Spurs vs QPR is next up for us in the Premier League, but what will Harry Redknapp bring to the Lane on his return?
After some heroics in the final minutes to break a 0-0 deadlock against West Ham, we come up against another opponent that actually managed to hold us to a goalless draw last time we met. That game saw Harry Redknapp’s first against us for QPR after we sacked him; Sunday will see his first return to the Lane since then.
So, what can we expect and what should be the Tottenham tactics for Spurs vs QPR this time?
Spurs vs QPR long ball and crossing
Harry is famed for not getting bogged down in tactical chess and letting his players play. His teams have always been given freedom and the goal is to get the ball in the box. This has always been from crossing, but since taking over at QPR it has seen him move to the long ball to compliment it.
Now, this isn’t just hoof it up field in the Big Sam style looking for a giant target man in Andy Carroll. What it has been about are more calculated passes in to the space looking for a runner.
QPR try to draw the opposition out. Then what they are looking for are balls played over the top or in to space to take advantage of Loic Remy’s running.
As we can see from last week’s Premier League match with Hull, these passes are usually hit towards the channels. They are also used to get the play out to the wingbacks, who are looking to get forward and supply crosses for Remy and Charlie Austin.
The key mover of the ball is Joey Barton. Love him or loath him, the controversial midfielder has always had a nice touch and range of passing on the field.
Harry Redknapp takes advantage of this by having him move the ball, often over distance. Barton looks to switch the play quickly from side-to-side, move it up field to Austin and Remy, whilst also delivering good service from free-kicks and corners.
The Tottenham tactics for Spurs vs QPR should see us look to close Barton down early and make it difficult for him to move the ball. This is easier said than done as he does it from a much deeper position on the field and therefore can be difficult to pick up.
Loic Remy’s runs
The idea from the long balls is to take advantage of Loic Remy’s two best assets. Those are his strength to win/hold the ball up and his speed to run off opponents and beat them by dribbling.
Remy is a handful and we can see from QPR’s game with Hull how he works both sides of the pitch, as QPR find him with longer passes.
These rarely are hit up for him to win in the air, but are most often looking to play in to his feet or on the run. Remy is very quick and able to beat his opponent 1v1 off the dribble.
His nice move to slip by the defender and take a shot that stung the palms of Allan McGregor last weekend were a microcosm of what he is all about.
Remy is not so much of a danger when you force him away from goal and turn him in to a passer. This is what we should do and what the Tottenham tactics for Spurs vs QPR should focus on making him.
QPR Set pieces
With their three centre back system, QPR are trouble at set pieces as they can send all their big men forward. We faced a well drilled set piece team last week in West Ham that focus on covering the six-yard box with five players.
QPR like to get six men in the penalty area as they can send an additional centre back. Richard Dunne, Rio Ferdinand and especially Steven Caulker are all strong in the air, as are Loic Remy and Charlie Austin.
The other difference is that rather than set up in zones across the six-yard box as the Hammers do, QPR will move to their positions on the run, often from a central bunch.
This means that they usually fill lanes rather than spaces as we can see here. Each man has a lane to run down rather than filling a designated space to encircle the six-yard box like West Ham does. They go two to the front post (F), followed by three central trailers (C) and a man sweeping in at the back (B).
Hull cleared this header off the line, but QPR’s aerial presence from corners was a threat all match.
Later, Rio Ferdinand found himself with a guilt-edged chance from a knockdown, but fluffed his touch when right in front of goal. The six players running the lanes was again evident, with two at the front post (F) followed by a trailing set of three central (c) and man at the back (B).
The Tottenham tactics for Spurs vs QPR will need to see us well aware at their corner threat. For all he was or wasn’t at Spurs, Steven Caulker was a serious danger from set pieces with his height, strength and leaping ability.
Where QPR concede chances
After focussing on much of what they do well, QPR concede chances through the channels between the left side of their centre back trio.
Rio Ferdinand anchors the middle, but to his left is the equally ageing Richard Dunne and they can be opened up through here. Rio (35) doesn’t have his pace anymore and can be got at when left exposed or 1v1. Dunne is 34-years old and has always relied on his positioning and timing over speed, but that is now beginning to show.
Hull last week scored off a corner whereby Ferdinand’s lack of quickness, and surprisingly strength, was exposed. They created other good chances through the channel between Ferdinand and Dunne, the best of which was missed by Tom Ince.
The Tottenham tactics for Spurs vs QPR should see us try to get fast runners such as Erik Lamela and Emmanuel Adebayor in to this channel. Whether it is running on to a pass or through this channel to meet a low-driven cross, we should be aiming to expose Ferdinand and Dunne’s lack of quickness.
Three centre backs are notoriously susceptible to opponents getting down the outside of them and putting the ball in to the box. Aerially they can often deal with it, but low across the floor can cause problems and this is the way Spurs should go.
Spurs vs QPR outlook
A promoted team at home would seem like an easy fixture, but this will be a tougher match than a lot of pundits anticipate.
QPR will probably sit slightly deeper and look to play on the counter so that they can hit their longer passes to Remy on the run in to space. The only time Harry Redknapp faced Mauricio Pochettino, a 2-1 win for his QPR over Southampton, this is how he played it. Remy’s first goal in that game was an excellent example of the long ball in to space to take advantage of his speed and dribbling.
Pochettino’s side had 67% possession and out shot Redknapp’s QPR 21 to 7 that day, but succumbed to two sucker punches. This was only a coupe of weeks in to Pochettino’s reign at Southampton, so hopefully our new coach learnt a great deal.
What we may well have to do is play with much more patience and guile to break them down. Lewis Holtby could be a nice addition in to the midfield along with Christian Eriksen to do this.
Our vertical passing style looking for runners going beyond the centre forward could well pay off in transition or fast break situations here. QPR are susceptible to pace if they have men forward at corners and set pieces.
In normal play though, what we have to do is attack the channel between Ferdinand and Dunne.
Spurs vs QPR prediction: Spurs 2 QPR 1.