Despite His White Boots

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

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

QPR 1 Crystal Palace 2

Blech. This was really disappointing, although no surprise even though we were 1-0 up for 50 minutes. When Damion Stewart headed in from a corner on 10 minutes, it clearly lifted the team and Rangers created some decent opportunities. Rowan Vine and Scott Sinclair were both denied by keeper Julian Speroni, and Ben Sahar should have done better from 12 yards but inexplicably tried to lob the keeper. After that 15 minute spell though, Palace exerted a grip on the game that they never gave up.

Even though Lee Camp didn't have a lot to save, the visitors had so much possession and so many opportunities to put set-piece deliveries into the Rangers box that I really felt it was only a matter of time, and I think that feeling was shared around the ground. On the hour mark, Clint Hill touched in from a chipped free kick, and barely a minute later Clinton Morrison scored his customary 1-yard screamer against Rangers after a corner was headed onto the bar.

And that was just horribly that. Speroni wasn't called into action for the entire second half as Rangers basically fell apart. Sahar was invisible, Sinclair not much more prominent and Vine increasingly isolated and frustrated. The worst thing for me was that we just completely lacked any leadership on the pitch. Martin Rowlands, as a head-down right winger, seems a strange choice as captain until you look around and wonder who else could do it, as we had to when Rowlands was withdrawn 20 minutes from time. It said it all that joke basketballer-cum-occasional-target-man Marc Nygaard strapped the armband on himself.

While recent injuries haven't helped, seeing Rehman and Stewart resume their comedy central defending double act makes it look like we've made no progress at all in the last year [1]. Unless there was something happening that we don't know about, it seems bizarre that Danny Cullip has not only left, he's actually been paid off, i.e. we could have kept him for at least another couple of months without it costing us any more. I know he wasn't the best player, but he was a leader, and you can't tell me he's worse than Rehman or Bob Malcolm, who both played 90 minutes tonight.

We're just in a mess, we play really well for one game, draw it 0-0 at home, and then get muscled out of 3 games for no points, no problem for the opposition. Adding to the lack of leadership, it can't help how many loan players we have right now. The transfer window is going to be massive for us and, as I said earlier in the season, with so many games still to play this month (away trips to Scunthorpe and fast-improving Burnley in the next week alone) we could be cut off at the bottom by the time the window opens. Worrying times.

[1] Although actually Stewart probably emerges with as much credit as anyone from the game, and Rehman wasn't too bad by his own standards. The defence was simply bound to crack sooner or later because 80% of the game was played in our half.

Update : It's a bit disturbing to read the manager talking about missing chances early on and loss of concentration on the goals. Maybe he's trying to put a positive spin on it in public, but we lost that game because we were rubbish for an hour, that's the bottom line.

In the cold light of day : It's worth taking a moment to think about what deep shit we would be in right now if the takeover hadn't gone through. Most likely in administration and on negative points. At least the worst case now is relegation rather than going busto. We're all going to have to stick with it for now because we really need to build something long-term, it's all been short-term fixes ever since we came up to be honest.

3 Comments:

  • At 3:17 PM, Anonymous threecows said…

    It sounds like the Chelsea loan boys (Sinclair, Sahar, Mancienne) are a bunch of softies who don't like it up 'em and can't handle it when the going gets tough. Are any of them any good?

     
  • At 4:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It's a bit difficult for all of them to play in a struggling team at this level, phyiscally if nothing else.

    Sahar isn't ready, unfortunately, good technique but just too lightweight to play up front in this league right now.

    Mancienne has a lot of ability but is really too young to play as a central defender without an "organiser" next to him. You could have driven a bus through the gaps when he was playing CH with Stewart earlier in the season. He is, however, very quick, good in the tackle and I can see him being a very good defender when he matures.

    Sinclair is also lightweight defensively but absolutely red-hot going forward. Tremendous pace, he's definitely got a big future.

    Due to Sod's law though, I expect Sahar to make me eat my words in the cup game :-(

    Andy.

     
  • At 5:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You are correct. Leadership is the key. I spoke about it after the game. It was the most obvious deficiency in the team as a entity. Yes there are other issues with skill levels etc but without a leader, someone who grabs the game by the balls, the team is lost.I do belive with the removal of the debt and owners who are business men who do not take any crap, we will move forward but not as swiftly as some fans expect. Just look at Coventry, Luton, Bournemouth etc and see just how luck we are. While relegation is definitely not desirable, we could have faced the extinction of the Club. The really telling time will be the January transfer window. The challenge will be can the manager convince decent players that if they come to Rangers they will stay up and be part of the new beginning. Lets hope so. Regards

     

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