A deserved win in the end and our favourite score of course but QPR, even though they were very poor, created enough havoc in our box, particularly in the first half, that things might’ve been different on another day.
It was often more Sunday than Premier League as the low sunlight, the terrible terrible pitch and referee Pawson’s determination to live up to the opening syllable of his surname all made things difficult for the players. From the off we moved the ball around well despite there being more bobbles than in a ski hat shop. Kane was our main danger of course and the header he had tipped over by Green was the closest we came during the opening spell despite a number of corners and loads of possession. Some indecision in defence plus some sheer bad judgement (Kyle Walker) gave the home side hope and Bobby Zamora, as is usual against us, suddenly started to play more like Tommy Lawton than the wardrobe he turns up as against other sides. Despite Dier being the better player, I wonder if Pochettino is now thinking that Fazio should’ve been given a go against the big lad.
Austin hit the bar and Hugo saved superbly against the same player a couple of times to keep us level. We seemed to be getting muscled off the ball too often as the ref allowed Henry, Zamora, Onouha and Sandro to make their more physical approach count. Mason and Bentaleb fought manfully but Chadli and others struggled. Out of the blue we scored when Harry scored from Townsend’s freekick by climbing above the QPR defence and the foolishly over committed Green to head into an empty net. Even though Walker should’ve done better when played into a shooting position on the break, it was still a surprise to find us in the lead at the break.
Our attack could ditch the Ray Bans after half time as the sun started to dip below the stands and the difference was obvious as we ripped the home defence apart time after time. Eriksen hit the post and had a shot cleared off the line, Walker was put clean through by Kane who himself forced Green into a smart save at his near post. At the other end Austin was quiet but Zamora was chucking his weight around effectively and Hugo also had to defend his near stick from a drive from Big Bobby after the latter had pawed off Dier. Whilst all this was going on Ryan Mason was having a stormer of a game in the middle and his lovely ball between Caullker and Ferdinand put Kane and Chadli clean through with the former scoring confidently after using Chadli ‘by not using him’ as the famous phrase goes. Thankfully the potato field of a pitch didn’t intervene.
It appeared then as though it was just a matter of how many as the home players’ heads dropped and the already quiet crowd continued their snoozing. Sandro’s goal from nowhere changed things however and all of a sudden, mostly via the means of the hoof, QPR applied some pressure. The closest they came though was with a couple of desperate penalty appeals neither of which was as clear cut as Ferdinand’s manhandling of Dier at set pieces. Pawson did distribute his incompetence fairly. Dembele was subbed on and his strength helped immediately in relieving the pressure and seeing us through to the end.
Kane’s brace probably got him the man of the match award but Mason was outstanding behind him with Bentaleb excellent as well. Big stage and big name next week as Pochettino tries to become the third Spurs manager in three years to win at Old Trafford. And why shouldn’t he? COYS.
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