Queens Park Rangers drew 2-2 with Middlesbrough in the Championship at the weekend, as Mark Warburton’s team go into the international break without a win in four.
After successive defeats, QPR fans were keen to see their team go into the November international break on the back of a win.
They hosted a Middlesbrough still in the relegation zone, and it was the visitors who took the lead midway through the first-half through Britt Assombalonga, after Daniel Ayala had a goal ruled out for offside.
Nahki Wells got his eighth Championship goal of the season just two minutes later, before a Jonny Howson own goal gave QPR the lead going into half-time.
Boro came out strong though and had their chances to win the game – Assombalonga got his second and the equaliser with twenty to go, pouncing on a loose back-pass from Wells to chip over Joe Lumley in goal.
The draw’s given Warburton plenty to ponder over the international break, and here we take a look at three things we’ve learned about QPR after yesterday:
Lacking squad depth
Warburton raised a few eyebrows with his team selection at the weekend – Joe Lumley came back in goal after Liam Kelly had played the last six for QPR.
Toni Leistner also missed out having limped off in the defeat to Leeds earlier this month.
QPR have something of an injury crisis in the defensive department going on. Leistner joins Yoann Barbet on the sidelines who missed both the Leeds and Boro games and with Kelly’s emission from the Middlesbrough game, it suggests that he too might have an injury.
Those that came into the squad, Lumley and Geoff Cameron, Luke Amos also started in midfield for the first time since August, made the squad look weaker and it identifies the need for more depth in players at QPR.
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Chair is ineffective up-front
Ilias Chair started up-front against Boro with Jordan Hugill starting on the bench, in another strange call from Warburton.
With the Belgian yet to score in the Championship this season, Warburton may have pushed him up-front to try and get him off the mark and give his confidence a timely boost.
There’s no other explanation for what was a strange call, but he’ll likely keep him in midfield after Chair made little impact from his more attacking position.
His best attribute is working the ball out of tight spaces and launches attacks – Hugill and Wells have scored 15 Championship goals between them this season, there was no need for Warburton to tinker with the front-line.
Feeling the pressure at home?
It’s often forgotten how close QPR came to relegation last season, they finished 19th in the end. But with the good job that Warburton is doing so far, expectations of the club have quickly risen.
The atmosphere at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium on Saturday felt almost hostile as the home fans were desperate for a return to winning ways.
Perhaps that pressure allowed Boro a foothold in the game. QPR didn’t look at all near they’re firing best – Ebere Eze had a dull day, and Wells let himself down with the back-pass for Assombalonga’s second.
It was a weak team performance and it’ll have angered Warburton greatly going into the break, as QPR fall to 10th in the Championship – level on points but behind their West London counterparts Brentford on goal difference.