QPR 2-1 Fulham – Gaz Griffin's Player Ratings
Finally! At last! At the 17th time of asking, QPR have finally won a league game this season...and considering the opposition, this one couldn’t be sweeter!!
Next-door neighbours Fulham arrived in W12, probably feeling at ease, probably feeling that this would be the game they start to get their season back on track. Certainly, a couple of Fulham fans I know were adamant and utterly convinced they would be walking away from Loftus Road with an easy three points in the bag. Not so. In fact, Fulham’s team didn’t turn up at all.
It was, for the most part, a dominant display by the R’s, far and away our best performance so far this season. Anyone watching us since Harry Redknapp took over at Loftus Road would have noticed the slight improvement we had made. I don’t think anyone, myself included, expected a performance which took us back to the same ones we turned in for most of our Championship-winning campaign. A brace from Adel Taarabt (including a goal that has to be a shoe in for goal of the month on Match of the Day), followed by Mladen Petric’s deflected consolation at the death, saw QPR run out 2-1 winners, in a match where Fulham very rarely threatened.
Here are my player ratings:
Rob Green – 6
Green hardly had a thing to do all game. In the first half, he dealt comfortably with a dangerous-looking cross that was heading for Hugo Rodallega at the far post. In the second half, he was forced to punch away another dangerous cross from Steve Sidwell, as Fulham put us under pressure at the end. Other than that, Green had an easy afternoon.
Nedum Onuoha – 6
Onuoha was recalled to the first eleven after taking some time out on compassionate leave, filling in at right back for Jose Bosingwa, who was (rightly) dropped. He did a solid job, keeping Sidwell and Kieron Richardson quiet.
Ryan Nelsen – 7
Another rock-solid performance from the New Zealand international. His aerial presence was key, and he dealt with Dimitar Berbatov as if he wasn’t a world class striker. This is the sort of man you want at the back in scenarios where, like the last five or six minutes against Fulham, it’s backs-to-the-wall.
Clint Hill – 8
Clint just gets better and better alongside Nelsen. This was an outstanding performance by the centre back, a commanding defensive performance that Fulham had absolutely no answer to. He plays with a fire in his belly, a passion for the club; something we have sorely lacked this season.
Armand Traore – 7
Traore linked up very well with Shaun Wright-Phillips on the left. Going forward, he was dangerous, although some of his crossing was a bit wayward. Defensively, he was much better, keeping Damien Duff and Sacha Reither quiet.
Stephane Mbia – 7
Another solid performance from Mbia, who seems to be flourishing in his position just in front of the defense. He helped out Nelsen and Hill on multiple occasions, closing the ball down quickly and tackling very well. His passing was average, though, which no doubt will get better with time.
Alejandro Faurlin – 8
Ale was brought back into the team by Redknapp at the expense of Samba Diakite, and did excellently well. His link-up play with Taarabt was reminiscent of the glory days of the Championship winning season. His passing was largely very good, something we have come to expect from him. He was unfortunate, though, when Petric’s shot deflected off him and in, as he was trying to close the ball down.
Jamie Mackie – 6
Ran his socks off yet again, but this was a less effective performance from the Scotland international. I can’t help feel he is wasted on the right wing, and does more damage when up front. He missed a glorious chance to open the scoring in the opening minutes, latching onto a weak back pass from John Arne-Riise, but skewing his shot wide with just Mark Schwarzer to beat.
Shaun Wright-Phillips – 7
He seems to have been given a new lease of life under Harry Redknapp. His performances have improved of late, and this one was better still. He gave Reither nightmares with his pace, and when crowded out, more often than not, found the right pass to continue the attack. He was also noticeably good defensively, putting in some solid tackles to snuff out any Fulham attacks.
Adel Taarabt – 9
He’s back! This was a simply fantastic performance from the Moroccan, reminding us of the damage he can cause when slotted in behind the striker. He wasn’t afraid to run at defenders, shoot from distance, nutmeg a few players, and generally show the skilful brilliance we all know him for. His first goal had a touch of fortune about it, running forward from the halfway line and smashing a low shot, which deflected off Brede Hangeland and into a helpless Shwarzer’s net. His second goal was just brilliant. He made Hangeland look like a fool, nutmegging him, before bursting forward, rolling his foot over the ball just outside the box, and passing the ball along the floor with the outside of his boot into the net. A sublime performance.
Djibril Cisse – 6
Cisse tried hard, but this season he just seems to lack that spark in front of goal he had last season. He came very close to scoring on a couple of occasions, turning his marker inside the box before curling a lovely shot just wide, and then at the death, getting a header on target from Traore’s cross, which was brilliantly saved by Schwarzer. Other than that, he didn’t do much.
Fabio Da Silva (for Wright-Phillips)
Again, like Wigan last time out, he looked lively.
Ferdinand (for Cisse)
I can’t be the only one who was absolutely terrified when he came on, but to his credit, helped keep Fulham at bay in the last couple of minutes.
Man of the Match
This is an absolute no-brainer this week, Adel Taarabt stood head and shoulders above everyone for skill and work rate, and his two goals didn’t hurt either. He is this weeks Man of the Match.