North London disaster
QPR’s season didn’t get off to the perfect start – but a 1-0 defeat to Hull City hardly left the Loftus Road faithful panicking. The 4-0 loss at Tottenham that followed just might have, however.
The R’s were non-existent at White Hart Lane as Erik Lamela and Nacer Chadli were made to look world class by a frustratingly bad QPR defence. And what made it worse was Spurs’ poor form in the weeks afterward. It certainly wasn’t a memorable return to north London for Harry Redknapp.
Just three days later, though, things got even worse for the west London side, as League Two outfit Burton Albion knocked Redknapp’s men out of the Capital One Cup.
Adam McGurk netted a second-half winner as a lacklustre QPR put up very little fight against Gary Rowett’s charges. One of the few to stand up and be counted, Alejandro Faurlin, also suffered his third Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury in as many seasons against Burton. Terrible luck.
A much-improved R’s team beat Sunderland in their following fixture but yet more misery greeted Redknapp and his squad at Old Trafford two weeks later. And, once again, it was all of their own making.
Rio Ferdinand was this time the one suffering an unfortunate return to his former club against Manchester United, while there was no passion whatsoever on show as Louis van Gaal’s side thumped QPR 4-0.
More trouble followed for the west London side but it’s been a different story of late. QPR have produced a significant upturn in form recently and the turning point came against Liverpool, when Redknapp’s men produced a superb performance – but still lost 3-2.
And one of QPR’s worst moments of the season by far came in that defeat. Actually, not one but two of them. The first was Richard Dunne’s own goal that gave Liverpool the lead at Loftus – and the second was Steven Caulker’s own goal that gifted them all three points at the death. Again: terrible luck.
In the three games after that defeat, however, QPR beat Aston Villa, narrowly lost out to league-leaders Chelsea and drew with Premier League champions Manchester City.
But such impressive form did not look on the cards when Redknapp delivered a surprising rant about attacking midfielder Adel Taarabt in the post-match press conference of the 3-2 loss to the Reds. The 67-year-old discussed how the Moroccan is ‘three stone overweight,’ with Taarabt then hitting back in an interview with the national press.
The whole episode seemed to show a lack of control in west London, with Redknapp looking like a man in search of nothing but excuses. That picture has changed drastically since – but it was certainly a dark episode in QPR’s campaign.