Team: Green, Onuoha (Furlong), Hill, Phillips (Hoilett), Chery (Doughty), Gladwin (Emmanuel-Thomas), Polter (Blackwood), Faurlin (Diakite), Luongo (Henry), Perch, Kpekawa (Hall)
Subs Not Used: Lumley, Comley, Gobern, Grego-Cox
Attendance: 3,114 (including 378 Atalanta fans)
After the initial confusion over who QPR were supposed to be playing leading up to this fixture, Chris Ramsey will have been pleased with the test his side were given. On the day there wasn’t much to choose between the sides in a game that was low in clear goal scoring chances but high in effort and application.
Faurlin into Place:
Rangers lined up in a kind of 4-1-4-1 formation. Ale Faurlin played almost as a sweeper during the first-half. Both Ned and Clint aren’t renowned as ball-playing centre-halves so Ale was getting on the ball and spraying long passes out primarily towards the flanks. It was great to see him back and in reasonably good form.
Gladwin and Phillips seemed to stay wide during this period, with Phillips in particular struggling to get into the game. I did feel though that we didn’t make as good use of both Chery and Luongo during the game overall.
When Chery did get the ball he looked dangerous. He had QPR’s best chance of the first-half; his excellently struck free kick hitting the post.
Polter worked hard up-front alone and will get better as the season progresses. He tried to bring others into play but thought he did okay with a couple of half-decent attempts on goal himself.
Singing in the Sun:
Atalanta were full of energy, both on and off the pitch. They were roared on by about 300 to 400 fans, most of whom were topless and topping up their tans, and were probably the loudest set of away fans to visit Loftus Road in a good few years! Fair play to them, it was a nice backdrop to the game and they were rewarded for their support with a great opening goal.
A corner was cleared and was met first time on the volley by midfielder Jasmin Kurtic who rifled it beyond Green and into the top right-hand corner. Great goal but hope QPR aren’t on the receiving end of too many of them this season!
Second-Half Changes and Chances:
QPR introduced substitute Grant Hall at half-time. A pre-match pub wiki search showed that the 23 year old was from Spurs unsurprisingly. He looked more comfortable with the ball during his 45 minutes but wasn’t really tested (both Ned and Clint had barely broken sweat either though).
Amongst the changes after the break, saw Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Samba Diakite introduced. Samba didn’t do too badly; no trademark crazy challenges but he did make a couple of direct runs from deep in midfield.
Emmanuel-Thomas made an immediate impact with the equalising goal. A scruffy, deflected effort but they all count.
We had a nice ten-minute spell around this point, Clint working hard out on the left in particular in very warm conditions.
I was pleased with the performance by the R’s overall; I saw some glimpses of hope ahead of what is going to be very much a transitional season.
Of the new players on show, I liked the look of both Chery and Polter. Luongo seemed to have a quiet game. Perch played at right-back and seemed to read the game well. I would think QPR will be looking to bring in a ball-playing centre-back ahead of our opening game at Charlton.
Yesterday we seemed to rely on Faurlin doing this role, it was very similar to how Barton played at times last season except Ale’s passing range is of a lot better quality.
I also feel that Polter would benefit with someone like Mackie up-front alongside him too. In fact, with the energy and movement of Jamie there, this would create more space for the likes of Chery and Luongo too.
Certainly could see lots of positives ahead, I think a good start will help this team settle and I could see the style of play that Ramsey has in mind will suit these players. Come on you R’s!