Opposition view: Suddenly it's looking a little rosier for Rangers
PUBLISHED: 09:00 22 September 2018 | UPDATED: 10:56 22 September 2018
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In the chair is Norfolk PE teacher Ian Arnold shares his love for QPR with an affection for the Canaries ... despite coming from an Ipswich-supporting family!
QSo, suddenly ‘doomed’ QPR have won four of their last five games… what’s going on?
AWhen it comes to QPR who knows? Maybe Steve McClaren is a really good coach and QPR have got some really good young players that he has worked with and now we are seeing the benefits of that work. However, it could be this is just the Championship and most teams are going to have peaks and troughs of form. Having watched QPR v Millwall on Wednesday night, we were really good in the first half so I would hope this is the beginning of a longer period of good form.
QIf you can think back to the opening five games, which yielded one win (in the cup) and four league defeats – can you forgive Steve McClaren?
AIan Holloway is definitely one of my footballing heroes and had a genuine passion for QPR. For me he had rescued the club on more than one occasion both as a manager and a player. Sacking a club legend at the end of last season was a big decision. We will only know if it was the right decision as the season unfolds. Like Holloway, McClaren has had to deal with the impact of the FFP ruling. This has meant that QPR have lost a lot of experienced (and mostly well-paid) players. These have had to be got rid of/released, like Steven Caulker and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, allowed to leave on frees when they would still have been in the first team like Nedum Onuoha and Jack Robinson or sold like Alex Smithies. We are now in the new FFP reality and will have to nurture and develop new young talent so hopefully McClaren is the right man for the job and us fans will have to accept the periods of bad form.
QNorwich will be buoyed by a four-game unbeaten run – do you believe they have ‘turned it around’?
AI’ve been to a couple of Norwich games this year and also seen some on Sky. I’m afraid I don’t think Norwich will turn it around under Daniel Farke. I’ve never been convinced by teams in the Championship trying to play a possession-led style of football. I think you have to be a bit more pragmatic and adapt the style of play to beat the team you are playing that day. I think Norwich had a squad good enough last year with James Maddison and Angus Gunn but they never managed to score enough goals despite having ‘great’ possession stats.
QSome see QPR as a ‘basket-case club’ – particularly when it comes to their spending in recent years. Do you agree?
AI think from 2007 when the club was taken over by Bernie Ecclestone, Flavio Briatore and the Mittal family the club has been a roller coaster of a soap opera. Any football fan should check out the documentary ‘The Four Year Plan’ which just shows how crazy everything was back then. I have a lot of sympathy for the Mittals and Tony Fernandes because I think they have had the best intentions but if anyone was to blame for all the basket case tomfoolery that’s been going on it has to be Harry Redknapp (just watch to see the aftermath of his reign at Birmingham) and Mark Hughes. Supposed elite managers and ‘football’ men. They overspent, overstaffed and underperformed and have left us in the mess we are in now.
QWhich players have impressed this season – and who should Norwich keep a special eye on?
AThat is definitely an Eze question to answer. Eberechi Eze has been a revelation, equally dangerous out wide or as a number 10; he will take players on and cause havoc with even the most experienced defenders. In the first half on Wednesday night against Millwall he ran riot, creating chances, winning free-kicks and scoring. If all else fails we can always send on last year’s top scorer, the 6ft 6in Matt Smith, to cause havoc.
QAnd what about City players – who do you fear most?
ANorwich have some really good young players such as Jamal Lewis, Onal Hernandez and Louis Thompson who could develop into excellent players. However, I always think QPR struggle against experienced, streetwise players so I’m mostly worried about Jordan Rhodes and Teemu Pukki.
QSo, both teams in decent form, but be realistic - where do you see each team finishing up?
AMy father-in-law and I always have a bet on who ends up higher in the table, the loser paying for a family dinner and having to wear the opposition shirt for the duration, and it’s always close. I don’t think it will be any different this year with both teams being mid-table but safe.
QAnd finally, a prediction for this evening’s game?
AI think both teams are prone to giving goals away so a high-scoring, entertaining 3-2 win for the Super Hoops!