QPR v Manchester City – Rangers Full-On and at High-Tempo (Amen to that)

Team: Green, Isla, Dunne, Caulker, Suk-Young, Vargas, Henry, Fer, Sandro (Barton), Zamora, Austin

Subs Not Used: McCarthy, Hill, Onuoha, Phillips, Hoilett, Kranjcar

Attendance: 18,005

From a cracking atmosphere at HQ, we almost got what we deserved, despite the refereethat’s another story!

A very decent display from all the players who gave it their all.it’s all I ever want. Certainly none of them disgraced themselves against some top quality players. Indeed, the difference between the two sides was a certain Mr Aguero who was a threat throughout, scored two goals with a helping hand for the first one!

Some good partnerships are now flourishing; Zamora/Austin, Isla/Vargas, Henry/Sandro, Dunne/Caulker, although Nedum Onuoha must surely be a candidate.

It was also a strong bench, and a result that should breed confidence at every level throughout the club.

As the fixture list starts to look somewhat kinder, it’s imperative that the players keep up this level of commitment. We should have no fear, the future looks bright, the future looks blue and white.

Jimmy Murray

Once more it was Sergio Aguero against Queen’s Park Rangers. There may not have been a Premier League title at stake this time, but just as in 2012, the only thing separating Manchester City from disaster was Aguero’s utter refusal to acquiesce to it. His two goals, one in each half, redeemed a City performance that had been thoroughly inadequate throughout.

At full-time, Aguero shared a handshake with his opposite number, Charlie Austin. Perhaps they shared a moment as well. This was a game that had been defined by their will, and both were ultimately able to leave the pitch with their heads held high. Few of Aguero’s team-mates could say the same.

QPR were simply the superior side in so many ways: Harry Redknapp’s strategy was more effective than Manuel Pellegrini’s, their midfield more energetic. They played with speed and verve and gumption and courage, all the things that have quietly and mysteriously disappeared from City’s play in recent weeks.

For hours before the game, the Loftus Road pitch had been pelted by a torrential rainstorm, greasing the turf, adding just a little extra spice to every pass and tackle. Redknapp went with 4-4-2, which he does not do so often these days. Instead he tends to save it for special occasions, like a bottle of particularly strong brandy. And against a City defence missing the injured Vincent Kompany, and often lacking sufficient cover, the twin threats of Austin and Bobby Zamora wreaked havoc.

QPR even suffered the rare fate of having two goals disallowed in the space of about 30 seconds. First Austin, several yards offside, headed in a cross from Eduardo Vargas. Then, as Joe Hart tried to take the free kick short with his right foot, he accidently nudged the ball with his left. It was the sort of error that would be greeted by derisory laughter in the playground, never mind the Premier League. Austin’s goal was ruled out only because technically, Hart’s gaffe counted as a double-touch, rendering the free kick illegal.

City failed to heed those early warnings, which rather epitomised an opening half-hour in which they were in most respects utterly shambolic, unable to pass the ball over any distance. Yaya Toure sprayed the ball straight out of play. Sandro’s volley was blocked by what looked suspiciously like Gael Clichy’s hand.

Remember that slippery turf? In the 20th minute, as Mauricio Isla shuffled up the right-wing, Clichy went sprawling on it at just the wrong moment, allowing Isla a free run at goal. His pass found Austin 12 yards out, and having had plenty of practice, he was not going to miss the net this time. It was his sixth league goal of the season.

QPR were the better side by a distance, better tactics, better passing, better tackling, more desire. And yet, against all of this: Aguero.

Aguero is one of those players with absolutely zero regard for the narrative thread of a game. Eliaquim Mangala’s high, hopeful ball over the top of the QPR defence looked utterly aimless. And yet with Aguero, no cause is ever quite lost. Aguero brought the ball down brilliantly, sticking out his big toenail and gathering it in effortlessly.

He turned inside Steven Caulker, although not without a suspicion of handball. At this point, most strikers would still have a lot to do, but there is a certain inevitability to Aguero in this form, like the plot of a particularly formulaic Hollywood blockbuster. The power of his shot is extraordinary. Robert Green knew where it was going, knew he could do nothing.

And then, as if Aguero’s goal had never happened, QPR poured forward again. Hart saved from Austin twice from close range, the second time after a calamitous mistake by Fernando early in the second-half, substitute Joey Barton – one of those players you forget is occasionally good at football – played a wonderful through ball into the path of Zamora, whose cross to an unmarked Austin lacked weight.

QPR had thrown everything at City. They had put the ball in the net three times. They had gone close on numerous occasions. They had out-thought and out-fought the champions, and yet they were only level. It would have been easy for the home side to retreat, to allow natural gravity to re-assert itself. Yet still they poured forward. Their second goal may have been a freak, but it was no fluke.

It was a perfect example of wanting it more. Zamora sprinted forward, desperate to get into the area. Clichy held back, not desperate enough to stop Austin’s cross. Zamora leapt, but the final touch actually came off Martin Demichelis, a deserved own-goal, insofar as such a thing is possible.

QPR had 15 minutes to hold on, but just as the finish line hovered into view, nerves began to take hold. Barton’s suicidal header back to the goalkeeper was intercepted by Aguero, who rounded Green and shot from a narrow angle. Richard Dunne cleared off the line.

Then, with seven minutes remaining, QPR were undone with the oldest trick in the book. A huge, cloud-raking long ball from Toure that bisected the QPR defence perfectly, putting Aguero clean through. Dunne tripped over Green in the scramble to cover, Aguero’s was the only clear head in the area. He switched back onto his left foot and curled the ball into an empty net. Finally, gravity had won.

Jonathan Liew – The Telegraph

Rangers played some of the best football I have seen them play for ages, Loftus Road was rocking and having come to terms with the fact that we were denied all three points, there later, on Match of the Day, Phil Neville one of television’s so called pundits, glossed over Aguero’s first goal and had the audacity to say (with a smile on his face), something like that it was a little bit offside and there was a little bit of a handball!!!!

Getting the ball in the City net twice in little more than 30 seconds was remarkable enough, but I have never seen anything like the incident which denied us on the second occasion!!!

Good to see Simon Barker interviewed on the pitch at half-time but Rodney Marsh had disappeared for some reason?

Since the low point of the West Ham game, has Les Ferdinand already help transform the team I wonder? And it’s been reported that Richard Dunne has urged his team-mates to continue with the high-tempo style. It’s been long overdue, but Amen to that!

Steve Russell