Where do QPR need to strengthen to stay in the Premier League

Former QPR forward Rodney Marsh has suggested that Rangers need to sign three players in January if they want to survive in the Premier League.

Marsh spent six years at Loftus Road in the 1960’s and ’70’s, scoring over 100 goals for the club as they achieved consecutive promotions to the First Division.

Times in West London have been tougher as of late, with the club failing to build on their promotion to the Premier League, winning just one game this season and sitting in last place. The Hoops have lost every away fixture this season, conceding 12 goals in four games, and scoring just once in the process.

Harry Redknapp is said to be stalling on signing a new contract with the club due to the poor form displayed, and there are worries at Loftus Road that relegation from the Premier League could see the club removed to non-league football as a result of a failure to comply with Financial Fair Play.

Speaking after another loss this weekend, a 2-0 defeat at West Ham, Marsh told talkSPORT how disappointed he was with the performance, and what QPR could do to fix their woes.

He said: “Pathetic is one word, but I will add embarrassing, Tony Fernandes needs to look at the transfer window.

“We will be in trouble at Christmas and Harry Redknapp must add three players who will get the team out of this relegation battle.

“There needs to be changes, I look at the players like Leroy Fer, is he capable of pulling you out of a relegation battle?

“I’m very, very disappointed in QPR and I can’t see how they will dig themselves out of this hole.

“Who can they sign to change the team? The only person to show a bit of fight is Joey Barton and he’s not playing.”

With Marsh’s claim that the club need to sign three players to survive relegation, it is important to survey the areas where the club are struggling.

  Goals per GameShots on Target per GameBig Chance Missed per GameCrosses per GameDribbles Won per GameError Leading to Goal per GameTackles Won per GameDispossessed per Game
QPR 0.6 3.4 0.9 4.0 8.4 0.1 14.0 10.7
Premier League Average 1.4 4.0 0.8 4.1 8.8 0.4 15.0 11.3

As can be seen, the Hoops are struggling below the average numbers of nearly every key part of play this season - with a key focus upon an inability to score goals. They are not the lowest scorers in the Premier League - a title held by Burnley - but they have netted just one more strike than the Clarets, and they sit almost one goal per game below the Premier League average.

They are fairly adept at finding the target during matches, but they miss a number of clear cut chances which prevent QPR taking the initiative in their fixtures. They complete fewer dribbles, fewer successful crosses and fewer tackles than the divisional average, showing weakness in all areas of the pitch.

However, despite having conceded the second highest number of goals in the league, the defensive performance has actually been acceptable. They are less frequently dispossessed than other teams in the division, and the players commit less personal errors that lead to goals.

What can be seen from this is the need to sign stars in three key areas: a destroyer, a creator, and a finisher.

A destroyer was bought in over the summer in Sandro, but, as Marsh revealed: “Sandro was bought in to show some fight but isn’t. To me he looks like a red card waiting to happen every time he plays.”

The Brazilian fulfils the role, but not with much ability, and with the club falling below the average tackles tally, they need someone sitting in midfield to win the ball back and reclaim possession. Joey Barton can be this player, but his current absence - and the knowledge that he will likely miss a number of games through the season - means that a suitable back-up needs to be signed.

Niko Kranjcar, Leroy Fer, Adel Taarabt, Junior Hoilett and Eduardo Vargas are the so-called ‘creative players’ in the side, and they all fulfil one role with adeptness, although it is only when combined that they make a real top quality attacking midfielder. Weakness arise in other areas of the team when any one of them is playing, and it is up to Redknapp to either mould his team around one of them, or to sign a more adaptable attacker to create more chances.

A striker is the key area needed to strengthen, with goals increasingly hard to come by for the club. Charlie Austin is talented, but still appears to be adapting to the Premier League, whilst Bobby Zamora offers little and is sure to leave in the near future. The loss of Loic Remy to Chelsea hit QPR hard, and it will be hard to find a top level striker available for a cut-price fee in January.

With the club already suffering under the restrictions of FFP, they may not be able to spend in January, and if they don’t, relegation could be an inevitability.

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