QPR welcome Reading and the Sky cameras to Loftus Road tomorrow afternoon in a match that sees the only teams in the country yet to register a win, compete in a battle to get those much desired three points. After QPR’s cataclysmic combustion against Arsenal, the feeling amongst supporters was very flat. It was so frustrating to watch the R’s hold their own against one of the better sides in the league, only for one moronic moment from Stephane Mbia, ruin what could’ve been a decent result.
He’s yet to convince me that he is the answer to our centre-back problem. However, prior to his red card he looked assured alongside the steady Ryan Nelsen. But now he’s banned for 3 games and our defence undergoes yet more reshuffling, which will set us back in terms of keeping a settled team and letting them evolve as a unit. It must be said, Arsenal were lucky with their goal being given seeing as Mikel Arteta was offside. Although, they had so many shots on target, I lost count of how many wonder-saves Julio Cesar made and eventually our resistance crumbled.
We all know that QPR are in dire need of a win and there must come a point when Tony Fernandes becomes very worried with his underperforming side. Mark Hughes has to win tomorrow. Personally, I’d much rather see us turn it around under Hughes but if we don’t improve then a change has to be made. History suggests Hughes has the capability to turn it around. Let’s hope tomorrow is the start of better days.
Arsenal 1 (Arteta)
Team: Cesar, Traore (Onuoha) Nelsen, Mbia (Sent Off), Bosingwa, Diakite, Wright-Phillips (Mackie), Taarabt, Granero, Hoilett, Zamora (Cisse).
Reading 5 (Roberts, Koscielny og, Leigertwood, Hunt, Pogrebnyak)
Arsenal 7 (Walcott x3, Giroud, Koscielny, Chamakh x2)
Team: Federici, Gunter, Shorey, Morrison, Gorkss, Leigertwood, Tabb, Robson-Kanu, Hunt (Pogrebnyak), McCleary (McAnuff), Roberts (Church).
QPR Team News:
QPR will be without Stephane Mbia who is suspended. Captain Park Ji-Sung is a doubt with a knee injury. Bobby Zamora and Armand Traore are doubts and face late fitness tests. Andy Johnson and Fabio are long term absentees.
My possible line up:
Bosingwa – Nelsen – Onuoha – Traore
Diakite – Granero – Faurlin
Taarabt – Cisse – Hoilett
Player to watch: Ryan Nelsen
The vice captain needs to put in a big performance tomorrow. You could argue that Nelsen has been one of Hughes’ best signings. He’s a no-nonsense centre back and an upgrade on Clint Hill (with all due respect to Hill). He is commanding and appears to read the game terrifically well. What must be frustrating from his point of view is having to organise a defence that is always changing. Nelsen will be all too aware of the danger Reading possess but he’s an experienced pro who has been there and seen it all. Having Nelsen in our side is reassuring but he can’t do it all. He needs the support from his fellow defenders and unfortunately they have been the ones letting him and the side down this season.
Reading Team News:
Danny Guthrie will miss the game with a thigh injury. Jem Karacan also misses out with a knee injury.
Possible line up:
Gunter – Gorkss – Morrison – Shorey
McCleary – Leigertwood – Tabb – McAnuff
Pogrebnyak – Roberts
Player to watch: TBA
The Stat Attack
Queens Park Rangers: LLLDL
HEAD 2 HEAD
Queens Park Rangers: 27
LAST TIME OUT
League Cup – 26/09/12
QPR 2 (Hoilett, Cisse)
Reading 3 (Gorkss, Shorey, Pogrebnyak)
Team: Cesar, Hill, Onuoha, Park (Zamora), Dyer (Nelsen), Mbia, Granero, Faurlin (Diakite), Mackie, Hoilett, Cisse.
Referee: Michael Oliver
Assistants: D England & S Long
Fourth Official: M Atkinson
Michael Oliver is the match official for tomorrow’s game. Last season Oliver issued 94 yellow cards and 4 red cards in 36 games.
I would like to see us start Faurlin, Diakite and Granero in a flexible, all-action midfield trio with Taarabt, Hoillet and Cisse occupying the attacking roles. However, judging by his team selections this season, Hughes will not be that adventurous. He sets his sides out to firstly, not be beaten and let’s be honest at this stage of the season, that is clearly not enough, as we are losing more often than not. We desperately need points and to do so we must be much more positive if we are to start winning.
We have the skill to carve Reading open but without a high tempo, their defenders will find it easy against us. Recent performances have seen us play neat, tidy football that leads us into the attacking third but then it all becomes very static and lacklustre and the move breaks down. We have to be more inventive in the final third. I know we have the capability to beat a gung-ho Reading side and anything other than a win is not acceptable.
Where: Britannia Stadium