*Sigh* QPR, what happened? No, really, what happened?
From the 5-0 loss at home to Swansea on the first day of the season, QPR never really recovered, having to wait until game 17 to register their first win (Redknapp took over on/around game 13). A 2-win ‘streak’ at the beginning of March gave a glimmer of hope that was promptly snuffed out by losses to Villa and Fulham. And despite the money spent in January, QPR’s form in the last 14 games of the season averaged 0.64pts per game – over a 38 game season that form would have yielded a total even lower than they achieved.
There was little room for error considering the rates that QPR were scoring and conceding all season: games would have to be won with clinicism and dogged defending yet QPR were characterised by profligacy and errors at the back. According to EPL Index (Opta) stats, QPR conceded 14 goals as a direct result of errors, second only to Wigan. Removing the goals lost to errors from their results would have given QPR 11 more points. Sure, every team will suffer from errors at some point, but imagine the possible effect on West Ham’s season if they had made double figures in errors leading to goals: they were actually =2nd with only 4 goals from errors.
QPR had 18 ‘tall’ players last year, more than any other squad, and generally more than average in the line-up. Having said that, the overall average playing height of the team was below average – this suggests that the shorter players on the team were sufficiently short to bring down the overall mean, probably something to do with SWP.
These graphs are a glimpse of what could have been. QPR fielded no players for more than 2800mins, and only Clint Hill had as many as 2400-2800mins. Hughes/Redknapp just couldn’t work out their best starting line-up – so much turnover, of which some was down to injuries, some self-inflicted. Argh! What makes it worse is that in every section, QPR player’s scores were better than the league average. However that may not count for too much because their best players are being compared with most of the league’s squad players.
In any case, like Norwich in the review before whose players ‘underperformed’ according to TPOEM, QPR’s players ‘outperformed’. So I’ll repeat myself – there are many things TPOEM doesn’t capture: like leadership (player or coach), tactics, luck (which cannot be ruled out in a 38 game season) and the effect of game states on team/player stats. It looks to have been a perfect storm of events that combined to relegate a QPR squad that has more quality than it showed.
- Second highest number of tackles (817)
- Highest ground duel % won: 53%
- 4th most dribbles attempted (657)
- Worst goals per shots on target ratio of 20%
- Fewest final third passes attempted with 3928 – why pass when you can shoot or dribble instead?!
It’s pretty hard to pick out best performers, knowing full well that very few players deserve credit in whatever it was that happened last season. But when Taarabt was good, he was very good. And Remy and Townsend performed pretty well offensively following their January moves.
Defensively Nelson seemed to have the best stats so he was a big loss to the team as Samba couldn’t quite settle fast enough to fill his shoes. And Hoilett gave nothing like the sort of heroics he offered Blackburn last season.
A bit of a mess in terms of player contributions across the squad, not helped by the fact that few players had enough playing time to give any serious influence. In TPOEM’s opinion Taarabt was still the most valuable player QPR had.