QPR’s season so far
By Louis Moir
There was a vast amount of hope and excitement surrounding Queens Park Rangers at the beginning of this season. The club have been surviving relegation and have been finishing in and around mid-table for the last few years, since coming back down to the Championship in 2015. Last season was looking very bleak for QPR fans, until the second half of the season where they somehow managed to turn what was looking like a relegation fight into almost grabbing a play-off spot.
QPR recruited really well in the summer transfer window by making some very impressive signings, including the four loanees who were instrumental in assisting the club’s turnaround in form last season. Fans were voicing their opinions, as there were numerous amounts of comments that were posted on social media towards the QPR owners to make sure these deals were finalised. Fans were not let down, as the West London side announced the signings of Jordy de Wijs, Sam Field, Charlie Austin and Stefan Johansen all on permanent deals.
QPR players celebrating after a late winner at home to Huddersfield. Credit – Ian Randall Photography
These four players were not the only ones to join the Hoops in the summer, as the club made more quality additions in the likes of, Jimmy Dunne (free), Sam McCallum (loan), Andre Gray (loan), Jordan Archer (free), Moses Odubajo (free) and Andre Dozzell.
Manager, Mark Warburton was starting his third year at QPR and it really felt like he was continuing to build something positive at the club, especially after what many fans were describing as ‘the best transfer window we have had in years’. It seemed as if there was actually some sort of expectation at the club, a word you would not associate with QPR after the past few seasons.
Pre-season began and the excitement levels went up a notch as QPR beat Manchester United 4-2 back in July, at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium. This result went on to alert fans from other clubs that made them think QPR were in for a very exhilarating season ahead, but from a Rangers fans perspective, they knew this feeling of optimism began from the way they ended the 2020/21 campaign.
This season kicked off with a feisty London derby as Millwall travelled to the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium. The atmosphere was rocking, as the QPR fans got right behind their team and finally saw Charlie Austin, a fan favourite back in blue and white hoops for the first time since fans were allowed to return to matches. The game ended in a 1-1 draw and I do not think that was a bad way to start this season.
August saw QPR pick up three wins from their first five league games, so the form that they showed from the back end of last season was definitely continuing. Out of those three wins, QPR won away at Hull City and Middlesbrough, in the space of just four days scoring six goals in the process.
September proved a challenging month for the R’s, as they only managed to pick up one win in the league. Those three points came at home to Birmingham in a 2-0 win where star player Ilias Chair got both goals. There was a slight feeling of doubt creeping into supporters minds about a potential top six finish even this early on into the season, as the club were conceding a lot of goals and making many mistakes which ultimately cost them in the defeats which came to Bournemouth, Bristol City and West Bromwich Albion. There was one major positive that came from September, which was a thrilling victory in the Carabao Cup at home to Premier League opposition Everton. QPR were coming off the back of back-to-back defeats in the Championship, but you would not have known by the confidence they showed, as they played with such fluidity, especially in the first half. The home side then saw off Everton 8-7 in a dramatic penalty shootout to reach the fourth round of the Carabao Cup.
The games continued and many teams, including QPR were facing a tough task of playing games on a Saturday, then the following Tuesday as the fixture schedule was becoming ever more demanding. October was slightly more of a positive month for QPR, as they picked up home wins against Preston North End and fellow top six challengers, Blackburn Rovers. Disappointment came away to Fulham, as the R’s lost 4-1 and got totally outplayed by their London rivals, where the defeat could have been even more embarrassing for the supporters who travelled to the game.
QPR were posing a huge threat to whoever they came up against in this year’s Carabao Cup, but their cup run came to an end after a very below par performance at home to League One side Sunderland. After a 0-0 draw, The Black Cats went onto win 3-1 on penalties knocking out QPR who at the time were doing well in the league.
With over a third of the season now played, this is where many fans realise that the league table slowly starts taking shape in and around this part of the year. Currently QPR are in the top six, just two points behind West Bromwich Albion in third. Their fans would have been content with the start that they have had if it was offered to them back in August.
November has been an excellent month so far for the R’s where they have picked up wins away to Cardiff City and at home to Luton Town and Huddersfield Town. Their performances have improved, especially at the back as in all three of those victories, they have kept a clean sheet. This now puts goalkeeper, Seny Dieng joint fourth in the Championship clean sheets table, with seven from 19 league matches. Queens Park Rangers are flying high this season, so the race for a play-off spot in the top six is well and truly on.
Some of QPR’s most impressive players, so far this season:
Ilias Chair (Attacking Midfielder) – 6 goals – 3 assists.
Lyndon Dykes (Striker) – 6 goals – 2 assists.
Chris Willock (Attacking midfielder) – 4 goals – 4 assists.
Jimmy Dunne (Centre Back) – 4.6 aerial duels won per game.
Rob Dickie (Centre Back) – 4.1 aerial duels won per game.