The start of the season has seen QPR exceed expectations and move into 8th – vast contrast to the disastrous start they had last campaign.
Unlike previous years too, QPR have played entertaining football, continuously threatened, pressed the opposition and, deservedly, received the rewards for their effort.
Mark Warburton has so far unlocked the hidden potential of a Rangers side that experienced a huge overhaul in players. Amongst QPR’s positive start, there are certain trends occurring and it may continue throughout the season.
Wasteful production but Hugill’s form returns
A reason why Rangers do not sit higher in the table is because of how wasteful they have been in attack. Their defeats against Bristol City and Swansea City were largely due to QPR’s inability to convert their chances. Rangers had 15 shots at Ashton Gate and 23 shots against Swansea but were only able to score from one of those.
QPR sit with a -0.5 conversion rate, as analysed by BA Analytics, which may not seem too alarming on paper. However, its impact on confidence and morale could be significant if the goals dry up. Warburton will be keen to avoid what McClaren experienced last season, and to do that, will be to improve his team’s conversion percentage.
No time to smarten this up in a "fancy visual" way but sometime i kind of like data to speak for itself in it's rawest form. Here is the EFL Championship current shot conversion % for all teams so far.
The league average for shot conversion at the minute is 10.3% pic.twitter.com/9XhQwsuP9v
— BA Analytics (@Blades_analytic) September 7, 2019
Regardless, QPR will take positives from Nahki Wells scoring on debut and providing an immediate understanding with his strike partner, Jordan Hugill. Despite Hugill’s potential miss of the season versus Wigan Athletic, he has led the line close to perfect with five goals in six appearances. His Middlesbrough troubles seem to be a distant memory.
An Eze-Chair duo
A potential midfield duo has come to fruition early in the new season. Eberechi Eze and Ilias Chair were paired together in-front of Dominic Ball in a 5-3-2 formation, which resulted in a dominant 2-1 win at Hillsborough.
They both share attacking creativity, the skill and agility to maintain possession, and the work rate to cover on the defensive side of the pitch. Provided the high amount of competition for places in central midfield, they will need to maintain the performances they have displayed early on the season.
An Eze-Chair midfield duo has the potential to become the heart of QPR’s team.
Defensive errors are a contagious disease in the Rangers dressing room. It’s either that or Rangers have a secret trophy at the end of the year awards for the person who makes the most errors.
Rangers have given away four penalties, three of which were stonewall and needless. Likewise, one goal from each of the Bristol City and Swansea defeats came from Rangers’ own mistakes. So, from six games, QPR have conceded five goals which they are themselves to blame for.
If secret trophy theory is indeed false, QPR must stop giving away goals from their own mistakes. In previous years, it was their downfall. They cannot let history repeat itself again.