Premier League: 5 keys to QPR vs Spurs (a)

QPR vs Spurs is up next for us in the Premier League, so we take a look at what to expect from Chris Ramsey’s side.

Harry Redknapp jumping ship at the end of the transfer window has left QPR in a real predicament. Chris Ramsey has been put in charge till the end of the season and although he is trying to implement some changes, a lot of the old problems remain.

So, what can we expect and what should we be on the lookout for in QPR vs Spurs on Saturday? Here are 5 keys to the game.

1. Where QPR concede

Most teams have a weakness in their defence, a vulnerability that the opposition can successfully exploit.

With QPR the problems they have had with shipping goals from all angles has been a constant throughout the season. It is still to change since Chris Ramsey took over and has been compounded by playing a semi high-ish line under the new manager.

With their either ageing or sluggish centre backs, Rangers are vulnerable to the ball played in-behind. With their chopping and changing of average or inexperienced full backs, they have also been vulnerable to teams that get beyond them to square or pull the ball back.

QPR’s last two opponents at home have exposed both of these situations in different ways. Southampton went over the top to use the speed of Mane and Elia against the much slower Steven Caulker and Richard Dunne.


Sadio Mane jets in-behind the high QPR line.


Southampton chances created against QPR.

On Wednesday night, Arsenal went at the inexperienced full backs of Yun Suk-Young and Darnell Furlong.


Arsenal chances created against QPR.

The one constant that has been there is QPR’s susceptibility to conceding through their inside right channel. Southampton were looking to run in-behind, but eventually broke the deadlock, as Maya Yoshida found Sadio Mane with a simple pass through this avenue.


Southampton in the QPR inside right channel.

Arsenal also opened the scoring as Alexis Sanchez got in to this same space to release Kieran Gibbs. The full back’s deflected cross/shot was prodded home by Olivier Giroud.


Alexis Sanchez in the inside right channel.

Sanchez also had another shot from the same channel, which was well saved by Robert Green down at his near post. Later, he and Giroud robbed the centre back and made a mess of what was a clean through opportunity on keeper in this channel also.

QPR’s vulnerability through here is nothing new, it’s a channel we got in to time and again in Spurs 4 QPR 0 at the Lane. Three of our four goals came through here and it should be the focus of the Tottenham tactics for QPR vs Spurs once again.

2. Stopping the right side

Since Chris Ramsey has taken over, QPR have become a side that heavily attacks down the right. Just as he did when at Spurs during Tim Sherwood’s reign, Ramsey is trying to get them to become more of a crossing team. The focus is on moving the ball to Matthew Phillips and his right back in order to deliver in to the box.

Arsenal were effective at either clearing the crosses through Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista (later Laurent Koscielny). Or they stopped the ball coming in by making tackles and interceptions at source out on the right side.


Arsenal stopped the crosses at source.

Southampton were a bit more aggressive in their approach in their visit to Loftus Road. The Saints also cleared the crosses away through Jose Fonte and Florin Gardos, but they forced QPR back up the line through tackling.


Southampton tackling pushes QPR back.

With Rangers attempting 68% of their crosses so far during Ramsey’s reign from the right flank, this will be a key battleground in QPR vs Spurs on Saturday. The selection of players down our left and how aggressive they are to stopping it will go a long way in who emerges victorious.

3. Press or lure out?

QPR have been a front foot team all season at home, trying to get their crowd going and to feed off them.

What’s been interesting is that both Arsenal and Southampton played on the counter attack when they visited Loftus Road. This drew QPR’s backline up the field whereby their lack of pace in the centre back positions and the inexperience of their full backs could be exposed.

Mauricio Pochettino’s high pressing style has been in evidence with increasing frequency as the season has gone on and the players’ fitness has improved. His inclusion of a powerful player at the number ten position in Mousa Dembele has improved the intensity of our ball recovery. While the pressing game could overwhelm QPR on Saturday, he may also need to consider drawing them up the field if it doesn’t. Nacer Chadli, Erik Lamela and Harry Kane can all run in-behind against their slower defence and so this would make a good plan B to have up his sleeve.

4. Set pieces

QPR are a big side and have been a threat from set pieces all season, especially corners.

Due to their possession, they have taken the fifth fewest corners in the Premier League this term. However, they manage to find their targets when taking them, with only West Ham managing to get more shots away from corners this season.

Under Harry Redknapp, QPR would try and get two men at the near post (F), three in the middle (C) and one at the back post to clear up (B).


Redknapp corner routine: 2 front (F), 3 central (C), 1 back post (B).

Under Chris Ramsey they go for just one man at the near post (F), one in the centre (C), but three at the back (B). Plus they use a sweeper on the edge of the box.


Ramsey corner routine: 1 front (F), 1 central (C), 3 back post (B).

Just like dealing with their crossing, coping with their corners will be a key area to QPR vs Spurs on Saturday.

5. Errors

Not a game seems to go by for Spurs recently without talking about silly errors giving away chances and goals. After the Liverpool, West Ham and Fiorentina games saw us gift goals through defensive lapses, we also gave Chelsea and Swansea a helping hand.

The reason this is so important is that QPR have also gifted chances and goals to the opposition. Steven Caulker’s dawdling on the ball and then turning it over on Wednesday night was a prime example. So far this season we’ve committed 16 defensive errors that have led to a chance in the Premier League according to OPTA, whereas QPR have made 20. The winner on Saturday may just be the side that makes the least mistakes.

QPR vs Spurs outlook

QPR have won just 1 of their last 10 Premier League matches, losing seven, which should mean they are their for the taking. However, we have only beaten them at Loftus Road once in our last six attempts and so nothing can be taken for granted.

Selection of speed players is essential here to get in-behind and beyond their back line. Whether we attack the space behind their centre backs or look to get beyond their full backs and square the ball, chances will be there for us if we play this right.

QPR vs Spurs prediction: QPR 1 Spurs 2.

QPR vs Spurs betting

With early goals and also Nacer Chadli’s propensity to pop up behind opposition defences on counter attacks, these dominate my bets this weekend.

Tottenham to win 2-1 at 8/1 with 888sport.
HT/FT: Draw/Tottenham at 4/1 with BetVictor.
Nacer Chadli score anytime 9/4 with Betfair.
Goal in 1st 15 minutes at 2/1 with 888sport.


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10 Responses to Premier League: 5 keys to QPR vs Spurs (a)

  1. iain 6th March 2015 at 8:17 pm #

    If memory serves me right, qphaha went with a suicidal back 3 at the lane and we had time, space and numbers between the lines as they just couldn’t play the system. I agree that we need pace wide and also width. Lotus road is a small pitch and they will surely try and squeeze us like every other team. I’m we can’t play eriksen wide of our midfield 3. Play him at 10 and look to stay wide by playing Chadli or how about pushing rose forward and Davis behind? If we put either lamella or Townsend over there always look out of sorts and just cut inside anyway

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 7th March 2015 at 11:51 am #

      They did start with a back three and got torn apart. No defensive midfielder also helped us get between the lines. It’s no coincidence that was one of Lamela’s better games as he is a threat against team’s that give up space here and he can run with the ball centrally.

      Like the idea of playing Rose ahead of Davies on the left here.

  2. brian 6th March 2015 at 11:04 pm #

    Great reasoning again Mark.But as you have pointed out,and something that has concerned my for some time now.Is the bloody defensive errors.One can accept that every now and again,mistakes,will occur.But until we cut our error rate down,by at least 50%,and more with a bit of luck.We are for ever going to be scrambling to keep up with the so called top four.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 7th March 2015 at 11:52 am #

      The errors have been a concern recently Brian. I’m trying to figure out if it’s mental or physical fatigue, but it seems to be a bit of both.

  3. Ashley Collie 7th March 2015 at 4:35 am #

    Mark, have you done a post on why we are conceding so many goals? A lot of opposition goals seem to be coming from close in, inside our PK area. Cheatski didn’t even let us get in there, they parked the bus and took out our creative sparks (Eriksen, Kane) and didn’t let us get a sniff. I’m wondering why are letting them get into our PK area? I’m not picking on our lads, and I’m sure it’s evident to MoPo and staff but we’re creating the problems outside our area. All of these are instances we’ve seen this season: Rose attacking so high up and letting his man go (Welbeck was it) into PK area; Bentaleb or Mason not tracking back or giving away the silly FK for Gylfi just outside our PK which started their goal; Walker laying too far off his man just outside; other FKs given away just outside; and, yes, we also have mind-numbing giveaways from Fazio and others in midfield. I don’t think I’ve recently seen an opposition player just taking us on and scoring, many of our conceded goals seem to come from these mistakes just outside our area which leads to goals. What say you, Mark? Cheers mate!

    • anotherwisemonkey 7th March 2015 at 12:05 pm #

      I second Ashley’s request for an in-depth piece on this. It could be key in our race for the top 4.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 7th March 2015 at 12:08 pm #

      I haven’t done a post as yet Ashley. They seem to be coming in a number of different ways, a fair few you have highlighted. My thoughts are that:

      – High line being exposed to pace as neither Verts, Fazio or Dier are particularly quick to recover.
      – Impetuous defending by the likes of Rose and Vertonghen who dive in needlessly when high up the pitch.
      – Poor tracking by players in the wide positions eg Eriksen when on the left and Townsend when on the right.
      – Full backs open to being exposed by their high positioning, but this is the system we play.
      – Sloppy turnovers by those in vulnerable positions eg JV and Fazio blunders against Fiorentina. Bentaleb and Mason against Liverpool, Dembele vs West Ham.

      Some numbers that highlight what may be wrong here:
      – We are 11th highest in overall shots conceded per game
      – We have the 5th highest shots conceded from inside the box
      – We have conceded the most ‘big chances’ this season (53) in the Premier League. This is a situation OPTA classifies as when an opponent is ‘reasonably expected to score eg from a 1v1 situation or close to the goal line.’

      I think these numbers are damning in terms of that the system allows us to press and control possession, but when we do get exposed, usually from an error, then the opposition is afforded a very good chance of scoring. Your examples highlight the number of times we’ve done this and given up a good chance to score in the box.

      • iain 7th March 2015 at 1:39 pm #

        Its amazing that we have conceded 53 “big chances” and a testament to Hugo that we haven’t let in that many goals! 6 clean sheets says it all. Individual errors seem to be the key: lapses of concentration in midfield, 2 full backs who use speed instead of positioning and a young/inexperienced in prem league cb paired with one who plays so much on the front foot he’s often dived in and been bypassed.
        How do you change it? Thats the million pound question – which teams have got the balance of defence with attack right? Maybe Liverpool with their back 3 but they conceded plenty of chances against us recently!

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 12th March 2015 at 2:51 pm #

      Hi Ashley, you can find a post on the state of our defence under Mauricio Pochettino here.

  4. Ashley Collie 8th March 2015 at 5:48 am #

    After today’s battling win, 4P off third and 3P off fifth, wow — even with such a young team, average age just under 24 for today’s line-up, and all those in the box shots given up, and all those mistakes and so few clean sheets. Wow! Something is balancing out all our obstacles…will power, youth, energy, fitness, all of the above? Okay, several times recently, we’ve had a chance to move into top-4/5 but haven’t…draw vs WHam, loss vs Pool. Got another shot vs ManUre…one of these days, as Pink Floyd sang, we’re going to cut you into little pieces, or something equivalent, eh?! COYS!