The R’s host the slightly less anticipated West London derby this Saturday, when Fulham visit Loftus Road. Since Harry Redknapp’s arrival, QPR have tightened up at the back and are certainly more positive in their attacking play and look a genuine threat at times. If they can continue their progression on Saturday, Fulham will have to play very well to get something out of the game. Even though we haven’t won yet (sorry to bring it up), I still fancy QPR to pick up a result at home.
Martin Jol is doing a great job at Fulham which isn’t surprising considering his managerial track record. Yes, he’s upset several players since being in charge (including Bobby Zamora) but he gets the best out of the players that want to play for him. For example, Damien Duff has recaptured some of his old form and Dimitar Berbatov looks a superb signing for them. They are a stable club and a fine representation for aspiring Championship clubs, who are looking to become an established Premier League side. The QPR v Fulham rivalry isn’t one that I buy into, I feel quite indifferent towards Fulham. That said, it would be nice to beat them after they turned us over at Loftus Road last season.
Back to QPR. The new-found work-rate which was promised by Redknapp is starting to materialise and as a collective the side is looking like a better unit. Under Mark Hughes there was no pattern to our play, no tactical discipline and most importantly, no desire. Since his exit, these components have crept into our game and we look like a ‘team’ again. That said, there’s much more room for improvement but whether Fulham will let us, remains to be seen.
Wigan 2 (McCarthy)
QPR 2 (Nelsen, Cisse)
Team: Green, Bosingwa (Fabio), Nelsen, Hill, Traore, Diakite (Granero), Mbia, Derry, Mackie, Taarabt (Cisse), Wright-Phillips.
Fulham2 (Sidwell, Rodallega)
Newcastle 1 (Ben Arfa)
Team: Schwarzer, Riise, Hangeland, Baird, Hughes, Riether, Sidwell, Duff, Kacaniklic (Dejagah), Berbatov, Rodallega (Petric).
QPR Team News:
Julio Cesar has been passed fit for tomorrow. Park Ji-Sung is injured with a knee problem.
Possible line up:
Fabio – Nelsen – Hill -Traore
Mbia – Diakite
Wright-Phillips- Granero – Taarabt
Player to watch: Ryan Nelsen
A proper leader, a nice bloke and a player i’m delighted to have at our club. In my opinion, Nelsen has been the best acquisition this summer. At times he has single-handedly kept the defence together to earn the odd point here and there, which who knows might make the difference come the end of the season. Unfortunately, for the New Zealand international, his magnificent efforts this season haven’t been matched by the majority of his fellow teammates. Only lately have players as a whole performed to a higher standard and it is no coincidence that the team are unbeaten since the appointment of Harry Redknapp. Tomorrow will see our defence severely tested but i’m confident Nelsen can lead the back four and the team to our first win.
Fulham Team News:
Midfielder Mahamadou Diarra is doubtful after needing several injections earlier this week. Simon Davies is back in training but is unavailable for first team action.
Possible line up:
Riether – Hangeland – Hughes – Riise
Duff – Sidwell – Baird – Kacaniklic
Player to watch: Dimitar Berbatov
Dimitar Berbatov has been identified as the player to watch ahead of the match against Fulham.
For Vital QPR’s comprehensive review of the strikerClick Here >>>
The Stat Attack
Queens Park Rangers: LLDDD
HEAD 2 HEAD
Queens Park Rangers: 12
LAST TIME OUT
Premier League – 25/02/12
Fulham 1 (Pogrebnyak)
Team: Kenny, Hill, Ferdinand, Onuoha, Taiwo (Traore), Diakite (Sent Off), Taarabt, Barton, Wright-Phillips (Buzsaky), Mackie, Zamora.
Referee: Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire)
Assistants: Charles Breakspear (Surrey) & Mark Scholes (Buckinghamshire)
Fourth Official: Mike Jones (Chesire)
Martin Atkinson is the match official for tomorrow’s derby game against Fulham. This season Atkinson has issued 78 yellow cards and 1 red card in 19 games.
I think the team can take great confidence from the last three games. The defence has looked better and individual performances are at a higher standard throughout the side, leading to a stronger collective. However, there are still players like Jose Bosingwa who continue to let the side down with lacklustre showings and the sooner he is out of the team and the club, the better.
I see the match being quite tight and tentative. I think Fulham will play their expansive style of football but will be cautious due to our threat on the counter attack. The R’s will need to stand up to a tough physical test from Steve Sidwell and Chris Baird in the middle of the park. They bossed Newcastle and I hope they don’t get as much joy against Diakite and Mbia. If we can keep a high tempo in the match, then I feel we can pick apart their defence. We’re due an awful amount of luck and it would be a huge boost for the R’s to beat their local rivals and get that first win.
Where: St James’ Park