QPR: A collection of out of sorts individuals.
In a wave of optimism, I wrote on here last week that the key to QPR’s survival would be the ‘5 game plan’. Wins in all five of their remaining games would see a Michael Scholfield like escape from the dreaded drop, and ensure another season of Premier League football at Loftus Road. Well, it took one game of that five for the plan to all go up in smoke, as Rangers once again proved that they are just not good enough to survive in the top flight this season.
They couldn’t have asked for better opponents in Stoke, who had only one win to their name since the turn of the year, and looked to be in freefall. However, as QPR have done repeatedly over this season they failed to get the job done, and now look like dropping out of the Premier League with a whimper. Once again it was QPR who started the brighter, with Loic Remy and Adel Taraabt looking lively, but as soon as Peter Crouch put the visitors in the lead just before half-time the result was never in doubt.
From that point on you can cut and paste pretty much everything from 90% of Rangers match reports this season to sum up the second half. ‘Toothless’, ‘lack of effort’, ‘misplaced pass’ and ‘individuals’, any of the above would do fine, as Harry Redknapp’s side never looked like getting back into the game. And I think now the vast majority just want this nightmare season to end, so Rangers with or without Redknapp can regroup next season, and try to start all over again in terms of becoming a Premier League football club.
It’s hard to single out blame to one person as Rangers have pretty much been an A-Z of what not do for a promoted Premier League club, since their promotion in 2011. Mark Hughes will get a large proportion of it, due to his reckless summer activity that saw the wrong type of player attracted to W12 along with his own limitations as manager. Then there’s his signings, who most agree have not worked out and not been right for Queens Park Rangers this season. The board will also be aware that some blame has to be pointed at them due to some naivety with the chequebook especially in the summer. Fingers can even be pointed at Redknapp, who hasn’t managed to work his magic on the rag-tag squad he inherited – but the problems were far too deep routed before he even arrived.
Rag-tag is a good word to use too, because at no point this season has Hughes or Harry be able to select an eleven who they would call their best XI. That’s more of a criticism at Hughes, who had the summer to build his own side, but failed to buy the winning formula despite recruiting an entire new team of players. Redknapp has therefore never found the right blends in his spell at the club, never more evident than on Saturday when there were ‘out of nowhere’ recalls for Shaun Derry, Rob Green and even Ben Tal-Haim. Despite constant investment in the team through transfer window after transfer window, there are still too many ‘groups’ of players and none of which have never really been molded into an actual team. Whether it be Neil Warnock’s Championship troopers like Derry, Clint Hill and Jamie Mackie or Hughes Champions League winning additions that have never quite worked out – we’re looking at you Mr Bosingwa and Mr Park.
That has been one of many problems at Loftus Road next season, and the problems will only continue through an uncertain summer, both in the dugout and around the playing staff. If Tony Fernandes and Philip Beard do have a contingency plan as they’ve said throughout this campaign, it’s now time to put it into action. Because after old boy Crouchy and his Stoke pals bested Rangers on Saturday, their Premier League lives are almost, almost up.