Queens Park Rangers resume their season at Hull City this weekend, as the West Londoners look to break into the Championship play-off places.
Mark Warburton’s QPR have made for entertaining watching this season. His side were transformed over the summer by their new manager, and went into the new season with a fresh outlook on the game.
Fans have been pleased with what they’ve seen so far – a 4-2 win at home to Blackburn Rovers in their last outing left them a point off the top six in 9th going into the international break.
Will QPR make the Championship play-offs this season?
Next up for Warburton’s boys is a trip to the Humber to face Grant McCann’s Hull City. The Tigers are 16th in the Championship having lost just one in six in the league – their last trip to Huddersfield which finished 3-0 to Danny Cowley’s side.
Here we take a look at two tweak that Warburton should consider making for the Hull match this weekend:
Five at the back
QPR have fielded a four-strong defence in their last two matches – the win at home to Blackburn and a 3-0 loss at Cardiff City.
The latter result indicates that Warburton’s side may need an extra man in the defence when away from home – despite having 72% possession and more shots than Cardiff, they were undone by three counts of shoddy defending.
Warburton has swapped between a back-four and a back-five at times this season as he finesses the formula, but neither has yet to give his side a clean sheet – only QPR and Luton Town have yet to keep a clean sheet in the Championship.
A 5-3-2 formation would make sense at the weekend. It’s a formation that the team are familiar with and the extra man in the heart of the defence should see QPR keep their maiden clean sheet, and help with defending set-pieces which has become footfall of QPR’s this season.
Deep lying midfielder
In their familiar 5-3-2 formation, Warburton allows for the midfield three to be creative as they like.
Ebere Eze and Ilias Chair are often to two either side of the middle player, which lately has been Josh Scowen in the absence of Tottenham-loanee Luke Amos.
In the 4-2 win against Blackburn Rovers last time out, Scowen was all over the pitch – in both boxes, clearing the ball and creating chances.
It’s credit to Scowen, who’s established himself as a reliable figure at QPR, but it leaves his defence too open.
QPR have conceded five in their last two outings. For the Hull match this weekend, Warburton should advise Scowen to hang back when his team are on the break, as to not leave the defence exposed on the counter attack like we saw in Cardiff’s ‘smash and grab’ victory in South Wales earlier this month.