QPR 1 Leeds United 3
Thomas Christiansen will have plenty to mull over this week as he ponders what formation and players to send out against Norwich City next Saturday. In the first half at Loftus Road Leeds looked OK, nothing more, as we nullified an out of sorts Queens Park Rangers side that itself offered little in the way of potency up front. Then, in the 38th minute, Christiansen was forced to come up with a new plan as his Plan A striker, Caleb Ekuban, suffered another heart breaking injury so soon after coming back after the last one.
With no Lasogga on the bench it was pretty obvious that Kemar Roofe would move in to the middle – a position of course that he will tell anyone who will listen is his favoured role. The decision to replace the stricken Ekuban with Pawel Cibicki looked more of a gamble but almost immediately Leeds looked far more balanced and certainly more attack minded with two out and out wingers on the pitch at the same time, something we’ve seldom seen this season. We’ve generally tried to make room for both Hernandez and Saiz in the same side while retaining the services of two defensive midfielders and that leaves room only for one genuine wide man. But with no Dallas, Lasogga, Hernandez and now Ekuban available, the barrel had only thin scrapings left, so on came Pawel.
What a revelation it was! Suddenly QPR had two wingers to keep an eye as well as the mazy running of Samu Saiz. It was too much for a limited side to cope with and with Roofe enjoying his freedom he blossomed again just as he did against Newport County earlier in the season when he grabbed a hat trick of course! This time a cross came in from Alioski and Roofe buried it; a cross came in from Cibicki and Roofe buried it and then, for good measure, he buried one in the middle too. Whether it would have been quite so easy against a Wolves or a Cardiff or a Derby County I’m still not sure but with a string of decidedly below average sides to face in the coming weeks Christiansen will have to think long and hard about whether to try this bold approach again or whether to go back to his usual MO. The availability of players may of course decide the issue for him.
And then there’s the goal keeper… what can I say that hasn’t already been said about the error from Felix? I’ve made no secret of the fact that I don’t think TC should have switched back to Felix and I was convinced we’d see more clangers from him. Did I think I’d see one of this scale, probably not, but the guy is just not confident enough or focussed enough for my liking. Yes, like all continental goal keepers he’s able to stop shots sometimes but so can Lonergan. Neither is going to be sought out by Barcelona or Man City but of the two, give me Lonergan every time. We saw how this plays out with Rachubka and Silvestri and it always ends in tears. These errors play on their minds and one day it all comes to a head and a disaster occurs. Let’s not let it happen again Leeds.
QPR Leeds Utd
Possession 53% 47%
Shots 15 12
On Target 2 5
Corners 2 5
Fouls 13 9