Spurs vs QPR
After detonating Reading in the Premier League last Sunday, this time we see QPR come to the Lane as Andre Villas-Boas looks for his first home win.
Last season saw us blow the super hoops away 3-1, as Gareth Bale struck twice and Rafael van der Vaart put the visitors away.
It will be a much-changed QPR side this Sunday that will pose us several questions due to their new recruits.
Here are 5 keys to Spurs vs QPR
1. Spurs vs QPR defence
The QPR defence was much maligned at the start of the season as they let in five to Swansea on the opening day, before escaping Carrow Road with a point.
Since then they have rung the changes, bringing in plenty of new faces prior to the transfer window closing. New goalkeeper Robert Green has been given the axe, Jose Bosingwa has come in on the right side of defence and Ryan Nelson is forming a solid partnership with Anton Ferdinand.
They were able to keep Manchester City to just 7 shots on target, as they frustrated the Champions for the best part on an hour. Then last weekend, they kept a clean sheet against Chelsea, keeping them to just 4 shots on target.
The reason is the solid tackling and also QPR are intercepting the ball in the opposition half of the field.
Against Chelsea, QPR made 30 of 33 tackles and 6 of their 13 interceptions were in the Chelsea half.
Spurs are going to have to be patient and will need to look to create chances by attacking the inside-right channel behind Ryan Nelson. In his two starts alongside Anton Ferdinand, both Chelsea and Man City were able to fashion opportunities in behind the big kiwi centre-half.
If Nelson starts, then Spurs must look to expose his lack of speed and mobility, Aaron Lennon could be just the man to do it.
2. QPR Full backs
Since the arrival of Jose Bosingwa, QPR have really liked to push their full backs on. Bosingwa more so than Fabio, but both are active in getting forward.
QPR could be without Fabio, who only lasted 19 minutes against Chelsea before coming off with a hamstring injury. Jose Bosingwa switched sides in that match and Nedum Onuoha played at right back, but the Portuguese international is a threat on either side.
Against Chelsea, Bosingwa started on the right then moved to the left, but was still an outlet all match, looking to get up the pitch and beat Branislav Ivanovic.
He received the ball 52 times in total and attempted 6 take-ons.
QPR would probably like to get Bosingwa down their right to go against Kyle Naughton. However, if he plays on the left due to Fabio being out, Kyle Walker will need to contain his forward runs.
3. SWP and JSP
QPR have operated from a 4-4-2 base, but their wide players have functioned in different ways. Shaun Wright-Phillips has been used out wide on the right as a conventional winger, where as Ji-Sung Park cuts inside from the left.
If we look at the two in turn on Stats Zone we can see how they function.
Against Man City, Shaun Wright Phillips comes very narrow to receive the ball in his own half. QPR like their defenders to pass it short to a midfield player from the back when they gain possession. Both Park and Wright Phillips come inside to receive the ball should it not go to Alejandro Faurlin.
Once across halfway, he gets the ball wide on the right wing, as QPR like to move the ball down this side through him.
Against Chelsea he sees less of the ball, but still stays on his right side.
As for Ji-Sung Park, he works his way inside from the left flank.
Against Man City, we can see how Park drops quite deep to take the ball from the defenders and also his left back. In the opposition side of the field he receives the ball quite wide just over the halfway line, but then comes inside to get involved in more central areas. He only receives one pass out wide above the penalty area.
Against Chelsea last weekend, QPR had more of the ball and so played higher up the field. Ji-Sung Park once again receives the ball out wide just over the halfway line, but further up the field he comes inside, especially when in the penalty area.
As a result he gets shots away from central locations as he tries to work his way inside. This includes arriving late in the box for a header that he put straight at Petr Cech from close range.
4. Stop Alejandro Faurlin dictating from deep
Spurs will need to stop Alejandro Faurlin having too much of an influence on the game. The Argentinean, as mentioned before is the main outlet for the defence. He takes the ball and moves it left and right to get it to the wide players, as well as playing it short to Esteban Granero.
He receives the most passes per game of any QPR player and operates across the entire pitch. If we look at his performance last week against Chelsea, we can see how much he gets the ball in and around the centre-circle, then passes it out wide to instigate attacks.
It’s not just with the ball that Alejandro Faurlin is a problem; he is also a solid defender. He makes 3.5 successful tackles per match and also intercepts the ball 2.5 times, proving to be a pest in the middle of the park.
5. Esteban Granero the danger man
Esteban Granero was linked with a move to Spurs in the summer, but ended up going to Loftus Road. In his two appearances for QPR so far, he has proved to be a destructive force.
He plays just in advance of Alejandro Faurlin and is the target for the Argentinean’s short passes. Granero can then move the ball out to Ji–Sung Park and Shaun Wright-Phillips, as well as vertically.
If we look at his performance against Chelsea, we can see how he receives the ball in and around the centre-circle, mainly from Faurlin. He also receives it in the channels slightly further forward.
He then moves it out to Park and Wright-Phillips, but unlike Faurlin, looks to slide in passes down the channels for the strikers. He was unlucky against Chelsea, as three of his four attempted passes in to the box were unsuccessful, as highlighted by the red lines. One though, highlighted by the blue line was on target and created a scoring chance.
Spurs will need to be aware of Esteban Granero looking to get Bobby Zamora and in the absence of Andrew Johnson, the nippy Djibril Cisse, in down the channels. Sandro and Moussa Dembele will need to counter in Granero in this zone.
Spurs vs QPR conclusions
QPR certainly won’t be any pushovers this Sunday at the Lane. Mark Hughes has given his squad a full on makeover and hasn’t been afraid to dump players that haven’t been performing.
They put on a good display to draw with a rampant Chelsea side last weekend and were unlucky not to grab all three points. Had Bobby Zamora or Ji-Sung Park taken their chances then they could be coming to the Lane on a high.
Esteban Granero will be the key man to keep in check this weekend, as well as stopping Alejandro Faurlin from controlling the game from deep. Whoever starts in the advanced midfield position out of Gylfi Sigurdsson or Clint Dempsey will have a major role to play by picking up Faurlin when we don’t have the ball. Moussa Dembele and Sandro can then focus on making it difficult for Granero to pick his passes.
Spurs vs QPR match prediction: Spurs 2 QPR 0