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Monday, November 21, 2011

QPR Report Monday Update: Stoke...Warnock..Helguson...Taarabt


- From the Bushman Archives of QPR's 1976/77 Season

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- Update: Poppy Shirts Coming Soon! The QPR Poppy Shirts for Charity: When are they/will they be put on sale

[Since Questions are being answered!- The QPR Official Supporters Club (OSC): Is that still in "limbo' almost six months later?]

- Next: Norwich vs QPR - Players who played for both Clubs

- The Four Year Plan: Dutch Review of the Film (Translated into English)

- Growing Indian Interest in Football

- Decade ago Today: Kevin Gallen Rejoined "Third Division" QPR

- Warren Neil Hits His Fiftieth Year

- Three Year Flashback: "Wild" Claim that Flavio Briatore had "picked" a 13 Man Team!

- Two Year Flashback: Doncaster Beat Jim Magilton's QPR: Pellicori one of QPR's Playing Substitute

QPR vs Stoke

- Earlier Compilation of Stoke Match Reports and Managerial Comments

- Photos from Stoke vs QPR


Five things we learned from the Premier League this weekend

* Simon Burnton and Rob Bagchi

...Hooray for unsung hero Helguson

You rarely see QPR's Heidar Helguson speaking in post-match interviews since he admits he lacks the confidence to speak in English before the cameras. But, if he will not blow his own trumpet, his performances for Rangers this season deserve someone else doing it on his behalf.

The Iceland centre-forward has suffered from injuries over recent seasons and spent two spells back on loan at his first English club, Watford, since joining QPR but returned under Neil Warnock last season to score 14 goals in the club's promotion campaign.

The signing of England's one-cap wonder Jay Bothroyd in the summer suggested that Warnock would utilise his ability to work the channels as a lone forward in a conservative system but since the club found itself with a more ambitious transfer budget following Tony Fernandes's takeover, Shaun Wright-Phillips has been pushed forward as a roving striker and linked up well with Helguson.

The Icelander is excellent in the air, as was shown by the fine finish he applied to Armand Traoré's cross to score Rangers' first against Stoke despite taking an elbow in the eye-socket before he reached the apex of his leap. His second came from backing himself to lurk in a seemingly unthreatening space behind the defence and he tapped it in with a deft touch.

They were both classic striker's finishes and he ended the game with five goals in his last five matches. Warnock has been so impressed by a player deemed too old by Jim Magilton, one of the Yorkshireman's predecessors, that he says his ideal January transfer target would be Helguson's twin brother.

"Heidar has been as good as anyone we're after at the moment," Warnock said. "We have to monitor his fitness, though, and he's not been lucky with injuries in the past, but two of him would be marvellous." He may be 34 and largely unsung but Warnock and supporters of Watford and QPR clearly appreciate a striker who does so much more than "put a shift in". RB

[- Three Year Flashback: Helguson Reported Signs on Loan for QPR]


QPR not missing Adel Taarabt as Neil Warnock's side add to Stoke City's woes

Adel Taarabt, the QPR midfielder, is expected to return to training on Monday – a week behind schedule – after losing his passport and suitcases while on international duty.

By Si Hughes, at Britannia Stadium

The Moroccan, who was stripped of the club’s captaincy following the arrival of Joey Barton at Loftus Road, has reportedly long sought a move to Paris St Germain.

Since any such deal failed to materialise in the last transfer window, the 22 year-old has caused an assortment of problems for manager Neil Warnock.

Having been the Championship’s star performer last season, Warnock has struggled to find a position for him this term; with the Yorkshireman abandoning a system that previously served to coax the best out of the maverick playmaker.

In October, Taarabt left Craven Cottage in a huff after being substituted at half-time during Queens Park Rangers’ 6-0 thrashing at Fulham.

“I’ve not seen him,” Warnock said after watching his side record a deserved away victory at Stoke City.

“But I spoke to him on Friday [on the phone] and he tells me that we’ll see him again on Monday. He might have to play centre-half with our injuries.”

Warnock could only afford to name six substitutes at the Britannia Stadium after Jason Puncheon was sent home with tonsillitis . Back-up goalkeeper Barry Murphy also pulled up injured in the pre-match warm up.

Such adversity only fortified the visitors’ resolve and Taarabt certainly wasn’t missed. After going behind early on to a Jonathan Walters strike, they took control of the match thanks to goals from Heidar Helguson (two) and Luke Young.

Helguson, the Icelander, played the majority of the match with a suspected fractured cheekbone and was clearly in pain after scoring his first from a header following a delectable cross from Armand Traor.

“Helguson could have left last season,” Warnock revealed. “My previous owners didn’t want me to retain him because of his age, but I told them, I can see a Kevin Davies in Heidar.’

"Sometimes you spend money for the sake of it. I couldn’t buy anybody that would have played as well as Heidar did. Impossible. You see his face after the game, good looking lad that he is, and it looks like he’s gone 10 rounds with Cassius Clay. Unbelievable.”

Helguson’s impact on proceedings was stunning but the basis for this win was founded in midfield where Alejandro Faurlin and Barton were at their best.

Left-back Clint Hill agreed: “It can be 100mph here so you need someone to put their foot on it. We needed those two,” he said.

For Stoke, their slump continues. This was their fourth defeat in a row. A reply from Ryan Shawcross with more than 25 minutes to go could not save them. The expected siege did not occur.

Manager Tony Pulis berated his side’s defending but also believed Stoke should have been awarded two penalties following what appeared to be fouls by Barton in the box. The second on Robert Huth in injury-time looked clear-cut.

“Whether it’s concentration, we’re getting caught at times,” he said “Things are going against us at one end, and not going for us at the other end, and that’s a recipe for disaster.”

Warnock had his own opinion on the Barton fouls: “I’m Arsene Wenger. I’ve not seen it,” he joked. “But I do know that some of our lads were complaining that there was a push before Stoke’s second goal too.” Telegraph

Independent Monday Report/Time Rich

Lieutenant Warnock and the missing towel mystery
In another life Neil Warnock would have been a detective. Not the Inspector Morse kind, his inspiration coming from a soundtrack of Wagner, but the in-your-face Columbo kind, always turning back and asking: "Just one more thing."

Just one more thing; Warnock wanted to know what happened to the towels at half-time. They were there for the first half, presumably to aid Stoke's trademark long throws, and had disappeared when his Queen's Park Rangers re-emerged after the interval. He had a prime suspect; a Welshman who hid under a baseball cap and went by the name of Pulis.

"So I went out and fetched my own towel," he said. "Then the ref came over and told us we couldn't do that. Then Stoke used the towel at the end and the ref told them they couldn't have it."

After a wild tackle on Joey Barton by Rory Delap, tensions were already high and the row over the towel saw the Stoke physio, Andy Davies, sent to the stands by the referee, Mike Jones.

"I think you either have the towels or you don't, you can't take them away because your team are losing," said Warnock, although what advantage Tony Pulis's side would gain from depriving Delap of his towel was not immediately clear. "I am going to find out where the law stands on this because it has to be clarified. I think it is a little bit childish that you change the goalposts at half-time."

At the start of the month, Warnock had seen the BBC apologise for his remarks that Rangers had "defended like fairies". Here, at perhaps English football's most unforgiving venue, they played like titans to the extent that when Heidar Helguson headed QPR's equaliser he held his hand not to the heavens but to a bruised and swollen eye-socket that had taken somebody's elbow.

"He could have left last season," Warnock said after a game in which the man from Iceland's northern shores had scored twice and might have had a hat-trick. "My previous owners did not want to retain him because of his age but I thought I could see a Kevin Davies in Heidar.

"Sometimes you spend money for the sake of it and I cannot imagine anyone playing as well as Heidar did here. You see his face after the game and, good-looking lad though he is, it looks as if he has gone 10 rounds with Cassius Clay."

Just one more thing; this was Stoke's fifth defeat in six matches and their second in succession at the Britannia Stadium, although given the way they started, QPR seemed likely to be overwhelmed before the interval. Pulis, who had dropped his keeper, Asmir Begovic, pointed to lapses of concentration and individual errors. Warnock thought the fixture list might have something to do with it, although why Stoke had been drawn away after every Europa League game would have taxed the detective in the gabardine mac. Independent

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