It wouldn’t surprise me at all if a visitor to White Hart Lane on Monday found their way blocked by police tape as it really should be marked out as crime scene. A very fortunate three points, almost the dictionary definition of daylight robbery.
The effort, energy and appetite of the QPR players in the first half put ours to shame. We were unable to find a millisecond of time or a square yard of space as the away side pressed and harried all over the field. There were several occasions when we couldn’t even pass across the back four safely such was the swarm of red and white (horrible by the way) shirts. In possession the Rangers players moved the ball around quickly and threateningly with Hoilett & Faurlin catching the eye. Zamora’s goal was no more than the away side deserved.
Lennon was the only attacking player providing any sort of threat as the side looked unbalanced, listless and subdued. Sigurdsson and Defoe were anonymous, Bale (at left back), Dempsey and Sandro incompetent and Dembélé struggling for time and space. QPR were totally dominant as the boos rang out at h-t, Friedel’s reflexes were the only reason we were still in touch.
As it turned out though, it was the system not the players…. A switch at half-time with Sigurdsson coming off, Dempsey moving inside, Vertonghen moving to left back and Caulker coming in alongside Gallas improved things immediately but we were still second best until an extraordinary 2 minute spell on the hour mark. Caulker got on the end of Bale’s corner and knocked it back into the middle. Faurlin flinched and turned away from the ball instead of towards it and it rebounded off his back past a spellbound Cesar. A few seconds later Dembélé was strong in the tackle and Vertonghen led the break which ended when Defoe fired past a defender on the line having collected the rebound of Bale’s shot against the crossbar.
The game had turned on its head completely. The goals seemed to knock the stuffing out of both QPR and their supporters. A superb intervention from Vertonghen at the feet of Hoilett apart, Rangers never seriously threatened in the last third of the game and the away end, noisy when things were going well, were silent. Blue seats started appearing well before the end. We were far more likely to increase our lead than suffer an equaliser as Defoe, Bale and Lennon all had chances on the break.
Rangers will no doubt be disappointed but they did run out of steam as the game went on and failed to make the most of their early total supremacy. Granero looks a piece of work. Cynically fouling from beginning to end, he should’ve been awarded a yellow long before he was. When the Spaniard queried Dowd when he finally reached for his cards, the chubster looked like a weather vane in a whirlwind as he pointed in turn to all the areas of the field where Granero had left his mark.
Vertonghen was the pick of our players. His mobility and confidence on the ball were allowed full rein when he was moved to the left and he impressed. Caulker too looked ready for more first team action. Man United next week. No Rooney at least. COYS.
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