Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Match Report, QPR v Swansea City, PL, Loftus Rd..

Swans go nap at the Bush.

Approaching this first game of the season, I'd been as nervous as many of us Swans, particularly given our record at Loftus Rd in recent years, where we've taken some horrible beatings, in every sense, as I've written previously.

As it turned out, on a brilliantly sunny West London day, I certainly could have been a little more relaxed.

Consensus within Football Punditry of both print and broadcast variety had suggested pre-match that we'd do well to come away with a point, but I can't criticise that as being either biased or misguided, since it echoed the way I felt myself, if truth be told.

Whilst we've seen the churn and turmoil of seeing yet another Manager snaffled away, Michael Laudrup's appointment and initial recruitment of replacement players for our losses had begun to soothe my fevered brow. Meanwhile, in Shepherd's Bush, the bullish Mark Hughes had stated that there was "no way etc.........." and spent within reason (some would say, others may hazard adventurously maybe) but broadly in recruiting 9 new players to upgrade his retrograde Rangers side.

We fans of both Clubs had all had our say, so the official teams were these............

Queens Park Rangers

01 Green, 05 Ferdinand, 06 Hill (Wright-Phillips - 64' ), 15 Onuoha, 20 Fabio, 02 Diakite (Derry - 86' ), 07 Park Ji-sung, 10 Taarabt, 09 Cisse (Johnson - 77' ), 12 Mackie, 23 Hoilett
26 Murphy, 17 Nelsen, 04 Derry, 11 Wright-Phillips, 18 Dyer, 08 Johnson, 25 Zamora

Swansea City

01 Vorm, 03 Taylor, 04 Chico, 06 Williams, 22 Rangel, 07 Britton, 09 Michu (Gower-84' ), 12 Dyer (Sinclair - 77'), 15 Routledge, 20 De Guzman (Agustien - 70' ), 10 Graham
25 Tremmel, 05 Tate, 11 Sinclair, 26 Agustien, 27 Gower, 29 Richards, 19 Moore

Ref: Probert
Att: 18,072

I'd written previously of my decision not to travel for this fixture and the reasons, so my live Internet link was via a quality German feed, and may even have topped up my rudimentary German language skills.

With the Temperature 30 Degrees plus, both sides played out a cagey opening few minutes, almost as if they were getting the measure of each other, as Boxers do in that initial tentative poking stage.

The early moments for Swansea saw Jonathan de Guzman comfortable on the ball, and Chico Flores cool in defence, as QPR attacked mainly through the quality of Junior Hoilett, who looked threatening.

Swansea responded, with both Michu and de Guzman threatening Robert Green, who plunged low to his left to save, to leave Dyer frustrated by a late tackle.

The equality of the early game was broken in the 8th minute. Routledge drove forward in the Inside Left channel, and when tackled the ball ran to Dyer, who carried it on. A last gasp check on him sent the ball loose some 25 yds out and central,  and whilst 4 players tried to get there, Michu had timed his run and sent a rasping side-footed drive curling toward the bottom left corner, where a struggling Rob Green got a touch but could not keep it out. 1-0, and an excellent goal from a player who was imposing himself more and more on the game.

The JackArmy sang, and I put the kettle on.

Overall, however, QPR were the more lively, constantly probing at the Swans, and on 13m, Hoilett, cutting in, curled a fierce shot just wide of Vorm's goal. They followed this with a barrage of shots, from Taarabt, Mackie, and a Fabio drive that went over the bar.

Shortly after came their best chance- a deflected shot left Mackie clear one on one with Vorm just 6yds out, but the keeper's one handed save from his right foot hit  trickled toward goal, only to be ushered away by the vigilant Chico Flores on the line.

The next period of the game saw Swansea consolidate their equanimity by keeping the ball - Britton was prominent as ever- and we began to see the confidence instilled by the knowledge of technical excellence - all of our players look comfortable on and off the ball, but QPR were testing still, and the lively Mackie produced a good run and earned a corner.

It went short and was cleared out toward halfway, but Fabio produced a long ball back in that drew Vorm from his goal, who was beaten to connection by the incoming Hoilett, and his header sailed close, but wide. Phew, it was indeed close.

It was end to end stuff, with Swansea almost giving as good as they were getting, but after a Vorm save from a Taarabt drive, the game changed dramatically.

Swansea now began to exert control., and the first example was De Guzman's sweetly struck free kick from 30yds, which was arrowing to the bottom corner before Green turned it behind.

JdG took the corner, and Chico Flores rocked the bar with a bullet header and everyone beaten. Desperately unlucky.

Next, Neil Taylor foraged from the left, and after being brought down by Jamie Mackie just outside the box, JdG's ball fell to Michu in a scramble, and the Spaniard volleyed against the bar again, with the follow up narrowly poked over by Wayne Routledge.

Swansea ended the half comfortably on top, and somewhat unlucky not to be further in front. Still, what did we know - better was to come in the second period.

QPR came out fighting for period 2, and a Junior Hoilett run was perilously close to a penalty ( Mr Probert disagreed ) and their last practical gasp was a 47m header just wide, because on 52m, Swansea scored a sublime second that took the game away from them.

Routledge, in possession deep in his own half, produced a run on the left where he both outpaced the cover tacklers, and cut in dangerously. He slid a superb ball into the Inside Right channel, where the elegantly loping Michu stroked a first time side footed pearler curving into the top left corner. Without a doubt, the goal of the whole PL weekend, and we Swans, myself included, buzzed, shrieked, cried and celebrated. A Quality goal from the game's best player.

But, to City's eternal credit it didn't stop there.

At 2-0 down, the Home crowd were demanding a response, and Rangers, in their desperation to appease, made the crucial error of a gung-ho response, leaving themselves open to the way we just love to play- on the counter attack, at pace, in short sharp breaks, and it tore them to pieces to the crowd's frustration.

QPR's rabid desire to get forward left them vulnerable, and on 62m Routledge, who was having an excellent game, did it again. Once more from the left he slid Dyer free on the right approaching the box, and the speedy Nathan got clear and buried a low composed finish past Rob Green. 3-0, games don't often go much better than this. (if they do, I'd assume Carlsberg make them)( sic).

Now football people will tell you- at 3-0 down at home, get tight, concede no more, and get a bit of pride back.

QPR did the opposite - they streamed more and more forward, leaving themselves even more naked to plundering, and Swansea pillaged, and did.

Agustien, who had replaced the tiring JdG on 70m , just a minute later chipped through a sublime ball to the clever Nathan Dyer, who had held his run against a flat back line. Dyer collected with a cool touch, and despatched. 4-0, and I was giggling. The home fans were less happy, and the first rat-runners could be seen , streaming their way home early.

Always a satisfying sight, I think.

QPR had thrown on Shaun Wright Phillips for Clint Hill, and Andy Johnson for Cisse, but neither got even a sniff.

Moreover, on 81m, another high Michu press won the ball back, and his cute pass allowed the oncoming Scott Sinclair, who had come on for the irrepressible Nathan Dyer, to bury a quality shot into the corner to make it 5-0, and we were in dreamland, Narnia even.

By the way, those fans who booed the oncoming Sinclair, one of OUR players, hang your heads in shame.

Gower replaced Michu at the end, and gave a controlled cameo, and there was even time for the irresistible Danny Graham, who had played the pointed fulcrum to perfection, to cushion a shot wide that when most times he gets a chance like that, he will score. Whatever, it had been, and remains, a wonderful start to the season.

Some tactical, technical and social analysis.

Let's start with the Manager. ML retains an admirable balance between control and passion. He cares, deeply, but he's classy enough to control it and remain open. Wow. Very impressed. Both Managers, contrasting naturally, can be found interviewed here.
Our 3 key signings - what a performance- all. Chico will be a cult hero, JdG has silky skills that make Jordi Gomez a fond memory, and Michu is, even on week one, the best PL signing of the season. Talent, ability, application, technique, and a great degree of style. I love him already.

We sometimes forget the solid core of our side - I DO NOT. Each and every squad player played their part to perfection.

Our out and out 4-3-3 seems to have evolved, allowing our wide players to play in slightly narrower channels and thus influence the game more, leading to our FB's being given a degree more forward freedom. Taylor was top notch, AR's time will come. There is also a greater degree of tempo. Whilst sometimes we have passed for possession's sake, this time we seemed to do so quicker, and with a greater end in mind,.

The social aspect is this. I've often seen our team enjoying itself and themselves. I've rarely seen a greater display of the the genuine affection and regard that they have for one another.

This promises to be another excellent season - there will be harder times and days along the way, of course.

But hey, what a lovely start.

Onward, Swansea City.


Anonymous said...

Excellent read, thanks.


Anonymous said...

Great read, as ever.

Anonymous said...

Great article for a great start to the campaign.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant write up as ever. Look forward to the next!

Nina said...

Fantastic read as ever mate!

TacticalQPR said...

We were slit up a treat, and no mistaking. Narnia for you, Mordor for us.

We have a team of talented individuals, but Swansea functioned much better as a team, and cut through us with counter-attacking football.

Having said that, we gave Swansea three goals: Green letting the ball through his hands, Fabio making a terrible sloppy pass when he was almost the last man, and Onuoha making a suicidal pass that caught out our entire defense.

The goal that did for us was the second one, with Wayne Routledge outpacing and outmuscling Diakité, and then finding the killer pass to Michu.

As I said before the match, I think Swansea will be OK this season, although I doubt that you will meet as many teams quite as generous as us.

A couple of articles you might want to check out:
QPR’s summer of optimism blown apart for super soaraway Swans – full match report

Swansea hope Spanish flavour will keep the Welsh flag flying – opposition profile
(This was written prior to the match and contains some original material on Laudrup, Michu and Chico written by our man in Spain Miguel Ortiz)

pierre91 said...

...@TacticalQPR thank you for the comments and the links to the Articles. I will take them in. I agree re the key moments, and that first half hour could have gone differently, particularly the Mackie chance and the Hoilett shot.

Good luck for the season. I'm sure you won't be as profligate again. Respect.

Gykes said...

Great article, covered all areas. Great comment by TacticalQPR also. STID! keep up the good work fella