Written by Alex Bullamore
With 2020 done for QPR after a battling draw with Norwich it’s about time to have another critical look at how the players are performing. Like last time I’ll start with those underachieving.
Right now I can’t understand how Cameron is holding down a regular place in the side. At 35 he is the most experienced in the side and I guess we should be slightly in awe of his ability to be fit enough to play professionally at that age. However his performances and ability has dramatically gone downhill this year, I think back to when he first came into the club and he was actually quite effective at that point and without him we looked a much worse team. This year seems to be one year too far with his passing being especially poor, not only that but his presence on the pitch as captain is also minimal. As the captain of the side and most experienced player I want him to be vocal, I want him to be getting in the referee’s ear and arguing for the team. With the experience he has it should be obvious he’s leading the team. It just isn’t the case and it is incredibly noticeable how silent we are as a team which must stem from the captain. I have no problems with Cameron playing occasionally, it might actually help him with a bit of extended rest in between games. But he shouldn’t be playing every game. In January this is an area of the team that needs to be strengthened.
Unfortunately for Barbet he appears again for the wrong reasons. I did notice comments from the last article where Barbet got some sympathy, however I haven’t seen much improvement from that point. Whilst we may be conceding less goals compared to last year the individual errors just keep accumulating. The latest being a weak header when trying to clear the ball against Swansea. I was lucky enough to get a ticket for the Stoke game and it was very noticeable how many headers he scuffed or just didn’t get any power on. But by all accounts he played well against Norwich and maybe some confidence can be taken from that performance. However he has some way to go to prove to me he’s not a liability.
Where do I start with Bright, well the most noticeable thing for me is that he’s playing with the hand break on. Last year he really broke through and flourished in a free flowing high scoring team. This year with the ongoing contract issue he looks like a different player. He’s criticised heavily for not looking interested and not having enough desire and I actually think this might be a bit unfair. What you must remember is that he is trying to make the most out of a very short career and I think at least two managers at the club have treated him poorly, Warburton is the first to come in and start him consistently. Despite this it has been disappointing to see him play in the way his has this season. No one ever wants players to leave on terms like this, and it’s going to cast an unwanted shadow over a player who could have been viewed with the same affection as shown to Eze.
Now for the positives…
This was always going to be a big season for the young Moroccan, as he tries to fill gap in the side left by Ebere Eze. I think he’s making a good attempt at it, he’s got five goals to his name so far and has one assist. Whenever you watch QPR now he’s at the centre of anything good we’re doing, mostly down to our tactics being give it to Chair and see what happens. I don’t think he’s anywhere near Eze and I think he’s still got to improve in a number of areas but come on he’s been our best player so far. Hopefully in the second half of the season he’ll go from strength to strength. I do feel like more assists are needed from him as he is the main creator in the midfield but those in front have got to finish the chances he creates. If I was to have one criticism it’s that at times he hold on to the ball too long. Whether it’s a shot or a pass he has a tendency to just keep it for a fraction too long, but despite this it’s been decent so far. Hopefully he can carry on in the same way in the second half of the season.
Now here’s player who really splits opinion. Back in November I had Wallace in the underperforming list, and unfortunately for him not long after he lost his place in the side to Niko. Now with Wallace struggling due to injury Niko is getting an extended run in the side. Whilst I don’t think he’s been amazing from what I’ve seen he’s been steady. He deserves this chance and to an extent he’s taking it. There are areas to improve going forward he’s still not quite got it, for example he needs to be improving his crossing but then again that’s a problem not just confined to him. Despite this I think he’s been steady and is clearly our best option at left back.