QPR v Everton – Once Again We Gave Away a Soft Goal and Ran Out of Ideas in the Final Third

Team: Cesar, Traore (Onuoha), Mbia, Nelsen (Ferdinand), Bosingwa, Diakite, Park, Taarabt, Granero, Hoilett, Zamora (Cisse)

Subs Not Used: Green, Faurlin, Mackie, Wright-Phillips

Attendance: 17,959

When I saw the team sheet and subsequent bench, I thought it looked a very decent side, however, once again there too many players who didn’t perform.

Zamora…not only did he rarely win a ball in the air, but he could hardly stand up…nice boots…shame about the suds.

Park…works hard, but not near strong enough on the ball, consistently fails to move the ball forward, and is far too comfortable giving square or back passes.

Bosingwa…yet to be convinced and surely we can find a place for Faurlin.

On the plus side, thought Mbia was outstanding as was Granero with Nelsen, Diakite, Hoilett and Traore putting in good shifts, whilst Adel occupied 2/3 players throughout the game.

We had a massive opportunity to take all 3 points, but simply weren’t good enough. Once again we gave away a soft goal and ran out of ideas in the final third.

I think Mark Hughes is on the right track, but is rapidly running out of time.

Jimmy Murray

I felt that we played a lot better, but one thing did stand out for me, we still need a good centre forward. How many shots did Bobby Zamora have, I think it was just the one ? Yes he was a handful for their back-four, but he was constantly beaten in the air.

We did play some great stuff at times and make no mistake Everton are a good side. The referee cost us a stonewall penalty, the keeper should of been booked for time wasting and the lino got so many things wrong it was unbelievable.

I thought Nelsen was outstanding, shame he took a knock and had to go off. And Hoilett, great signing, I love watching him go on the attack. Cesar’s fault for the goal coupled with bad marking again. That’s five goals in the last three games that have come in and around our six-yard box from crosses. But hey it’s a point against a side that is flying.

Wokingham R

Flick through Queens Park Rangers’ match-day programme and you will find, amongst the usual anodyne interviews and archival features, one glaring omission, namely, the Premier League table. Hardly surprising, for after missing another opportunity to record their first win of the season against 10-man Everton, they remain bottom of it, shackled yet again by a familiar vulnerability to set-pieces. In their penalty area, as in the division, their positioning leaves much to be desired.

Mark Hughes remained sanguine. He will be the last man at Loftus Road to start panicking, but the good news is that for now the players appear to be in his corner. The passing was calm and measured, the body language encouraging. This was not the performance of a team propping up the table, but then QPR are by no means the worst team in the league. All that remains is to prove it.

“It’s not falling for us at the moment, but we’ve gone up against most of the top 10 and competed,” Hughes said. “There will be a period when results go for us. We showed today that our football is good, but we haven’t been able to take that final step. It’s really frustrating.”

Once again, they were struck by the curse of the promising half-hour. Against West Ham United, it came early in the second half. Here, as against Tottenham Hotspur last month, it was at the start. A sparkling opening, illuminated by the nimble Junior Hoilett, gave way to a soft equaliser. Even before Steven Pienaar’s dismissal after an hour to tilt the game in QPR’s favour.

Everton ultimately held on with a degree of comfort. “It shows the spirit we’ve got,” said Phil Jagielka, who had an excellent game. “We’ve dug in. Once we went down to 10 men we did a very good job and limited them to very few chances.” David Moyes’s side remain fourth after this performance, a dogged rearguard in driving rain.

They might even have pinched the points on the counter-attack, or if referee Jonathan Moss had spotted Stephane Mbia’s foul on Nikica Jelavic in the penalty area. But after the same man had harshly despatched Pienaar for a second bookable offence, Everton would have taken a point.

They would certainly have taken a point after two minutes, when QPR stormed into a surprise lead. An Everton corner was cleared to Hoilett, who shrugged off Phil Neville to retain the ball and wind his way over the half-way line. Adel Taarabt made the decoy run to his left, but Hoilett only had eyes for goal. His shot was heading comfortably for Tim Howard, before nicking the heels of the covering Leighton Baines and looping in.

Such luck that can kick-start a season. For much of the first half QPR played with freedom and brio as they attempted to build on it. But gradually the visitors got a foothold in the game, with Jelavic seeing a free kick saved. The set-piece looked Everton’s likeliest source of a goal. So it proved when Everton benefited from good fortune. Pienaar’s free kick was headed towards goal by an unmarked Sylvain Distin. The ball evaded the diving Julio Cesar, kissed the post, ricocheted back off Cesar’s leg and into the bottom corner.

There were further chances at both ends. Moss waved away Jelavic’s penalty appeals. Jagielka saw a header hit the crossbar. The England defender then produced an excellent diving block to deny Ji-Sung Park at close range.

On the hour, though, the tenor of the match shifted once again. Pienaar chased down Jose Bosingwa, who darted clear. As Bosingwa pulled his foot back to cross, there was the faintest of touches on his heel. Having received an earlier yellow card for a late slide on Hoilett, Pienaar would play no further part. “Rubbish,” Moyes said of the decision, adding an assessment of the official. “He had a poor game all day.”

All the frills were abandoned in anticipation of a late QPR assault. Jelavic came off for Johnny Heitinga. Hoilett went closest to winning the game 10 minutes from time, with a delightful shimmy followed by a curling shot from 20 yards that was matched in its brilliance only by Howard’s fingertip save.

“The sending-off actually helped them,” Hughes said. “They were able to get two banks of four in and get people behind the ball to block our efforts to open them up.”

Unless his own side can match Everton’s defensive resolve, the Premier League table will continue to make for painful reading.

Jonathan Liew – The Telegraph

If you had offered me a point before the match I would have taken it, but honestly I left Loftus Road feeling worse than after the Swansea game. I’m not one to call for Mark Hughes’s head, but tactically he is beginning to become suspect.

I’ve played football at a decent standard and never ever have I seen a side lose a man with half-an-hour to go and the opposing side brings on two defenders. How can you play for a draw in a situation like that ? Fellaini didn’t play and the only other ball player got sent off. Baines was marking Taarabt so was nullified and still we bring on the two most un-achieving defenders in the league !

Junior Hoilett played well and it makes you wonder why he has been dropped at all this season ? Park runs around a lot, but what does he actually do ? Why is Ale Faurlin not getting a look in ? Taarabt played ok, but was getting marked by two players at a time which makes the substitutions seem even more confusing because another attacker could have really frustrated them.

Dan boy Allen

(The above pics were taken by Martin Percival. All rights are reserved and his photos are used by the Independent R’s with his permission)