Premier League Soccer
QPR 1 - 1 Wigan 7 April 2013
Ref: Phil Dowd
How will moneybags QPR deal with Wigan in this important relegation battle? The R's only have managed four wins in the last 15 BPL games.
8' Remy hits the post. He looks like a dangerous and capable forward - if he can get the service. But a few minutes later, he squanders a chance at the far post, making the classic error of expecting the defender in front of him not to miss the ball.
18' Wigan's outside mids are finding space to make their crosses.
20' Zamora sees red in the form of a card flashed at him by referee Dowd. High foot into the face of Gomez.
25' QPR's Townsend makes a nice escape with an inside pullback turn, advances down the right, but Remy wastes the chance. And it's Townsend again, so far the home team's best player, who breaks through the centre, but Remy spoils the move by being offside.
Moments later Gomez, now being booed by the home fans as they reckon that he has manufactured Zamora's sending off, takes a rare shot at QPR's goal. Cesar saves comfortably.
It's a reminder to the Wigan players that given they have 11 players on the field they should attempt to win this match. McManaman shoots over Cesar's bar, and a minute later shoots past the post with a laces drive when a shot with the outside of his right foot – if he possesses the ability – would have tested the keeper better.
Wigan's standout player of late, Mahoney, is seeing a lot of the ball. However, he isn't making the killer pass necessary to break down QPR's 4-4-1. Wigan are dominating possession, QPR are slow to close the ball and are marking very loosely, but we don't get the impression that Wigan are going to score. Yes, the Wigan players have been trained to switch positions, so that if a back surges forwards with the ball, another player covers for him; and yes Wigan are only one of two Premier League team that play with three at the back. Tactical awareness on the part of Wigan boss Martinez, but there's little in the way of drive, let alone aggression, on the part of his players. Perhaps that's why he always seems to spend his time shouting from the coaches' technical area.
The second half continues with QPR being mindful that they are playing with ten men. Supporting their forward player is secondary to preventing a Wigan counterattack. Wigan, for their part, continue to pass the ball across the pitch with QPR's back eight between them and the goal.
56' At last something happens. Redknapp takes off Hoilett, and puts on Taarabt. It takes the latter three minutes to send in a beautiful inswinging cross from the right with the outside of his right foot, which Remy meets with a header that drifts just wide of Wigan keeper Joel Robles.
61' In response, Martinez takes of the ineffectual Beausejour and puts on James McArthur, perhaps to clog up the centre of the pitch a little. It makes no difference though; when the Wigan midfield have the ball there is no movement at all from the front two, so there's nobody to hit with a pass. So the midfielders continue to pass the ball back and forth across the pitch.
84' Wigan free kick outside QPR's box. A worked move. But the shot is blocked, Mbia breaks forwards at speed, spots and then feeds Remy on the right, whose first time shot flies inside Robles' far post. A spectacular goal, hit with the inside of his foot and imparting no spin on the ball. It's the first moment of real quality in the game and QPR have just five minutes plus stoppage time to hold out. 1 – 0.
91' Mackie, on for Remy, breaks forwards, but instead of taking the ball into the corner or recycling the ball to a teammate goes for goal. Wigan gain possession, go down the pitch to within 23 yards of QPR's goal, Mbia fouls, Maloney gets the ball up and over the wall into QPR's postage stamp. Great technique. 1 – 1.
Wigan didn't really deserve this draw, but then QPR, given the millions they have spent on assembling this team, aren't even average themselves. If both clubs are relegated to the Championship it'll come as no surprise.
QPR v Everton, October, 2012
© Peter Rodd & Soccerphile 2013