|Queens Park Rangers 1 v 0 Leeds United|
Tuesday, 26th February 2019 Kick-off 19:45
QPR desperate to end rotten run - Preview
Tuesday, 26th Feb 2019 11:09 by Clive Whittingham
Queens Park Rangers, with seven straight league defeats to their name for the first time since 1996, are desperate for a change in fortunes against high-flying Leeds at Loftus Road tonight.
QPR (11-6-16, WLLLLL, 18th) v Leeds (19-7-7, LWLDWW, 3rd)
Lancashire and District Senior League >>> Tuesday February 26, 2019 >>> Kick off 19.45 >>> Weather – Scorchio >>> Loftus Road, London, W12
Ok it’s like that is it? Well fine. I suppose if we’re going to do it we may as well do it properly hadn’t we? What’s the club record, nine in a row? Let’s go for that, at least have something to show for all this abject misery. Sealed by a goal off Keith Stroud’s arse to complete a Brentford comeback from three goals down to win 4-3 in the last minute on Saturday. Just keep bringing it, I’m numb to it now anyway.
Leeds United tonight it says here. Third. I wonder what wonderous delights lie in store for us with this one? Will it be one of those Birmingham/Preston types where we just get the whole thing hopelessly wrong from the start and Leeds march right through the middle of us carrying Patrick Bamford aloft like King Julien in Madagascar? Will it be one of those where we pour our heart and soul into it, lose our best player to injury after we’ve made all three subs and then concede with the last kick of the match from a player who should have been sent off ten minutes prior? Will it be one of those where we doggedly and stoically defend for a point right down to the death and then get done up the bum by the referee? Or will it be one of those like Saturday at Middlesbrough where we barely turn up at all? Will we concede in the first minute or the last second? We’ve developed a taste for both. Hooch for a pound and wonderbras get in free. It’s exciting. I’m staying out of it.
Having tried to seek out the positives on Friday, and then driven all the way up to Middlesbrough on Saturday, there was precisely nothing to take from that performance by way of comfort. Bar Bright Osayi-Samuel in the second half and an improved showing from Ebere Eze, not a single QPR player could emerge from that game with any shred of credit. Joe Lumley all over the place, conceding two pathetic goals; Darnell Furlong backing off his man like he was fresh back from the Zesh Rehman half term soccer school; both centre halves as slow as rust; Jake Bidwell exposed and below par; Pawel Wszolek on the down slope of his frustrating peaks and troughs; two central midfielders outnumbered, overpowered and outclassed by Boro’s middle three; Ryan Manning tracking runners in a manner we’ve come to associate with Shaun Wright-Phillips; Tomer Hemed barely a rumour up front and all set up in a bog standard formation from the Big Ladybird Book of Football that played right into the hands of a physical, disciplined Middlesbrough team. Nobody keeps losing forever and ever, this will turn eventually, but not playing like that. We wouldn’t even be able to beat ourselves playing like that. And everybody beats us.
Priority one tonight surely has to be to try and keep it tight early. Against West Brom and Middlesbrough we conceded defensively shambolic goals basically from the kick off, putting us on the back foot immediately and further eroding already shattered confidence. Just try and get a bit of controlled possession, and try to disrupt their attempts to do the same by putting the odd tackle in (witchcraft, I know). Get back into that 4-2-3-1 formation that provides the protection this defence sorely needs as well as the extra man in midfield so we’re not as wide open as we were on Saturday. Just try and do some of the obvious stuff. Heading, tackling, passing, second balls, tracking runners, not falling over. Luck will turn, results will turn, but not if we’re not even doing the fundamental basics of the sport as was the case on Saturday.
The supporters, by and large, seem to be taking this very well. The support in the second half at the Riverside Stadium was non-stop, absolutely brilliant, and the players got clapped off at the end. There’s resignation in the air at home, where the first half hour of the West Brom game was played out in complete silence, and gallows humour aplenty among the away faithful. But there’s none of the anger that went Ian Holloway’s way during his spell in charge, and absolutely nothing like the bile and vitriol that went Chris Ramsey’s way when he was manager here. That’s partly down to the league table, which shows us still well clear of the bottom three despite seven defeats in a row; partly because I think most people empathise with the situation and the factors that are causing it; and partly because I think we’re just all far too used to it by now. Up to but not including Saturday you couldn’t accuse the players of not trying, of not giving their best, and the fans at the games, if not online, seem to recognise that losing our shit with them won’t help matters. I do wonder how long that will continue and how thin that patience may wear if we get off to yet another bad start tonight though.
It's a tough game, approached with plenty of fear and trepidation.
And I’ve had the theme tune from Muppet Babies in my head all morning.
Geoff Cameron Facts #30 – Geoff once challenged Graeme Souness to a ‘who has more testicles’ competition and won by five.
Team News: QPR will be desperate to get star man Luke Freeman back after he missed the Middlesbrough trip with the hip flexor injury he picked up late in the West Brom defeat. Geoff Cameron and Angel Rangel both remain sidelined long term but Tomer Hemed came through his first start since October unscathed – mainly because he didn’t do much moving about. Bright Osayi-Samuel is pushing for a start after an impressive showing off the bench at the Riverside Stadium.
Leeds have maintained their promotion push this season despite a catalogue of injuries to key players. Promising youngster Jack Clarke passed out on the bench of the recent draw at Middlesbrough to add to a list that already includes Adam Forshaw (ringworm), Barry Douglas (excessive body odour), Gaetano Berardi (low sperm count), and Kemar Roofe (unibrow). As he did for the cup game in January, Marshmellow Bielsa has named his starting 11 already and Leeds will line up thusly: Casila; Ayling, Jansson, Cooper, Alioski; Phillips, Klich; Hernandez, Roberts, Harrison; Bamford.
Elsewhere: Just the four matches tonight as teams catch up with the games in hand picked up on FA Cup fourth round weekend. There’s an exciting game between two teams beginning with B as Bristol City play Birmingham, a long trip north for the Millwall Scholars to face Allam Tigers and Sheffield Owls facing the monumental task of overcoming Spartak Hounslow at Hillsborough. Despite winning only once away from home all season, I strongly suspect they’ll be the best team the Owls have faced all season.
Referee: Andy Davies has been quite nice to us in the past, maybe he’d like to go in goal? Details.
QPR: The numbers just keep stacking up for QPR who have now lost seven league games in a row for the first time since 1996 – though that run, like this one, was interrupted by a cup win. Rangers have conceded 18 goals across those seven games which is problem number one, and scored just eight which is problem number two. Our stats man Jack Supple informs me the R’s last lost eight in a row back in December 1990 during that famous injury crisis when Don Howe was in charge, and the club record is nine in a row set in 1968/69. Three of the defeats in this run have come at Loftus Road against Preston, Birmingham and West Brom – QPR have conceded 11 goals across those three games.
Leeds: Marcelo Bielsa’s team are third going into tonight’s game on 64 points, behind Sheff Utd on goal difference and leaders Norwich on 66. This is a game in hand on both those teams and Leeds will go back on top if they win it. They’ve been in patchy form since Christmas with four wins, four losses and a draw in all competitions but they arrive at Loftus Road having won the last two at home to Swansea and Bolton – both 2-1. Away from home they’ve lost three and drawn one of the last five, including the FA Cup loss on this ground at the start of January. Overall on the road this season they have eight wins, four draws and four defeats with the losses coming at Blackburn, West Brom, Forest and Stoke. Kemar Roofe’s absence is good news for Rangers – he’s scored six times in his last three appearances against the R’s including a hat trick in this fixture last season.
Prediction: The winner of our Prediction League this year gets goodies from our generous sponsor Art of Football. Get involved by lodging your prediction here or sample the merch from our sponsor’s QPR collection here. Reigning champion Elliott was spot on on Saturday and tonight he tells us…
“I’m struggling to find anything positive to say in these brief previews so I take my hat off to you Clive for the content at the moment. Seven league loses on the bounce and we’ve got Leeds and Brentford to come. The only positive at the moment is that our current form is making it much easier to be able to predict the results. However, call me brave, call me mad, call me stupid... I’m going for us to win Tuesday night.”
Elliott’s Prediction: QPR 2-1 Leeds. Scorer – Ebere Eze
LFW’s Prediction: QPR 0-3 Leeds. No scorer.
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Pictures – Action Images
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