As striker Loïc Rémy coolly slotted the ball past West Ham United goalkeeper Jussi Jääskeläinen yesterday, Queens Park Rangers supporters saw exactly what their team have lacked all season.
The 26-year-old timed his run perfectly, finishing emphatically and decisively with an air of nonchalance and confidence that Thierry Henry might have been proud of.
It must not be forgotten that Djibril Cissé, now consigned to the growing list of “transfer blunders” at QPR, netted twice on his debut away to Aston Villa.
However, many believe that £8million forward Rémy has the potential to be a major factor in whether the Rs avoid relegation or line up in the Championship next season.
Yet perhaps it will not be the Frenchman but Reading, who enjoyed another miraculous resurgence, this time to win 2-1 against Newcastle United, shaping the drama at the bottom of the Premier League over the next few months.
Successive spectacular comebacks from almost certain defeat by the Royals have certainly put the recent improvement made by Rangers into perspective.
While manager Harry Redknapp is right to praise draws against the Hammers and Tottenham Hotspur, Reading have won two in a row after being 2-0 and 1-0 down respectively, and are now a point from safety.
This “anything you can do we can do better” show of strength by the Berkshire club is one issue facing the Superhoops, but another is the continuing defensive fragility that, despite improving under Redknapp, is still very much present.
Absolutely nobody marked winger Joe Cole, courted by QPR before signing a loan deal with former club West Ham, and he profited from a poorly-directed save by Júlio César to equalise on 68 minutes.
Errors such as this are enough to slightly take the gloss off an unbeaten 2013, but the fact that Rangers are well in touch after Christmas is more than most would have dared hope a month ago.
Redknapp has said that he wants to make “one or two signings in the right positions and let one or two lads go” before January 31.
Lads set to depart will most likely include defender José Bosingwa, who disgraced himself by refusing to be a substitute against Fulham, and Cissé, with the French international having left to play for Al-Gharafa in Qatar until the end of the season.
Coming in ought to be a defender to support 34-year-old Clint Hill, particularly with Ryan Nelsen due to depart for his managerial foray in Canada any time soon.
Also needed is a midfielder capable of taking the defensive onus off Stéphane Mbia somewhat, matching the creativity of Adel Taarabt and leading by example – which is perhaps what the club had hoped Esteban Granero would be.
Such a miracle buy may be hard to actually find, but if anyone is capable of pulling off an extraordinary deal for “some lad” that happens to be a superstar it is the “Wheeler Dealer” himself, Harry Redknapp.
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Originally published on Sky Sports on Sunday January 20 2013.