No, not really. Queens Park Rangers have a completely new team this season with 15 new signings made during the summer. So it was always going to take time for the newcomers to bed in and for the team to gel overall. It was recently reported that QPR now have the fifth lowest wage bill in the Championship so the mid-table League position is a good achievement so far. Players’ salaries at Loftus Road have been dramatically reduced by 70% during the past four years. A big positive has been the exciting advancement of several young players this season and that has been very satisfying to watch. The R’s always had a strong policy of developing their own youngsters when I was growing up in the 1970’s and 1980’s so it is great to see that aspect returning to the club.
Before the Bees’ 3-1 win in the return fixture you touched on the defensive fragilities of this QPR side. Having conceded the second-highest number of goals in the division to date, while still remaining in play-off contention, do you think they will be looking to bolster their ranks in that area this month?
Possibly. The boss Mark Warburton has said that Rangers might be able to utilise the loan market this month. There isn’t any money to spend on new signings. But that’s not because of financial difficulties. QPR continue to have very rich owners. They have tried to spend big in the past and have now been heavily fined for that policy due to Financial Fair Play regulations. My own viewpoint on this is that a football club should be allowed to spend whatever they want on players so long as this becomes the owners’ debt and not the club’s debt. This has been the policy at Queens Park Rangers where there is very little external debt. With this model, spending cannot threaten a club’s future.
Which player should Brentford fans be keeping an eye on this afternoon?
Bright Osayi-Samuel has been outstanding in recent games as a wide attacking player. He scored a potential QPR goal of the season away to Birmingham City where he dribbled from his own half and left a trail of defenders in his wake. Then he struck two more against Cardiff City on New Year’s Day. Bright has electrifying pace and is a nightmare for defenders to play against.
Knowing this game will be the last west London derby at Griffin Park, how are Rangers likely to approach it?
Mark Warburton has gone on record as saying that he is happy if QPR outscore their opponents in high-scoring games. Maybe this was tongue-in-cheek, but I think it will be a case of all-out attack. With both teams happy to play good passing football, we can expect goals and decent entertainment.
How is Mark Warburton likely to set up his side?
It is likely to be a 4-2-3-1 although wing-backs have also been deployed this season. At times, there have been two Number 10’s marauding forward in the shape of skilful starlets Eze and Chair.
What’s your score prediction?
I watch Brentford quite a lot in my reporting work and enjoy their expansive style of football. Having sold 28 goal leading scorer Neal Maupay during the summer, the Bees have ended up with a better team with Ollie Watkins in sensational form after being switched to a central striking role. Thomas Frank is a very astute manager and also behaves like a perfect gentleman whenever I have interviewed him. So this afternoon, I am predicting a pulsating score draw…Brentford 5 Queens Park Rangers 5.
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