Queens Park Rangers have made an excellent start to the Championship season, sitting pretty in third place and unbeaten from their opening five league outings.
Rangers went into the international break with a 2-0 win at home to Coventry City, the impressive Sky Blues did assert themselves on the affair however and Mark Warburton was happy to admit his side were a little fortunate to keep a clean sheet and take all three points.
Rob Dickie has been a hugely impressive figure in both boxes so far this season, Warburton will have been delighted to hold onto him past the transfer deadline and goalkeeper Seny Dieng. Two players who clearly have ceilings above Championship level.
Andre Gray arrived from Watford on loan towards the deadline, adding further competition for one spot up front, with Lyndon Dykes and Charlie Austin currently vying to lead the line. Thus far Rangers are justifying the ‘dark horses’ tag they were given by many going into the campaign.
Fierce competition for places and an evolving defensive process in the weeks preceding the international break leave Warburton with a few things to ponder ahead of their trip to the Select Car Leasing Stadium.
Here, we have identified two tactical tweaks Warburton could make to his starting eleven for their trip to face Reading on Saturday…
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Charlie Austin and Andre Gray provide stiff competition for Lyndon Dykes, however, the Scotsman is on fire at the moment. Already slamming home three league goals and he comes into this fixture off the back of scoring the winner in back-to-back 1-0 wins for Scotland.
Warburton’s system with just the one striker has been very effective so far this season with Ilias Chair and Chris Willock wreaking havoc operating just behind. It will be his linkup play that may convince Warburton to go with Austin instead, but in this rich vein of form, Dykes is commanding the number nine spot.
Protect the back three
Rangers have been a little fortunate to concede only four goals from 5.52 expected goals in their last four games, with Seny Dieng’s brilliance becoming an all too common feature of their matches.
It is great to have such a reliable glovesman at the club however they will want to limit Reading to fewer chances at the weekend, having allowed chances equating to over 1.2 expected goals in all of their last four.
This added protection could be achieved by slotting Dominic Ball into central midfield, the defensive minded midfielder could be the perfect foil in combatting Reading’s creative contingent, with John Swift the danger man for the Royals. Ball occupied a right wing back role last time out, however in Moses Odubajo and Osman Kakay Warburton has credible options to step into that berth.