Some disclosure before we get started. There was a bit of an argument at Focus Fortress this week, with Dannyboi stating that he doesn’t like Star Wars. Now to me, saying you don’t like Star Wars is like saying you support BOTH Brentford & QPR, so in an act of defiance, this week’s Opposition Focus will be crammed with a few Star Wars references, see if you can spot them.
Form: Well, QPR have gone from being the good guys to being the bad guys quicker than The Millennium Falcon doing The Kessel Run. They come into this game having done us a massive favour by beating Aston Villa on Tuesday, with goals from Ryan Manning, Jake Bidwell & Luke Freeman. Before that though, they went through a bit of a sticky patch but have managed to turn things around, now making it three games unbeaten.
Formation: Trust QPR to make working out how they play as easy as working out exactly what Yoda’s talking about. They have experimented with various formations through the year, but seem to be working at the moment with a 4-3-3 formation.
Dangerman: As is going to be traditional in these focuses, the danger man will ALWAYS be a Fulham player if one’s available. Step forward, Matt Smith, a man who always wins more headers than loses them. I’ve always been concerned about our two Ewoks at the back in Tim Ream & Tomas Kalas, and this could be a fixture where the height differential could prove tricky to overcome.
Battle to watch: James Perch v Tom Cairney. James Perch is a very good player at this level, much like most of the QPR squad, I just wouldn’t trust them in a higher division. Expect most of the match to resemble the last few games with Cairney being kicked from pillar to post. Who knows we might even get a red card out of it.
Head to Head:
- This is only the 16th season in Fulham’s history that they have played in the same division as QPR.
- The clubs have met 31 times in league competition – Fulham have won 12, QPR have won 14 and there have been 5 draws.
- However, Fulham have won 9 of the 13 derbies with QPR since the 1999/2000 season.
- Fulham have also won 5 of the last 6 home games against QPR – but lost 2-1 in last season’s encounter at Craven Cottage.
- Fulham have missed 4 penalties in the last 3 meetings with QPR – taken by 4 different players: Tom Cairney (saved by Alex Smithies), Sone Aluko (hit post), Chris Martin (saved by Alex Smithies) and Rui Fonte (over).
Opposition View: (@ZSQPRFC) – What’s gone right for QPR? The wage bill has been trimmed since the premier league days the mercenaries are all gone now, youth teams are getting more of a chance than in recent years. Alex Smithies, Massimo Luongo & Luke Freeman have all been key performers this season and there is a fear that the club will receive offers in the summer that in our financial position will be too good to turn down. Paul Smyth and Ebere Eze have made their first starts for the club this season and have been exceptional long may it continue!
What’s gone wrong at QPR? One of the most frustrating things this season has been the inconsistency with team selection, Holloway also was persistent with a 3-5-2 formation which does not suit the set of players we have at this time. Thankfully that formation has now been dropped!. The ongoing financial fair play battle the club is facing is currently holding us back whilst that is happening for QPR at this time letting players go is more of a priority than bringing more through the door. Prediction 1 – 1
Prediction: If I were Ian Holloway, I’d be looking myself in the mirror on Saturday morning, saying to myself ‘I have a bad feeling about this’. As much as I have concerns about Matt Smith’s size and the potential of Tom Cairney to come out of this looking like Anakin after his fight with Obi-Wan on Mustafar (with no arms or legs), I think that if we can score within the first 10-15 minutes, that should get the ball rolling and knock their confidence into a galaxy far far away.
Fulham 3 – 1 Queens Park Rangers