QPR v Burnley: Richard Dunne – A Lion Amongst Men

Team: Green, Isla, Dunne, Caulker, Suk-Young, Vargas (Mutch), Barton, Henry, Fer (Phillips), Zamora (Kranjcar), Austin.

Subs Not Used: McCarthy, Ferdinand, Onuoha, Hoilett.

Attendance: 17,785 (including 1,583 Burnley fans)

I was not Richard Dunne’s biggest fan when he arrived at the club, but I’m more than happy to be proved wrong.

On Saturday, at more than one stage, he was struggling for pace, however, he made up for it big style. His timing, tackling, vision, reading of the game, moreover, his heart – he doesn’t know when he’s beat, is second to none at this level.

Unusually, not a mercenary, who gives his all, and more, how refreshing is that! Man of the Match, an understatement.

Jimmy Murray

I thought Dunne was brilliant on Saturday and I agree that he is influencing all around him. We look so much better in defence now,

Also thought that the Vargas/Isla understanding is getting better with every game and our second goal was quite superb with a great cross-field ball from Niko Kranjcar killed dead by Isla to set it up.

We just need to have a Charlie Mk2 to cover in January. You can blame me for his sending off as a couple of minutes before it happened I turned to Kerrins and said: “I don’t know what we will do if he ever gets red carded or injured!”


qpr v burnley 2014
The Armageddon Index, which counts the cost of relegation from the Premier League, shifted significantly as Charlie Austin, the embodiment of Burnley’s unequal struggle to survive, dominated a match of suitable poignant contrasts.

His impact was compressed into a four-minute sequence in the second-half, when his fifth goal in four home games was sandwiched between two yellow cards, for challenges which led to Harry Redknapp’s ritual insistence he is “not a nasty type of player”.

Austin was reluctantly sold by Burnley for £4m at the start of last season, and financial expedience means he will be discarded, for a suitable profit, if Rangers go down to face potentially ruinous sanctions for defying financial fair play restrictions.

That remains a realistic possibility, despite a win which lifts them out of the bottom three for the first time since September. It is a little early for their supporters to indulge in the sort of turf war which prompted chants of “West London is Ours” in response to Chelsea’s defeat in the day’s early kick-off.

Burnley were by far the better side in the first-half, when Robert Green’s fingertip saves from George Boyd and Scott Arfield left Redknapp eulogising “a great keeper, a great pro and a fantastic person.”

Purists will inevitably yearn for the Clarets survival. They are a club which mirrors old fashioned values, and represents a small but perfectly formed football town. The players are routinely patronised, as earnest and defiant in the face of assumptions of inferiority, but their qualities have real resonance.

“This is a group which was written off an hour after getting promotion,” reflected their manager, Sean Dyche.

“The perception is changing. There is an honesty about us. We’re not broken. We can take a knock and come back again.”

Only a fool, or a casual observer, would judge Dyche by appearances. The gravelly voice, severe haircut and taut Sergeant Major shoulders disguise a man enriched by adversity, both as a player and manager.

He is lucid but realistic, friendly rather than forbidding. He looks beyond the everyday dramas of the Premier League circus, and focuses on the basics. The contrast with his opposite number Redknapp was marked.

The QPR manager has the air of a tired old Vaudevillian, shivering in the wind of change. His patter remains word perfect, but the body language speaks of world weariness. He was barely animated, even when Rangers took a 51st minute lead.

Austin was the architect of the goal, exchanging passes with Bobby Zamora before setting up Leroy Fer, whose shot flicked off Ben Mee, sliding in to cover, and over goalkeeper Tom Heaton. Redknapp barely bothered to applaud before turning back to the dugout.

The differences between the clubs extend to expectations. Dyche understands the logical consequences of budgetary restrictions in a world of conspicuous consumption, but resists the laws of probability. He will eke out the resources allocated to him, however meagre in relative terms.
Redknapp, on the other hand, still suggests it is business as usual. He spoke afterwards of using the January transfer window to “strengthen in one or two areas and give ourselves a real chance”.

An improvement in their away form – they have scored only two goals and have secured no points – is essential.

Loftus Road is not Quality Street. QPR were especially guilty of wasting possession, passing with such a lack of precision it was if they were blindfolded. They had due cause to be grateful to Green and Richard Dunne.

The old school central defender, who deflected Boyd’s driven cross away from Danny Ings, unmarked and waiting to apply the finishing touch for an equaliser at the far post, was ideally suited to the rear-guard action required after Austin’s dismissal.

Booked for an initial lunge at Kieran Trippier, the striker left referee Jon Moss with little alternative when he caught Michael Keane with a flailing arm. That was just two minutes after his calm close range finish, following clever interplay on the right between Mauricio Isla and Eduardo Vargas, had appeared to make the game safe,

His Premier League future is secure, whatever fate has in store for his past and present employers.

Michael Calvin – The Independent

Just ahead of the kick-off, players from both sides commemorated together the 1914 Christmas Truce football match when British and German soldiers played football in No Man’s Land.

Robert Green continued where he had left off at Swansea, with a number of outstanding saves. One he somehow finger-tipped onto the post and another headed for safety after the ball had hit him full in the face.

However, the Man-of-the Match award must go to Richard Dunne for an amazing performance hailed by Harry Redknapp and Rangers fans alike.

Steve Russell