The Tuckster summarises City’s draw at big spending QPR…
It`s an old cliché but any point away from home is a good point in the Premier League and I happen to believe that.
The acquisition of Luciano Becchio and departure of Steve Morison have been well documented and spoken about at length on various forums, including this one with fans making points on both sides.
I myself think it is a good deal. We have replaced an injured misfiring striker who is hardly a fan favourite with a man who has scored 19 goals in this season – so far.
There were a few eyebrows raised when Becchio only made the bench. Many are beginning to question Chris Hughton`s perceived defensive outlook and coupled with Holt`s barren run in front of goal it was a question that all Canary fans wanted to see the answer to.
My own thoughts are that after the team performance against Spurs, which was much closer to that from the 10 game unbeaten run, as well as Holt`s work rate and Becchio having only just arrived and probably not trained yet – the bench was the correct call.
QPR have been busy in the transfer market and have literally thrown money at the problem. Chris Samba cost £12.5m and is on £100k a week – mind boggling figures that our club cannot hope to match. Rumour has it that the combined wages of Jenas and Townsend are £150k a week. I bet our total wage bill for the week is not much more than what those two are getting.
I thought that Loftus Road would be a bear pit today with the home side pressing and pushing and generally getting in our lads` faces – but that didn`t happen.
Norwich with Tettey and Johnson at the heart of it were much more biting in the tackle and pressurised their opposite numbers.
Taarabt though, was very dangerous with his driving runs and shoot on sight policy. He came close a couple of times after trademark dribbling runs but Bunn didn`t have a lot to do in the first half.
Hoolahan was tireless in his efforts and ran his heart out all day, always looking to chase down back passes and close down his opponents.
With Loic Remy injured, Jamie Mackie played up front on his own and put in a decent shift for the R`s but it was 0-0 at half time with not much to report.
In the second half, Harry Redknapp clearly impressed upon his charges that a point would do them no good at all and they pushed harder.
Norwich were under pressure quite a bit more but still had chances on the break. Snodgrass was the main outlet along with Hoolahan and it was the winger`s cross that saw Hoolahan flick the ball at Cesar who saved from point blank range.
Cesar also had to be on his guard when he tipped a fierce Snodgrass shot around the post and also to deny Johnson`s pile driver.
At the other end, City had to weather a series of free kicks that were often needlessly given away around their area but stood firm, Holt cleared off his own line during the most dangerous of these.
The major talking point of the match came when Jamie Mackie raced through and was met by Bunn who hurtled out of his goal. Mackie didn`t really have the ball completely under control and was going wide but as he went past Bunn, the City keeper clipped him and he went down. The ref pointed at the spot and Bunn got booked.
Taarabt stepped up and put it to the keeper`s left – Bunn dived and made a terrific save.
Taarabt held his head in his hands and ‘arry slumped back in his seat, shaking his head like the Churchill dog.
With eight minutes to go, Becchio made his debut bow, replacing the exhausted Hoolahan.
We didn`t get to see a lot of him but to be honest, I wouldn`t have changed it any earlier either. The team were comfortable and there was no need to take risks to push for a goal. That had to rest on QPR to do and they didn`t really do it well enough. Our back four, especially Bassong and Turner stood up to all that was thrown at it and we came away with the point.
After the recent dip in form, it was important to pick up points again and the point will have done QPR no good at all.
I think that City worked hard to get that point and asked questions at the other end as well. Cesar made two excellent saves and Bunn made sure of the points with a great save from the penalty.
We look to be getting back to the work rate levels that we were achieving before Christmas and to get points in this league, that is what we need to do.
On the subject of Holt, I heard a caller on Canary Call question his work rate and stated that “he always falls over” – the word lazy was also used.
What a chump! What are you talking about? A couple of callers questioned Holt`s work rate against Spurs on Wednesday night as well.
Yes, he is in a goal drought and badly needs to put the ball in the net, off his knee, shin, backside, anyhow it doesn`t matter but you cannot question his work rate. Was he lazy when he was tracking back in the left back position to win the ball or when he cleared off the line?
He now has some competition though in the form of Becchio and if he doesn`t start scoring soon, he will have to look over his shoulder. Competition is healthy and I`m sure our Captain wouldn`t want it any other way. He has met these type of challenges before so if it spurs him on again then all the better.
I also heard the same caller reckon that “we should be beating the team at the bottom of the league.” QPR are much improved from the Mark Hughes era and drew with Man City last week and beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge before that. We don`t need to beat them, just to make sure we don`t lose. I maintain that any point away from home is a good point.