Ilias Chair was at the double for Queens Park Rangers as they beat Birmingham City 2-0 on Tuesday evening.
The result took Mark Warburton’s men to within a point of the play-off places to which many believe should be their goal for the campaign.
The Blues gave as good as they got in a match decided by two moments of quality from their attacking livewire. Matija Sarkic will not want to see the first goal again but the second was a cool finish with the Moroccan ending the game as a contest in the 64th minute.
Competition for places is fierce at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium this season, so much so that Warburton was forced to play Chris Willock at left wing back purely to fit all of his best players into one starting XI. The clean sheet will be pleasing too for the gaffer as Rangers bounced back from a run of three straight 2-1 defeats in the league.
Here, then, we take a look at three things we clearly learnt about QPR after their 2-0 win over Birmingham…
Willock can fill in
Chris Willock is right footed, but with Yoann Barbet alongside him at left centre back, the 23-year-old slotted in effortlessly at wing back. A more physically demanding role than the former Arsenal man is used to, playing off a central striker, but one that now settled in West London he was able to learn on the job.
The 23-year-old is growing into a very effective Championship player this season and Tuesday evening’s showing would have demonstrated to Mark Warburton that he can be trusted out of his comfort zone.
Dozzell can provide a platform
Quiz: Have QPR ever been involved in these 18 scenarios?
First team action has been hard to come by for Andre Dozzell this season and Tuesday evening was the first time he had played over 45 minutes in the league. The 22-year-old partnered Dominic Ball in central midfield and the protection they gave the back three enabled Ilias Chair to bomb on with further licence to attack.
If it was not for the midfield duo Chair would have had to drop deeper to affect the game and, in the absence of Stefan Johansen, Dozzell stepped up to the plate, another tick in Warburton’s notebook.
Dunne more comfortable in the centre
Jimmy Dunne endured a tough Friday evening at the Hawthorns playing on the left of the back three when Barbet deputised at left wing back. West Bromwich Albion are a tougher challenge than Birmingham City but Dunne looked markedly more composed in the centre of the back three.
With Warburton consistently deploying that system this season, Dunne’s role will be in the centre, allowing the ball players in Barbet and Rob Dickie to build attacks either side of him.