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Thursday, January 31, 2013

QPR Report Thursday: Transfer Day...OTD Flashbacks: Gerry Francis Club "in Crisis"...Langley and Carlisle Cruciate Injuries...Holloway's Last Loftus Road Game...Smashing West Ham... Next: #Norwich


- Fulham Debt Free!

Reminder: QPR Fan Forum, February 7

Parliamentary Report on Football Governance


Christopher Samba: QPR set to sign £12.5m defender
Christopher Samba is set to complete a £12.5m move to QPR from Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala after agreeing personal terms and passing a medical.
It is understood the ex-Blackburn defender, 28, will receive £100,000-a-week, including bonuses and add-ons.
QPR's 26 signings since May 2011
  • Neil Warnock: Joey Barton, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Jay Bothroyd, Anton Ferdinand, Luke Young, Armand Traore
  • Mark Hughes: Federico Macheda (loan), Taye Taiwo (loan), Nedum Onuoha, Bobby Zamora, Djibril Cisse, Jose Bosingwa, Ryan Nelsen, Park Ji-sung, Robert Green, Andy Johnson, Junior Hoilett, Fabio, Samba Diakite, Esteban Granero, Julio Cesar, Sam Magri, Stephane Mbia
  • Harry Redknapp: Loic Remy, Tal Ben Haim, Yun Suk-Young
The centre-back used his own Twitter account  on Thursday to state that he was in London.
QPR manager Harry Redknapp is also pressing ahead with plans to sign Stoke striker Peter Crouch.
Anzhi head coach Guus Hiddink admitted he was disappointed to lose Samba.
"It's not a very good situation," Hiddink told Russian newspaper Sport Express.
"Samba was with us during this season, began preparations for the winter training camps and suddenly this opportunity arose with an English club. Yesterday [Tuesday] he left for England. Unfortunately, we didn't even have a chance to say goodbye to him. Everything has developed very quickly."
Samba left England in February 2012 when Anzhi agreed to pay Blackburn £12m, amid interest from Tottenham, Redknapp's former club.
With Ryan Nelsen set to leave Loftus Road to manage Toronto FC, and Anton Ferdinand moving to Turkish club Bursaspor on loan, QPR have been desperate to sign an authoritative central defender with Premier League experience. BBC 

John Percy and Paul Kelso

QPR ready to splash £20m on transfer deadline day in battle for Premier League survival

The Queens Park Rangers chairman, Tony Fernandes, is ready to gamble £20million on securing the club’s Premier League status, tabling bids for Christopher Samba and Peter Crouch which he hopes to finalise on deadline day.

The lavish spending on two players who can expect to be paid £70,000 a week for a role in Queens Park Rangers' relegation battle was authorised on a hectic day for the club, who also finalised the signing of South Korean full-back Yun Suk-Young from Chunnam Dragons.

Stoke City were on Wednesday night anticipating a bid in the region of £6million for Crouch, who can expect to see his wages rise from around £50,000 a week should he join Redknapp for the fifth time in his career.

The striker, 32 on Wednesday, is tempted by the prospect of resuming his relationship with Redknapp, for whom he played at Portsmouth, Tottenham and Southampton.

Stoke rejected an earlier bid of £3million plus Jamie Mackie but expect QPR to return with an improved offer. Should Crouch go, manager Tony Pulis will seek to replace him with Darren Bent, out of favour at Aston Villa and subjected to a fresh humiliation on Tuesday night when he was substituted at half-time in the 2-1 defeat by Newcastle.

QPR’s boldest move was a £12.5million bid for Samba, enough to trigger the release clause in the centre-half’s contract with Anzhi Makhachkala.

Samba has been at the Russian side since leaving Blackburn Rovers, earning £100,000 a week under Dutch coach Guus Hiddink. It is understood he will have to take a pay cut to around £70,000 to join Rangers.

Samba flew in on Wednesday and travelled to London for talks over personal terms. A deal seems certain, however, with Hiddink accepting that the player would not return.

Hiddink said: “It’s a shame to talk about this but he didn’t even say goodbye, he didn’t explain anything to us. Whatever happens to you, you should take into account the people with whom you work.

"It’s not a great situation for us. He started the pre-season camps with us but then suddenly in the last few days he started to make contact with England, that’s despite still being on contract with Anzhi.”

Redknapp is relying on the Samba deal to bolster his defensive options after allowing Anton Ferdinand to join the Turkish side Bursaspor on loan, and seeing Ryan Nelsen leave the club to become coach of Toronto FC.

Speaking after seeing his side held champions Manchester City to a 0-0 draw on Tuesday night, Redknapp said: “I’ve always taken Crouchy wherever I’ve been: Southampton, Portsmouth, Tottenham . . . I love him. Whether Stoke would sell him, I don’t know.

"Samba is a player you’d love to have, and the chairman’s working on several options. I’ve given him a list of players and he’s trying to get one or two for us.”

Redknapp believes he needs three or four new signings to give the squad a chance of avoiding relegation, having already added the French striker Loïc Rémy.

Yun, 22, made his full South Korea debut last October in a World Cup qualifier against Iran and impressed during the Olympic tournament. QPR overcame interest from Liverpool and Fulham, and now he has been granted a work permit he will be eligible to play for Rangers once his visa is processed.

Pulis, meanwhile, is preparing for the potential summer sale of goalkeeper Asmir Begovic with a late move for Birmingham’s England international Jack Butland. The Stoke manager is set to make a £3million bid on Thursday but faces competition from Fulham, who are understood to have offered £4million, and Southampton.

Stoke view the teenage goalkeeper as a long-term replacement for Begovic, who is rated at around £12million and has been watched frequently by Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal this season.

Begovic could leave at the end of the season if Stoke receive a suitable offer so Pulis is planning to buy Butland and then loan him back to Birmingham for the remainder of the campaign. Even if Begovic stays, Stoke are happy to loan out Butland to a Premier League club next season to give him experience.

Stoke are also set to sign Brek Shea, the versatile United States international, from FC Dallas for around £2million and may take the Bolton Wanderers left-back Marcos Alonso on loan for the rest of the season.

Alonso, 22, is out of contract in the summer and could solve Stoke’s hunt for a left-back after they abandoned their attempt to sign PSV Eindhoven’s Erik Pieters.

Pulis said: “We could certainly do with freshening the place up and bringing a few players in. We have 30 points with 14 games to go but pressure wise, this is probably the greatest I’ve been under in respect of myself.”  TELEGRAPH



QPR's Harry Redknapp to make deadline day raid for Tottenham trio
• Manager goes in for Bentley, Jenas and Townsend
• Christopher Samba and Peter Crouch also in his sights

Harry Redknapp is primed to make a startling raid on his former club Tottenham Hotspur to sign David Bentley, Jermaine Jenas and Andros Townsend as he battles to keep Queens Park Rangers in the Premier League.
The Loftus Road manager has said that his club will be doomed if they cannot beat Thursday night's transfer cut-off to bolster the squad and he also hopes to complete the signing of the Anzhi Makhachkala central defender Christopher Samba for a club record fee. It is the potential purchase of the Tottenham trio, though, that promises to be a major plotline of deadline day.
Bentley's deal expires in the summer of 2014 and Jenas's at the end of this season and Redknapp effectively wants to take over their contracts. Townsend, the young winger, is wanted on loan until the end of the campaign.
The capture of Bentley, in particular, would raise eyebrows, given that Redknapp expressed his frustration with the some-time England winger when they worked together at Tottenham. He could not find a place for him in the team and he sent him on loan to Birmingham City and West Ham. There was also the infamous incident when Bentley drenched Redknapp with water in the boisterous celebrations after Tottenham qualified for the Champions League in 2010, which did not go down well.
Redknapp, though, has always appreciated Bentley's creative talent. The 28-year-old, who joined Tottenham from Blackburn Rovers for £15m in 2008, has just returned from a loan at FC Rostov in Russia and Jenas is back from a loan at Nottingham Forest.
Samba left Anzhi's winter training camp in Marbella on Tuesday without bidding farewell to his team-mates and flew to London, with the Russian club's manager, Guus Hiddink, confirming he expected the deal to go through before the cut-off. QPR have triggered a clause in the 28-year-old's £100,000-a-week contract, thought to be set at £12.5m, with the centre-half keen to return to England.
"It's not a very good situation," said Hiddink. "Samba was with us during this season, began preparations for the winter training camps and suddenly this opportunity arose with an English club. He left for England on Tuesday. Unfortunately we didn't even have a chance to say goodbye to him. He didn't explain anything to us. Everything has developed very quickly." Almost by way of consolation, Anzhi expect to sign the Brazilian winger Willian from Shakhtar Donetsk for around £29m.
Samba would join Yun Suk-young at Loftus Road after the South Korea left-back was granted international clearance and signed a three-and-a-half-year contract. Another defensive target, the Portuguese centre-half Rolando, is expected to complete a six-month loan move to Napoli from Porto, and the Rangers chairman, Tony Fernandes, has seen a second, improved bid for the Fulham centre-back Brede Hangeland rejected. The Craven Cottage club hope to retain their captain until the end of the season. QPR are expected to resume talks with Stoke City over the purchase of Peter Crouch, who has played under Redknapp at Southampton, Tottenham and Portsmouth, though the clubs are some distance apart over a fee for the 32-year-old.
There will be further departures, too, from Loftus Road with the forward DJ Campbell likely to join Hull City in the Championship and Alejandro Faurlín talking to Palermo over a loan move until the end of the seasoN GUARDIAN

Agent: 'Faurlin wanted Palermo'
By Football Italia staff

Alejandro Faurlin “strongly wanted” a loan transfer to Palermo, declared the agent of the QPR midfielder. “He’d be ready to play on Sunday.”
“I can confirm that in the next few hours Faurlin will become a Palermo player,” agent Lucas Cominelli told PalermoNews.it.
“Today an agreement was reached with QPR for his transfer on loan with option to buy. Tomorrow we will arrive in Milan for the medical and he will sign the contract with his new club.
“Alejandro feels joy and liberation after the situation got through an impasse, as QPR had seemed to be resisting against the move. Alejandro had no doubts.
“Alejandro had no doubts in his choice and strongly wanted Palermo. His desire is to give the club support so they can achieve safety, doing everything he can to convince the directors to buy him outright at the end of the season.
“Director Pietro Lo Monaco already wanted him when he was at Catania, but the conditions never arose to make it happen. The player was wanted by other clubs, but Palermo were decisive.”
Agent Cominelli also reassured Palermo over Faurlin’s fitness and suitability for Serie A.
“He is a technical midfielder, capable of making his quality felt in the middle of the park. The comparison with Andrea Pirlo seems an exaggeration, as we are talking about a player from a different planet, even if Alejandro does make vision one of his key characteristics.
“This season he has played 15 out of 25 games with QPR. Lately there has been less room due to the delicate situation of the English club, but he’d be ready to play on Sunday.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition £5,000 monthly. FOOTBALL ITALIA



The Club and its "Associations"
     An ongoing matter of continued "regret" to at least this blogger: That Queen's Park Rangers FC continue to provide a forum on its Official Match Day broadcast show to "QBlockPete" - Pete Davies.  
     Ultimately, obviously the owners and senior management of Queen's Park Rangers Football determine who they want to employ or utilize.  But equally,  QPR supporters - quite a few of whom have been supporting QPR a lot longer than any of the current QPR owners, employees,  or "Associates" - retain the freedom to express their views (whether supportive or critical) and concerns on matters pertaining to QPR.
    If you want to express any views on this matter either privately or publicly, pm me on the QPR Report Messageboard or email at qprreport@hotmail.com

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

QPR Report Wednesday: Manchester City Reports and Redknapp Comments... "Red Nose" QPR Protest Flashback...Board Tweets...Next: Norwich...Waiting for Transfer Deals!

- Three Year Flashback: "Red Nose" Protest at Loftus Road against  Flavio Briatore - as a Plummeting QPR Slump at home to Scunthorpe


PHOTOS FROM QPR vs Manchester City


  - Harry Redknapp has added Yun Suk-Young to his #QPR squad, after the player penned a three-and-a-half year deal at Loftus Road. #QPR

Suk-Young has been granted a work permit and will be eligible to play for the R's once he obtains a visa. #QPR

- Three Year Flashback: "Red Nose" Protest at Loftus Road against  Flavio Briatore - as a Plummeting QPR Slump at home to Scunthorpe

- Reported QPR Target, Peter Crouch Turns 32 Today. (His Stats)

- Next: Norwich - Past Results/Old Photos/Played-for-Both-Teams

- QPR Bert Adinall (RIP) - Would have been 92 Today

Reminder: QPR Fan Forum, February 7

Parliamentary Report on Football Governance

QPR Vs Manchester City

Club Pld Pts
Man Utd 23 56
Man City 24 52
Chelsea 23 45
Tottenham 23 41
Everton 23 38
Arsenal 23 37
Liverpool 23 34
Swansea 24 34
West Brom 23 34
Stoke 24 30
Sunderland 24 29
West Ham 23 27
Norwich 23 26
Fulham 23 25
Newcastle 24 24
Southampton 23 23
Wigan 24 20
Aston Villa 24 20
Reading 23 19
QPR 24 16
View full table



R's boss reflects on Man City draw ...

We’ve put ourselves back within touching distance."
Harry Redknapp
HARRY REDKNAPP hailed another hard-earned point after QPR held Manchester City to a goalless draw on Tuesday night.

Rangers matched their illustrious visitors for long periods in a pulsating encounter as a stand-out display from goalkeeper Julio Cesar preserved a share of the spoils against the champions.

England’s number one Joe Hart came to City’s rescue at the other end, foiling Adel Taarabt after a surging run as the R’s came close to upsetting the odds once again.

“It was an excellent performance,” Redknapp told www.qpr.co.uk. “We defended well, we hit them on the counter-attack a couple of times and had a great opportunity in the first half with a great break from Adel.

“We defended fantastically all over the park, everybody worked hard.

“It was another solid performance, another clean sheet.

“It was another big point for us today.”

Tuesday’s draw continues the R’s unbeaten league run which has seen Redknapp’s side come away unscathed from outings against Chelsea, Tottenham and West Ham.

After reducing the gap to safety to four points, the R’s boss admits the recent revival has breathed fresh life into the R’s bid for survival.

“It’s a fantastic run we’ve been on,” Redknapp said. “When you looked at the games coming and the amount of points we’ve taken and the way we’ve performed, it has been excellent.

“We’ve put ourselves back within touching distance.”

Despite waves of attacks at times from City’s front trio of Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero and David Silva, the R’s weathered the pressure well.

Redknapp paid tribute to the work-rate of his players as the R’s centre-back pairing of Clint Hill and Ryan Nelsen held firm.

He said: “We’re working as hard as we possibly can and clawing out some points.

“Everybody did their jobs, you can’t ask for more than that.

“You look at the quality of the opposition tonight, they’re a fantastic team.

“They rip teams to pieces home and away. You’d take a point off them at any time.

“You have to give everything in these games and that’s what we’re doing.”

With a crucial clash at home to Norwich on Saturday on the horizon, Redknapp admitted a point against the Premier League holders was the perfect preparation.

“Norwich on Saturday is a massive game,” he added. “it’s a game we need to try to win.

“It won’t be easy but if we perform as well as we did tonight we’ve got a chance.” QPR

West London Sport/Dave McIntyre

Rangers secure deserved point against City

Bottom of the table they may be, but QPR are still alive and kicking – and still unbeaten in the league in 2013.

They had to absorb plenty of pressure against the champions, who went close when Pablo Zabaleta headed David Silva’s first-half cross against the bar.

Julio Cesar was also grateful to see Javi Garcia’s wind-assisted 35-yarder flash just wide as Manchester City continued to press.

Rangers, with Fabio on the right of midfield and Loic Remy making his home debut, struggled to create chances before a quick counter-attack brought Joe Hart into action six minutes before the break.

The England keeper raced from his line and produced a fine stop to deny Adel Taarabt after the Moroccan had skipped away from Gael Clichy.

Cesar then atoned for some shaky early moments by diving to his right to push away Gareth Barry’s shot.

He also did well to hold a low shot from Silva midway through the second half and a similar effort from James Milner.

QPR had a shout for a penalty ignored by referee Phil Dowd with 16 minutes remaining, when Remy went down under a challenge from Joleon Lescott near the edge of the box.

Cesar pulled off another good stop late on, blocking from Silva at point-blank range following substitute Edin Dzeko’s low cross.

And City also had an appeal for a penalty waved away after Nedum Onuoha’s challenge on Scott Sinclair.

QPR (4-1-4-1): Cesar; Onuoha, Nelsen, Hill, Traore; Derry; Fabio, Mbia (Faurlin 90), Granero (Park 89), Taarabt; Remy (Zamora 90).
Subs not used: Green, Ben Haim, Murphy, Bothroyd. West
London Sport

West London Sport/Dave Mcintyre

QPR boss Redknapp insists Mackie was injured for City clash
Harry Redknapp insisted Jamie Mackie was absent for QPR’s goalless draw with Manchester City because he has a back injury.

There are doubts about the forward’s future at Loftus Road as Redknapp looks to revamp his squad ahead of Thursday’s transfer deadline.

But the Rangers boss, who named two goalkeepers – Robert Green and Brian Murphy – among his substitutes, was adamant that Mackie was not fit enough to play.

DJ Campbell, meanwhile, missed the match for family reasons.

Mackie was not in the R’s squad.

And a number of the club’s youngsters featured in an Under-21 game earlier in the day.

“He [Mackie] is injured. He did his back. He collided with the goalkeeper in training. He did his back and couldn’t move,” said Redknapp.

“We had two keepers on the bench because we had no-one else,” he added.

Redknapp praised his players for their battling performance against the champions, who dominated much of the game.

City were denied by a combination of determined Rangers defending and important saves from keeper Julio Cesar.

“It was another solid performance and another clean sheet – another big point for us,” Redknapp declared.

“I’m happy with a point against the champions. We defended well and hit them on the couter-attack a couple of times and had a good chance with Adel Taarabt.

“Everyone did their job and you can’t ask for more – and that’s off the back of the games against Chelsea, Tottenham and West Ham. We’re in good form at the moment.

“Cesar’s world class. You only have to look at his record. He’s won everything and is an amazing keeper.”

Ryan Nelsen was given a hero’s send-off by fans – and his team-mates, who formed a guard of honour as he left the pitch – after what is expected to be his final appearance for the club before leaving for Toronto.

Redknapp claimed he is “struggling” to get a centre-back in to replace him but then said: “I’m sure we’ll find someone.” West London Sport

West London Sport/Dave McIntyre

QPR boss unsure whether Crouch will return
Manager Harry Redknapp claims he is unsure whether QPR will be able to push through a deal to take Peter Crouch back to the club.

The England international, popular among R’s fans from his spell at Loftus Road as a youngster, is one of a host of players Redknapp has targeted ahead of this week’s transfer deadline.

Redknapp has long been hoping that Stoke boss Tony Pulis will make Crouch or Kenwyne Jones available if the Potters sign a forward before the window closes.

Pulis indicated after his team’s draw against Wigan – in which Crouch scored – that he would be willing to sell him.

“I’ve always took Crouchy wherever I’ve been. I took him from QPR to Portsmouth and had him at Southampton and Tottenham,” said Redknapp.

“I love him as a player, but whether Stoke will sell him I don’t know. Tony Pulis is a friend of mine. If they do sell Crouchy, I’ll be interested.” West London Sport


Mancini Frustrated at Loftus Road Stalemate

Roberto Mancini ruled out making any last minute additions to his squad after a goalless draw at QPR.

City were on top for long periods against the Rs but a brilliant display from Julio Cesar in goal for the West London side denied the Blues a sixth-successive victory.
“We did everything to win this game but we didn’t score,” said Mancini.
“When you play like this away and you don’t win, it’s incredible - we lost two points here and against West Ham, today was the same game.

...Roberto Mancini...
“The pitch was wet, it was windy, it was difficult - we deserved to win but we have another 14 games to go.”
Cesar made a phenomenal save from Gareth Barry in the first-half and another from David Silva in the latter stages to deny the defending Premier League champions all three points.
It was no surprise to the former Inter manager who brought Cesar to Milan from Flamengo in 2005. “Julio Cesar saved everything and we made some mistakes – on another day maybe we could have scored four goals,” the 48-year old declared.
“Julio is one of the top goalkeepers in the world and he saved his team and I’m very happy for him because I know him very well – even though I’m so disappointed for us.
“I bought him when he was young for nothing and he did very well with me at Inter.”
Despite mounting speculation linking Mario Balotelli with a move to Milan, Mancini indicated that only defensive cover may be sought with two days of the transfer window remaining.

...Roberto Mancini...
“We don’t have anything planned for the last two days [in terms of strikers], it’s very difficult to get a good player now.”  Manchester City Official Site


  1. Thank you tony for all your support.twitter trolls never a problem. RT : Forget the Twitter trolls. ...
  2. Thank you ryan nelsen. You have been an absolute star. Wish you good luck in your new role.
  3. Wasn't at the game. Working hard to sign a couple of players.
  4. I did. Thank you all ranger fans. RT : hope you heard all the support for you tonight, in ...
  5. Well done all players at QPR.
  1. Ryan Nelsen must go to bed every night with the incredible satisfaction of knowing he gave his best that day. We'll miss him & wish him well
  2. So proud of our team today. Played like warriors. We've got a long and tough road ahead but displays like this will keep us up. C'mon UR'ss.

GUARDIAN  Dominic Fifield

Júlio César saves the day as Queens Park Rangers hold Manchester City  

Roberto Mancini offered a shrug on the final whistle and only disappointment mumbled through a rueful smile post-match but, on the night the champions sanctioned the sale of Mario Balotelli to Milan, there was something troubling that Manchester City could muster only a goalless draw against the Premier League's bottom team. An opportunity to cut the gap to Manchester United has been passed up. The title defence feels rather fraught once again.

The leaders can re-establish a seven-point advantage by beating Southampton on Wednesday, which would feel deflating given City had won their previous four matches to suggest they were building up a head of steam. Instead, they are back where they have been too often, peering over a gap that yawned this wide on Boxing Day when they last lost. It was certainly untimely to run aground on Queens Park Rangers' rugged defence on the day Balotelli finally flew the nest. Mancini will not be replacing his £17m compatriot before the cut-off and he admitted the striker may be missed over the remaining 14 games. If it was risky retaining Mario, it may be perilous letting him go.

It should be noted that the departing 22-year-old had managed only one league goal all season and was hardly guaranteed to have illuminated City's display in rain-swept west London. Rather, the visitors lacked Yaya Touré – or perhaps more specifically the rampaging, irrepressible Touré from their title-winning season – who might have driven QPR's midfield into retreat and prised the hosts open had he not been in South Africa with Ivory Coast. Yet this was still no time for Mancini's forward line to draw a blank. Presentable chances were created, despite the home side's impressive huff and puff. None was converted.

The lack of bite may ultimately prove costly. Júlio César thwarted them in eye-catching fashion here, the Brazilian goalkeeper's instinctive block from David Silva's close-range shot as the contest lurched into its closing moments confirmation he would not be beaten. Less forgivable was Joleon Lescott's volley over the bar after César's weak punch, or Pablo Zabaleta's thumped header against the woodwork from Silva's delivery.

Edin Dzeko was flung on to offer a focal point but Clint Hill and Ryan Nelsen were in no mood to be bypassed. The New Zealand defender departed through a guard of honour assembled by his team-mates with this likely to have been his final game in English football with a job as head coach at Toronto in Major League Soccer calling. He will be sorely missed.

It was QPR who blunted City here, their endeavour epitomised by those seasoned centre-halves, the frenetic energy of Stéphane Mbia and Shaun Derry's scuttling in central midfield. It was hard to equate this side's committed display with the shambolic surrender mustered by a second-string at home to MK Dons in the FA Cup on Saturday, though the reality that Harry Redknapp named Rob Green and Brian Murphy on the bench offered a reminder that reinforcements are needed if a four-match unbeaten league run is to be extended into a charge for survival. Nothing quite says "But look how stretched we are, Mr Chairman" quite as effectively as a trio of goalkeepers in an 18-man match-day squad.

Redknapp is waiting on positive news from the owner, Tony Fernandes, over Christopher Samba at Anzhi Makhachkala or Rolando at Porto, Peter Odemwingie at West Bromwich Albion or Peter Crouch at Stoke. Yun Suk-young, the South Korea left-back, should complete his move from Chunnam Dragons on Wednesday. "We could do with getting three or four more," said the manager. "We could get none. And none would leave us in trouble. We need a central defender, that's for sure. The chairman asked me a week ago whether I'd be interested if he could get me Samba. I've left it wholly in his hands. He's working on several options but we're short."

What they lack in quality they made up for here in effort. This is a more robust QPR side now than was the case recently and, having established some defensive solidity, they could probe at times on the counter. Nelsen's fine tackle on Lescott at a City corner sparked their best chance, Adel Taarabt sprinting the length of the pitch in possession to draw a fine save from Joe Hart. Löic Rémy, too, was slippery and will have more profitable evenings than this. Norwich City's visit on Saturday is significant and the recent run of encouraging draws must be converted into a sequence of wins.

Redknapp described this as a bonus point, wary that City can "rip teams to pieces, home or away", but the game to come is "massive". Their gap to safety is only four points. City's to glory could revert to seven on Wednesday night. Guardian

GUARDIAN- Barney Ronay

Manchester City miss Yaya Touré more than Mario Balotelli against QPR
The directness of the Ivorian midfielder, currently in South Africa, was needed to fire City's attack, not their departing

Manchester City are missing the powerful running of their midfielder Yaya Touré, currently with Ivory Coast in the Africa Cup of Nations. Photograph: Alexander Joe/AFP/Getty Images
A run of wins, they said. That's what Queens Park Rangers need to stay up. After a feverishly-fought 0-0 draw against Manchester City on a night of swirling rain at Loftus Road Harry Redknapp, in his role of emergency managerial defibrillator, was at least on the verge of delivering the next best thing: a run of draws. A third consecutive draw inches Rangers along at the bottom.

For City this was a night of much possession, some fine interplay and a slight lack of incision that comes at a most inopportune time. Two points dropped here represents a stilling of the momentum that had kept Manchester United's lead at the top of the Premier League to five points. Separately this is a blank that coincides – yes always him: even now – with the departure of a £17m striker. City's attacks did lack a telling variation, although the absent ingredient was not Mario Balotelli but Yaya Touré, missed for the first time since his departure for South Africa. Touré's direct running would have provided an ideal attacking counterpoint to the embroidery of City's midfield as Rangers dropped deep and the pitch grew heavier.

Not that it seem likely to be an issue in the opening half hour. With Javi García providing a seamless stop-gap in central defence, Carlos Tevez, Sergio Agüero, and David Silva all seemed to fancy this wet Tuesday night from the off, arranging themselves in a rotating forward three of gnome-like industry. If this match was always likely to be in part Viking funeral for Balotelli's City career, the early stages threatened to emphasise the well-grooved striking riches that remain.

As the half wore on though Rangers' defenders accustomed themselves admirably to City's scurrying threat. City still have Edin Dzeko to provide a more direct route to goal, the Bosnian not only out-scoring Balotelli – provider of 20 goals in the Premier League over two and half years – but also providing a more adhesive presence. Dzeko duly arrived just before the hour, with the match at that stage resembling not so much champions against bottom club as a meeting of rough equivalents.

For the past couple of seasons this fixture has seemed to provide instead a poignant reflection of contrasting approaches to the billionaire's burden. City 2.0, for all the £930.4m total spend, somehow still manage to convey a sense of managed revolution. Rangers on the other hand are a lesson in how not to do it. Since Tony Fernandes bought the club in 2011 19 players have been recruited, many on embarrassingly overblown wages, the club resembling a footballing equivalent of the kind of lottery millionaire who blows it all on helicopters and model race tracks and ends up forgetting to buy a roof to sleep under.

The appointment of Redknapp at such a late stage resembled at first glance the managerial equivalent of tossing aside the empty ammo drums and charging over the top with bayonets fixed. Not so this evening. Rangers were solid at the back and disciplined in midfield, while throughout this rackety old shed of an urban football stadium resounded to chants of "Tony Fernandes".

Rangers' early midfield scuffles were applauded wildly and, Pablo Zabaleta's header on to the bar aside, Rangers had the most clearcut chance of the first half. Adel Taarabt, breaking from inside his own half, did everything right, stepping past Gaël Clichy and attempting a dinked finish. Joe Hart's sprint from his line to save at his feet was electrifying stuff.

With Redknapp putting his faith in Rangers' receding core of promotion‑season survivors, Shaun Derry was immensely busy in midfield, shuttling left to right in search of balls to snaffle, colleagues to upbraid. At one point, in danger of being bypassed, he simply sat on Samir Nasri. Along with Clint Hill, restored to the captaincy in place of the bafflingly ineffectual Park Ji-Sung, Derry provided the main sense of resistance while Júlio Cesar produced some outstanding saves throughout: one leaping, firm-wristed palm away from Gareth Barry's shot was the defining image of the night. A result that might yet provide a renewed shift of momentum at the top of the table depended in large part on the Brazilian's decisiveness at vital moments.

With Tevez removed on 73 minutes in favour of Jack Rodwell there was at last a sense City may have been briefly regretting the departure of a man who did, for all his flaws, provide the odd – albeit increasingly unexpected – moment of the unexpected. More than this though, they seemed to miss Touré's thrust on a night that was a reminder, towards the end, not of the fragile charms of the season's grandest striking disappointment, but instead of where the genuine strengths of City still lie. Guardian


The Club and its "Associations"
     An ongoing matter of continued "regret" to at least this blogger: That Queen's Park Rangers FC continue to provide a forum on its Official Match Day broadcast show to "QBlockPete" - Pete Davies.  
     Ultimately, obviously the owners and senior management of Queen's Park Rangers Football determine who they want to employ or utilize.  But equally,  QPR supporters - quite a few of whom have been supporting QPR a lot longer than any of the current QPR owners, employees,  or "Associates" - retain the freedom to express their views (whether supportive or critical) and concerns on matters pertaining to QPR.
    If you want to express any views on this matter either privately or publicly, pm me on the QPR Report Messageboard or email at qprreport@hotmail.com

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