Taking it one game at a time

There was a palpable feeling of relief at full time on Saturday after Queens Park Rangers held firm to secure a 2-1 victory over Sheffield Wednesday and start the season on a positive note.

Bright start | Queens Park Rangers overcame their recent opening day glitches, but a long, difficult season still awaits. (Image | Facebook)
Bright start | Queens Park Rangers, thanks to Nedum Onuoha, pictured, overcame their recent opening day glitches, but a long, tough season awaits. (Image | Facebook)

It was due to a number of factors, most notably the resilience the Rs showed not to throw away their slender advantage late on, but also the feeling that things are changing for the better.

Last week, prior to the signing of sharp-shooter Charlie Austin, 24, I bemoaned the lacklustre and uninspiring pre-season and predicted a campaign of woe, suffering and struggling.

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QPR v Chelsea/West Bromwich Albion: will there be any respite for the beleaguered Rs?

After a grim festive double that saw Queens Park Rangers, like the United Kingdom at Eurovision, pick up “nil points”, reality is beginning to set in as tough clashes loom large in the New Year.

Deadly | Luis Suárez eases past Clint Hill at Loftus Road to score the opener. (Image | BBC)
Deadly | Luis Suárez eases past Clint Hill at Loftus Road to score the opener. (Image | BBC)

First up are Chelsea, beginning to come into form under Rafael Benítez, at Stamford Bridge before Rangers make their annual FA Cup exit – this time at the hands of West Bromwich Albion. Can a glimmer of hope be found amid the misery?

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Rangers handed brutal Boxing Day defeat by the Baggies

West Bromwich Albion midfielder Chris Brunt scored for the fourth time in five games against Queens Park Rangers to help the visitors to a 2-1 win at Loftus Road.

Hotshot | Winger Chris Brunt celebrates after firing West Bromwich Albion ahead. (Image | Sky Sports)
Hotshot | Winger Chris Brunt celebrates after firing West Bromwich Albion ahead. (Image | Sky Sports)

The 28-year-old was set free in acres of space by Marc-Antoine Fortuné and promptly fired past Robert Green into the bottom right hand corner to hand West Brom the lead after 29 minutes.

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QPR v West Bromwich Albion/Liverpool: will it be a happy Christmas for Rangers?

With the aptly-named “mini revival” having been abruptly ended by Newcastle United, is there to be any festive joy for Queens Park Rangers as they take on West Bromwich Albion and Liverpool in the final two games of 2012?

Revival | Queens Park Rangers must build on the 2-1 success against Fulham. (Image | The Times)
Boost | Stephane Mbia, Clint Hill and Nedum Onuoha celebrate after the victory over Fulham, but the next two home games are similarly crucial. (Image | The Times)

Or will it be a case of a Grinch-style punishment for the Rs after a year in which they have rarely impressed, occasionally delighted, but more often than not been very bad indeed?

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Supersub Shola buries QPR as away slump continues

Queens Park Rangers made it 13 months without a win away from home after a late goal from substitute Shola Ameobi saw Newcastle United to a 1-0 victory.

Impact player | Shola Ameobi celebrates with James Perch, who set up his winning goal for Newcastle United yesterday. (Image | Daily Mirror)
Impact player | Shola Ameobi celebrates with James Perch, who set up his winning goal for Newcastle United yesterday. (Image | Daily Mirror)

The 31-year-old came off the bench to curl the ball past Robert Green with nine minutes remaining, after being played in by James Perch and cutting inside Adel Taarabt’s challenge.

Rs striker Djibril Cissé missed the visitors’ best chance – which had been carved out for him by Taarabt – but in reality QPR rarely threatened at St. James Park.

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QPR v Fulham: will a local derby inspire the Rs to victory?

There is nothing quite like a tricky west London derby to warm the hearts of supporters who in the past 16 games have been watching a record breaking side play.

Frustration | Rock-bottom QPR are still winless this season. (Image | BBC)
Frustration | Rock-bottom Queens Park Rangers are still winless this season. (Image | BBC)

Unfortunately, this is an outfit that has made the worst ever start to a Premier League season.

Can the R’s break their winless curse against Fulham, or will it be another missed opportunity? Continue reading

Newcastle United v QPR: Rangers aim to smash their second record in a week

A win! A win! My kingdom for a win! Now that the gods of fate have answered the calls of all those concerned with Queens Park Rangers, the Superhoops face a trip to the north east.

In control | Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure leads Newcastle United a merry dance at St. James' Park. (Image | The Guardian)
In control | Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure leads Newcastle United a merry dance at St. James’ Park. (Image | The Guardian)

With Newcastle United in wretched form and possibly beginning to regret a certain eight-year contract, can Rangers break their second unwanted record in the space of a week? Continue reading