Decision making has cost Rangers

Charlie Austin sees his penalty saved by the West Ham United goalkeeper Adrián. (Image | Evening Standard)
Charlie Austin sees his penalty saved by the West Ham United goalkeeper Adrián. (Image | Evening Standard)

Queens Park Rangers are staring down the barrel of relegation after they failed to beat West Ham United and Hull City pulled away from the abyss with two successive wins to pile pressure on the bottom three.

Charlie Austin, without whose goals the Rs would perhaps already be down, had a penalty saved by the goalkeeper Adrián, who also kept out Matt Phillips in an unhelpful 0-0 draw.

With Leicester City having won four games in a row before Wednesday’s defeat by Chelsea, and now out of the relegation zone, Rangers, Sunderland and Burnley are the overwhelming favourites for the drop.

A mini-resurgence which brought about a victory over West Bromwich Albion and a draw with Aston Villa was not enough for QPR, and may not be sufficient for Chris Ramsey to get the job on a permanent basis.

How different it could have been: with just two moments reversed, namely Cesc Fàbregas’s winning goal for Chelsea and Austin’s penalty miss, the Superhoops would be on 30 points, just one behind Leicester.

Not that any complaints about misfortune can realistically be mustered. While some injustice occurs, generally speaking, good teams prevail and bad ones do not.

QPR have conceded far, far too many goals: more than anyone else in the division. They spent most of the first half of the season unable to win away, only for the virus to spread to Loftus Road after Christmas.

It is the mistakes that will be rued the most, not merely the big ones, such as persisting with Harry Redknapp until February, signing and selling Jordon Mutch, and failing to utilise Eduardo Vargas correctly.

While there have been obvious errors, such as Green’s miskick and Joey Barton’s needless red card at the KC Stadium, so many defeats have been down to collective or individual losses of concentration.

Late goals have been particularly problematic, costing the Rs seven points since the turn of the year: namely at home to Swansea City, Everton, Chelsea and Southampton, and away to Villa and Hull.

There can be no complaints about misfortune: generally speaking, good teams prevail and bad ones do not

By far the biggest contributor to Rangers’ likely plunge into the Championship was the 11 straight losses on the road presided over by Redknapp, during which time bottom side Burnley picked up seven points.

Given that the Clarets’ away record is the second worst in the division, it is not unreasonable to suggest that QPR could have picked up another three points in this period, which would put them on 33 now.

So, cut out half the errors and win just once on the road prior to February and the Rs could be looking at 37 points, a total that would put the club above Newcastle United in 14th and probably ensure survival.

As it is, Rangers have to beat Liverpool at Anfield, a feat they have not achieved since March 1991, the only time the West Londoners have ever won there, before a trip to Manchester City.

Even though QPR went on to lose on that famous trip to the Etihad in 2012, when Sergio Agüero made history, it is hard to imagine this side playing in such as swashbuckling, caution-to-the-wind manner.

Following a dismal run of seven consecutive losses, any team which fails to take all three points against Newcastle United deserves automatic demotion, but one more win will not be enough.

Currently it looks as though Leicester could either be celebrating an unlikely second season of Premier League football or fighting for survival with fans’ ears glued to the radio for news of Sunderland’s result.

With this in mind, the planning for next season must begin urgently, with the status of Ramsey the most pressing matter. Both he and the club deserve to know who will be in charge at Loftus Road next season.

Have your say | Tweet the author | @chriskking

Originally published on TEAMtalk on Friday May 1 2015.


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