I imagine fans of most football clubs would say that their team can’t be relied upon. Just as a new dawn emerges and a run of scintillating form threatens, the club revert to type and let you down.
In the past few weeks, Queens Park Rangers have been just that.
Two league wins in a row, five goals scored, none conceded and a cup win to boot. For a QPR fan, the cup win is a bigger miracle than the two league matches. Anyway, after two matches, the club were sitting pretty at the top of the nebulous Championship table.
Waves of optimism overcame Loftus Road. This sort of positivity is a rare sight at a club that recently screwed their chances to join the Premier League big boys in spectacular fashion. Nonetheless, we were feeling positive vibes in W12. Then came Barnsley away.
A friend at work asked me if he should back QPR to win away at Barnsley. A midweek fixture in Yorkshire. This had all the hallmarks of a classic QPR defeat.
Despite every fibre in my being wanting to be positive and say that it will be an easy three points, I couldn’t bring myself to do tell him to back us. He did anyway. After a first-half that the home team dominated, QPR somehow got back in to the game, winning what felt like their 99th and 100th penalties of the season and with the game reaching its closing stages lead 2-1.
However two goals conceded in the last 12 minutes and a red card for Grant Hall thrown in to the mix saw the Rs fall to defeat. An unfortunate loss to a decent team, but normal service had been resumed.
The following game saw QPR face Preston North End back at Loftus Road. A chance for redemption against a team that hadn’t won in their three opening games.
However, what happened in the first 45 minutes was an offence to football as a form of entertainment. Preston were dogged and organised. QPR lacklustre. It was as exciting as a visit to a motorway service station.
By half-time, at which point Preston had taken the lead after some flappy goalkeeping by Alex Smithies and slow reactions from the QPR defence, all positive vibes in W12 had well and truly evaporated.
An own goal by Nedum Onuoha early in the second-half compounded matters, but QPR never looked like they were getting anything from this game until it was well and truly past them.
Four games in and QPR’s record reads two wins and two losses. The club currently lie sixth.
All things considered, that’s pretty good. However the variation in performances by the team is genuinely puzzling. Opening day of the season, The Rs looked the best they had played under Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, the game against Preston, they looked like a bunch of lads being kicked off a night bus at the depot.
Hasselbaink blamed fatigue for their poor performance.
Perhaps QPR need to show a bit more variety in their play. Previous seasons have shown that 4-4-2 is a hugely successful formation in the Championship. It worked for Leicester City and Middlesbrough.
You could argue that the squad is still imbalanced, but Hasselbaink needs to have a few more cards up his sleeve in order to surprise the opposition.