Mark Warburton seems to be pushing Queens Park Rangers back in the right direction after a tough first half of the season, the latest good result coming with a 1-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers yesterday.
Fresh off a fantastic away win over Watford on Monday night, the R’s returned to home comforts at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium, which ironically hasn’t been too kind in recent times with their last home win coming against Rotherham back in November.
But with Warburton’s new-found system, QPR held firm to win by a single goal through defender Yoann Barbet, despite Blackburn’s best efforts as they had seven shots on target.
What did we learn about the Hoops though during their win? Let’s take a look…
3-5-2 is working
Warburton consistently stuck with a 4-2-3-1 formation for most of the season until Swansea City came to town on Boxing Day, where he switched to a three centre-back system for the first time.
That has stuck ever since, and results seem to have improved in the Championship, with four wins, a draw and two losses in that time.
It’s been working that well that Warburton chose not to seek a replacement for the departed Bright Osayi-Samuel on the wing, with Todd Kane and Lee Wallace now providing the width from the wing-back positions – they’re not the quickest but they’re proving to be very effective.
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Seny Dieng is a top-class goalkeeper
The Swiss stopper signed for the R’s in 2016, but only made his first start for the club in September 2020, and has made the shirt his ever since.
His early season form led to transfer links to Leeds and Arsenal in January, but he stayed put in West London and showed his worth to the team against Rovers with a stunning display.
He pulled out two exceptional saves in particular, one from a first-half free kick that was going in the top corner and you could say that he was the match-winner for the R’s and not Barbet.
Charlie Austin is key to their success
There was much fanfare when Austin returned to the R’s in January from West Brom, a deal which is initially a loan until the end of the season.
His arrival has coincided with an upturn in form – QPR have won four of their last five matches with Austin starting all of them, and whilst he’s only scored two goals, his all-round influence can’t be understated.
Austin’s partnerships with both Macauley Bonne and Lyndon Dykes have been effective so far and you’d expect the goals will start to flow very soon indeed.