Team: Green, Traore, Nelsen, Hill, Onuoha, Mbia, Faurlin, Wright-Phillips (Fabio), Mackie, Taarabt, Cisse (Ferdinand)
Subs Not Used: Cesar, Diakite, Derry, Granero, Hoilett
I think that most of us over the years have said that once Adel plays with his head in the right place he is virtually unplayable, and he is. He cut Fulham to bits with his craft and vision. There is one side of his game that no one talks about and what was clear on Saturday was his strength. Sidwell was told to take him apart and the more he fouled him the more Adel made him look stupid. How on earth Sidwell stayed on the pitch I do not know, he really was shocking.
The other key to the game was our link-up play. Our full-backs worked hard and Hill and Nelsen did what is the hardest for any defence and that is doing the simple stuff well. They were rocks at the back for us. Well done Ale Faurlin and a great display by the team.
“Harry Redknapp’s Blue and White Army”, sang delighted home fans, and maybe the manager can yet save Queen’s Park Rangers after two goals from Adel Taarabt lifted them off the bottom for the first time this season. QPR moved above Reading into 19th after their first win in 17 attempts this season, thus avoiding the fate of making the worst start in the top flight for 109 years.
And the unlikely hero was Taarabt, who was superb from start to finish, driving his team-mates forward, and scoring the crucial goals that could go a long way towards ensuring survival. Redknapp had stressed the importance of keeping in touch with the teams above them, and QPR are now only five points short of the safety zone.
Redknapp has avoided relegation before, notably with Portsmouth, and also took Tottenham from the bottom to mid-table after taking over but, if he can keep QPR in the Premier League it would be his greatest escape yet. And who would have thought Taarabt would play such a pivotal role ?
QPR could have scored as early as the sixth minute when Jamie Mackie was put in on goal by a horrible back-pass from John Arne Riise, but he put his shot wide of the far post as Mark Schwarzer ran off his line to narrow the angle. Taarabt went close with a couple of vicious efforts from long range, before finally breaking the deadlock seven minutes into the second-half.
It took a huge slice of luck and a big deflection off Brede Hangeland to beat Schwarzer. Taarabt received the ball with his back to goal, 35 yards out, drove on and took aim from outside the penalty area. Schwarzer looked to have the ball covered until it hit Hangeland’s shin and changed direction, wrong-footing the Australian goalkeeper. Taarabt celebrated wildly, getting booked for his efforts, but the goal brought the game – and the home supporters – to life.
Djibril Cisse curled a shot just wide of the far post on the hour before Taarabt scored again, running at the Fulham defence in the 68th minute before curling a shot into the far corner of the goal with the outside of his boot.
“Taarabt was amazing,” said Redknapp. “He has fantastic ability and talent, and today I decided to play him in the hole behind the front man. Every time he got the ball, Fulham were in trouble.”
Fulham were a shadow of the side who beat Newcastle last Monday. “Too many players were not there today,” said Martin Jol. “We were too static.” His side finally found the net when substitute Mladen Petric shot into the far corner in the 88th minute to set up a tense finale. Schwarzer made a superb save to keep out Cisse’s header, while Robert Green saved from Petric in the dying seconds. Moments later, Loftus Road was in raptures as QPR supporters celebrated their first win of the season – and a precious three points.
“We deserved it and it would have been a travesty if we hadn’t won,” said Redknapp, who has masterminded three draws and a win since taking over last month. “If we get six points from every four games we will stay up.” But they will be without Taarabt if he is called up for next month’s African Cup of Nations. “There is nothing we can do about it if he is selected,” added the manager.
Gerry Cox – The Telegraph
I thought that Adel came into his own on Saturday, a player in a struggling side who dominated. We took a chance on bringing him to the club and he has proved to be good business on the pitch, but no doubt he is now attracting the so called “big clubs”.
Still young, still learning and still has his faults. He will throw his toys out the pram when it goes pear-shaped, but has more than an abundance of talent. His work rate has improved no end and he is a joy to watch. For me he is what the game is all about. Mercurial ? A word I only associate with Sir Rodney Marsh and Sir Stanley Bowles, that said, he’s getting very close.
In my opinion Adel’s performance was the best performance of its kind by an R’s player for years with his flair, his vision, his goals and at times his audacity. How many times did Sidwell foul him ? How much better can he get ? He has weaved his magic to a new level this season when others around him have been low in confidence or quite frankly not even bothered !
The final score flattered the visitors and despite scoring near the end they hardly threatened. We looked like a team (at last) and everyone worked very hard. Obviously there is still a long way to go, but that win took us off the bottom and given us renewed hope.
(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)