The R's traveled to Swansea today hoping to gain some revenge for the 5-0 drubbing dished out at the start of the season at Loftus Road. Could Harry's Hoops continue their good form with their new, improved, tighter defence?
Unfortunately the gang were missing three members today. Lofty could not attend due to the game falling on his other halves birthday, Sam could not attend as she was looking after the twins and Lorna could not make the long journey to Wales.
The rest of us assembled at Jenson's house as we took the Stadium Wireless car across the border for it's first European adventure.
The drive was a very straightforward one and our only drama came when we stopped at Cardiff West Services. With the gang needing to relieve themselves and top up with a coffee and grub. The drama began as we queued at the Costa Coffee and we waited in a five person queue for fifteen minutes before finally getting to the head of the queue and then we had to wait an additional twenty minutes for the coffees to be made and handed over to us. It was a complete joke! The bloke behind the counter looked like Nigel from Eastenders and the other person was similar to a person that you would find on 'The Undatables' on Channel 4. As for the toilets and the other facilities, they were just disgusting!!!! We will never return to that hole again!
We arrived at just gone 2pm and parked down in the usual spot in the industrial estate before walking to the other side of the ground and on to complete our pie rating, but more of that later.
The team selection today was one that raised a few eyebrows in a game that we would ideally get a result from. There were two changes from the side that drew with Norwich last week. Fabio missed out with a back injury sustained against Norwich and SWP dropped to the bench. In came Nedum Onuoha and Jermaine Jenas.
In one other slight change from the Norwich game, Jamie Mackie adopted an unfamiliar role on the left wing and Adel Taarabt took the lone strikers role in what looked like a damage limitation formation to get us through the first half before being able to introduce Bobby Zamora to the game.
That tactic was blown out of the water just eight minutes into the game.
Nathan Dyer was given far too much space and took the option to shoot from distance. Cesar done his best to cope with the swerving ball and parried the ball but only as far as the onrushing, unchallenged Michu. The ball hit Michu, looped over Cesar and into the empty net. A stroke of luck for the home side but at least they had a striker taking a chance and getting the benefit of giving his side the opening goal.
From here Swansea dominated the midfield and really struggled to cope with the crisp passing that we are all too familiar with and saw our midfield chasing shadows.
When the R's had possession of the ball we were fine until we approached the half way line and then had no options in front of us as Taarabt was playing very deep and no-one was making runs beyond our front man.
Swansea picked apart the R's once again and made it 2-0 after 18 minutes.
Angel Rangel took advantage of Jamie Mackie falling asleep and allowing the Spaniard to waltz into the penalty area unchallenged. Rangel took aim at Cesar's goal and once again Cesar managed to make the save but saw Rangel following up to deliver the finish and take full advantage of some more poor R's defending.
Why were none of our defenders even chasing back in case of a parry from Cesar? He's good but he can't do it all for the defence!
Rangers' never even looked like getting into the game as Swansea just dominated all over the pitch and were toying with the R's until the half time whistle.
The half time stats summed it up for us, the R's had no shots and only completed seven successful passes in the attacking half during the first half. Tactically it was very wrong and Redknapp knew this. We witnessed Zamora spending the majority of the half time interval warming up along with Granero. Fianlly we would have a striker up front!
Zamora and Granero had an immediate impact for the R's and there was some hope just two minutes into the second half.
Taarabt's shot was parried by Vorm and Zamora was on hand to slot the ball under him and give the travelling support some hope of salvaging a result in Wales.
However that hope was very short lived and the Swans restored their two goal lead two minutes later.
Pablo Hernandez started dancing around Nedum Onuoha and remained unchallenged until he got within shooting distance and somehow managed to roll the ball into the far corner despite being surrounded by R's defenders. Another poor goal from our point of view!!
On 60 minutes the R's fans were absolutely fuming, courtesy of our good friend and referee for the day Neil Swarbrick.
Swarbrick has been at the centre of controversy in a number of games that he has refereed for us and has always ensured that we have ended up on the wrong side of these decisions.
The first decision that showed that we would probably get this was a booking dished out to Chris Samba when he went shoulder to shoulder with a Swansea player, with the end result being the Swansea player bouncing off the beast and falling to the floor, earning a free kick.
The second one was after he booked Adel Taarabt for kicking the ball away (correct decision) but then Taarabt got pushed around by a Swansea player and does not get punished for it! We're all told you cannot raise your hands but maybe it's just a ule that's used when a referee feels like it?
Anyway this decision that I'm about to describe is just shocking.
Townsend whipped in a great ball from the left and Zamora was always going to win the header against Ashley Williams, however the Swansea captain raised his arm and punched the ball clear. It wasn't even a difficult decision to make, it should have been a penalty to the R's and a chance to get back into the game, however our "friend" Mr Swarprick turned a blind eye and carried on as if nothing happened. I'm completely unsure how the linesman failed to spot it! It will be the most blatant and clearest handball you will see on Match of the Day tonight.
This took the fizzle out of the R's momentum and Swansea again started to take control of the game.
Nathan Dyer played a perfect ball through the R's defence and Michu very easily got the better of Samba as he brushed him off and then flicked the ball past Cesar to put the game to bed and seal the three points for the home team.
The game was lost in the first half for us as the tactics were wrong from the very beginning. We cannot expect to survive in the Premier League if we do not play with a recognized striker from the beginning of a game. I know Remy was not fit and Zamora can only play 45 minutes maximum currently, so why not start with Jay Bothroyd as he can hold the ball up and bring players into the game. It's no good playing Taarabt up there on his own as he needs players to move in front of him in order to make him fully effective.
Once Zamora came on we looked a different team and had the option to play the ball into him and aim at him when we got into wide areas.
I cannot take anything away from Swansea, they pressed the ball well, retained possession and took the chances that they created. We could have been a lot further behind at half time and on our way down the M4 very early!
- 01 Vorm
- 04 Chico (Bartley - 33' )
- 06 Williams
- 22 Rangel
- 33 Davies Booked
- 09 Michu (Moore - 80' )
- 11 Pablo
- 12 Dyer
- 15 Routledge (Agustien - 62' )
- 20 De Guzman
- 24 Ki Sung-Yeung
- 25 Tremmel
- 02 Bartley
- 21 Tiendalli
- 26 Agustien
- 14 Lamah
- 17 Shechter
- 19 Moore
Queens Park Rangers
- 33 Julio Cesar
- 03 Traore Booked
- 05 Samba Booked
- 06 Hill
- 15 Onuoha
- 04 Derry (Granero - 46' )
- 10 Taarabt Booked
- 16 Jenas (Wright-Phillips - 68' )
- 29 Townsend
- 40 M'bia
- 12 Mackie (Zamora - 46' )
- 01 Green
- 21 Ben-Haim
- 07 Park Ji-sung
- 11 Wright-Phillips
- 14 Granero
- 25 Zamora
- 37 Bothroyd
The Man of the Match
was a simple choice for the gang as a clean sweep was given to Bobby Zamora
's impact on the second half and giving us some hope of getting a result today.
Just to top up our day we got back to Jenson's car to find a parking ticket on his window! Our day could not of got worse!! The two best results we had today was the fine only being £35 and the fact we got back to Maidenhead at 7pm! Good driving Jenson!
We now get back to the pie rating.
Jenson had the Chicken Curry pie - Cold, too much pastry and very salty -6
Lee had the Steak and Ale pie - Pastry too tough but a very nice, distinctive ale taste. - 6.5
Luke had the Chicken Curry pie - Warm, nice flavour - 7
This gives Swansea an average of 6.5.
West Ham are still leading the way in the pie ratings.
Lofty will return with the home report from our game against Man United in two weeks time!
Enjoy the break!
Keep The Faith, we can still do this!!