was the bet of the century. Making out like a scrambled winner at Norwich would have settled everybody down and it could all have been fine after all would be an incredibly small hill on which to die, and we’re not going up there.
But… But, if you think back to that September, QPR actually played very well at home to Chelsea and Bobby Zamora went round the goalkeeper in the last minute and missed – 0-0 instead of 1-0. A week later at Tottenham we played excellently again, drawing compliments from the home fans for the style and performance, only to blow a 1-0 lead with two unbelievably spawny goals in two minutes on the hour and lose 2-1. Hughes, recognising the need to put a win of any sorts on the board, selected a full strength team for a midweek League Cup game against Reading and when that fell to pieces in a farcical 3-2 loss that’s when things really went into a tailspin. In the end we went 16 matches without a win to start that season and won only four matches in total out of 38.
Though the performance was poor, you could say we were unlucky to lose at Preston last week because Declan Rudd made a super save in the last minute to deny Idrissa Sylla an equaliser. Then on Saturday against Sheff Utd a better performance also ended in defeat largely thanks to poor refereeing. Different days, different keepers, different referees, different results maybe. But defeats can soon mount up, and a couple of unlucky narrow losses can quickly become a long losing run with some soul destroying thrashings along the way. We’ve seen it with this team of ours before – six match losing runs occurring three times during Ian Holloway’s time in charge, and a chronic inability to win away from home which has persisted for more than a year now.
For the sake of a young team and its confidence, what remains of Steve McClaren’s hair island, and all our sanities, let’s hope we can scrape that first win together somehow this evening. Then we can all look forward to pulling Swindon or Northampton in the Round Two draw which takes place on Thursday at 4.37am live from the billiards room in the Phuket holiday home of Carabao’s executive VP of piling kids full of sugar.
No extra time this year, straight to penalties if it’s a draw after 90.
Kevin Gallen keeps the Second Division promotion push on track with a last minute equaliser against Peterborough in a televised fixture in February 2004. Ian Holloway had rolled the dice with three substitutions on the hour, including the introduction of Tony Thorpe and Jamie Cureton, only for centre half Clarke Carlisle to get injured immediately after. With Thorpe, Cureton and Gallen joined in attack by Carlisle limping about, enough chaos was caused to plunder a later equaliser of Clive Platt’s earlier opener.
Team News: Always hard to predict what sort of team QPR will put out for these early round cup games but if I was to bet I’d say it’ll be near to full strength in the hope of securing that first win of the season. Grant Hall was speaking last week about his hopes for at least 45 minutes of action after a year out with injury but Steve McClaren didn’t seem quite so optimistic when he spoke about his chances post Sheff Utd. Young keeper Joe Lumley could well get a start ahead of first choice Matt Ingram.
Peterborough are also talking about minimal changes as they look to maintain momentum with a third straight win to start the season. Ivan Toney, a summer arrival from Newcastle, could start in attack after a bright outing as a substitute at Rochdale at the weekend. Midfielder Callum Cooke and goalkeeper Conor O’Malley are the other two who may come in.
Elsewhere: The world and his wife are in action tonight so you needn’t think we’re going to list all the games for you. We’ll just pick out where Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds (Bolton home) and Frank Lampard’s Derby (Oldham away) are for you and assume that this counts as adequate coverage of life outside The Best League In The World like everybody else. Incidentally, QPR face his wife next week and the bookies are making her marginal favourite.
Sky Sports Leeds have actually gone with Yeovil v Villa tonight, then Sunderland v Sheff Wed on Thursday, and when you look down the world’s most uninspiring cup draw it’s easy to see why they struggled to pick anything appetising. Carlisle v Blackburn has the potential to be something resembling a football match I guess – an upset, or just upsetting? It’s hard to tell. Ipswich at Exeter is a more attractive version.
Roll back the years to the happier times of 2003/04 as our old foes from the time Bristol City and Plymouth Argyle meet at Ashton Gate.
Referee: The good news just keeps on coming. Gavin Ward, whose complete loss of control of a couple of QPR games back in 2010 made him something of a cult figure among the Rangers fans (I think they said cult), is back with us for the first time in five years tonight. Goody. More details.
QPR: QPR have lost the first two league games of the season for the first time outside the top flight since 1970/71 under Les Allen. They’ll need to buck some more recent history if they’re to prevent that being three straight tomorrow night. Northampton were beaten at this stage last season prior to a 4-1 loss at home to Brentford. Rangers overcame Swindon on penalties after a 2-2 draw and beat Rochdale 2-1 the round after before bowing out to Sunderland in this competition the season before. That was the first time Rangers had reached the third round of the League Cup since being knocked out at that stage as a Premier League side by Reading in 2012 and followed three successive seasons of second round exits at the hands of Carlisle (1-2), Burton (0-1) and Swindon (0-2). It was the first time since 2009 that Rangers have made it to a third tie in this competition (Exeter 5-0, Accrington 2-1, Chelsea 1-0). They haven’t been to round four since 2008 when they beat Swindon 3-2, Carlisle 4-0, Villa 1-0 and then lost 1-0 at Man Utd. The last time Rangers were in round five was a 5-2 loss at Nottingham Forest in 1988/89, two years after they’d been beaten in the final by Oxford. An unhappy trend already being continued from last season is conceding goals immediately before or after half time – 44 on Saturday v Sheff Utd, 47 at Preston the week before. We finished last season 70 goals conceded. Of those, 28 were shipped in the ten minutes immediately before or after half time, including seven in first half stoppage time and another six in the moments immediately following the half time team talk (35, 36, 37, 38, 38, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 45, 45, 45, 45, 45, 45, 47, 47, 48, 48, 50, 50, 51, 52, 52, 54, 55, 55).
Peterborough: The Posh have started the season in fine form, with two wins and six goals to their name already. They beat Bristolk Rovers 2-1 at home on the first day, with new striker signing Matt Godden scoring within the first minute having arrived from Stevenage over the summer. Godden scored again in the 4-1 weekend win at Rochdale. They lost 3-1 to League Two side Barnet at home in this round last year – Barnet went on to be relegated to the Conference – having been put out at the second stage by Premier League Swansea the season before. They last got to round three in 2013 before losing to then-Premier League Sunderland and haven’t made round four since 2009 when they beat Wycombe, Ipswich and then Newcastle before losing 5-2 at Blackburn. Their best ever season in this competition was a run to the semi-finals in 1965/66.
Prediction: I don’t want to be a proper misery about this but we regularly balls this sort of cup game up against properly awful teams and Peterborough actually look half decent this season so it’s difficult to be too hopeful isn’t it?
LFW’s Prediction: QPR 0-2 Peterborough. No Scorer.
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