Despite His White Boots

Football, football, football and, if the mood takes me, more football.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

QPR 0 Sheffield Wednesday 0

A good performance and an entertaining game, both deserving much better than 0-0. It wasn't for the want of trying though ; both sides struck the woodwork twice, and none of them were those ones where it flicks the top of the bar when the keeper had it covered - all four were six inches away from a goal. The first came when Akpo Sodje's header rattled Lee Camp's crossbar, and Wednesday missed another good chance soon after in a typically slow start from QPR.

In time though, Mikele Leigertwood and the top-class Akos Buzsaky took control of the midfield and with Rowan Vine dropping deep cleverly to link up the play, Rangers started to, whisper these three little words : Play. Some. Football. Scott Sinclair brought the crowd to their feet twice, first of all Lee Grant put just enough on Sinclair's one-on-one shot to keep it out, then after a glorious Buzsaky pass, the Chelsea loanee breezed past ex-Ranger Frankie Simek and slammed a shot off the far post. Wednesday hacked it clear but from the resulting corner Leigertwood's header lobbed up and bounced off the bar in absolute slow motion.

Both sides kept it positive after the break, Burton O'Brien's curler struck the post yet again with Camp beaten, while at the other end Grant saved well from Vine and Sinclair. Whoever Derby have in goal (Bywater ?), he must be hella good for them to let both Grant and Camp go. Rangers pressed for the winner but three free-kicks in promising positions were floated harmlessly over the bar and it finished goalless.

0-0 at home isn't usually cause for much optimism but take it from me [1] Rangers were excellent going forward today. It's hard to remember when we had so much quality up front, albeit that three of the players are on loan (Buzsaky is apparently a done deal, Vine no one's really sure and we know Sinclair is going back to Chelsea next month). Defensively we weren't so hot, mainly because the other new loanee Bob Malcolm looked like a right lemon. Still, no harm done, I'm pretty sure this will be a quick "Thanks but no thanks Bob" [2] and we'll keep looking. It's such a shame Cranie broke his leg because if he was still here we'd be a good side right now.

All in all, best not to get carried away but there's real cause for optimism at Loftus Road, and there was a healthy crowd today to boot.

Needless to say this contrasts with the national mood, which I have already commented on elsewhere. One thing I want to add in here is just how complacent everyone seemed to be before this game. I know the media have an agenda to make a game like that sound easy beforehand, so they can really stick the boot in if it goes tits up, but even so. Crouch was talking about winning the whole tournament on Tuesday. The papers were going on about how not one Croatian player would make the England team (I'd have had the defence en bloc for a start). I saw most of it in the gym ; one geezer propping up the bar was going "Fahkinell, we should be beatin this lot five-nil they're shit". I really had to bite my tongue. What game was he watching ? Oh well, it's not my problem. I could hardly care less.

And finally today, a big shout out to the hypocrites' hypocrite, Alex Ferguson. After being sent to the stands at half-time at Bolton, he said "I told the referee what I thought - some referees don't like it. They don't like the truth". Good stuff from someone who won't even talk to his own club's in-house TV station because they upset him with a question. You almost have to admire the sheer nerve of the man.

[1] And if you want a second opinion (who would blame you), Wednesday manager Brian Laws said after the game "[QPR] will be nowhere near the bottom at the end of the season".

[2] "Bob" in exactly the same tone of voice as Rowan Atkinson said "Bob" in that Blackadder episode. If you know the one I mean, it works, honest :-)

Update : ZOMG I nearly forgot. In the programme, Rowan Vine's answer to "what would you like to be if you weren't a footballer ?" was pro poker player !

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