QPR have been the proverbial "rear-end" of relegation jokes by Premier League supporters throughout the current season.
Rightfully so, as their dismal points tally tell the story of a disappointing season riddled with under-performing players of an overambitious manager.
Echoes of the Derby County were unexpected from QPR, particularly following a promising start to the season where a slew of high profile acquisitions were expected to push the club to the next level.
The Hoops were poor under Mark Hughes, and improvement under Redknapp has been unspectacular. The truth is, expectations on the part of everyone involved with the club were far too inflated as early as the end of the summer transfer window.
Acquiring a largely new squad and replacing many existing members too abruptly has been a tried and tested method bound to fail in the short term. Recent examples of Chelsea under Andre Villas-Boas, Real Madrid in the early stages of the second Galacticos, and Manchester City's first overhaul under the Sheikh all suffered poor first years.
The difference is that while these clubs overhauled their squad with world class players, QPR did the same with players of lesser caliber. That considered, it can be argued that a slow season was in the cards, particularly under a manager who ultimately failed at the same mission at a different club.
While Redknapp coming in as the saviour has not necessarily shown QPR supporters the light at the end of the title, a willingness to at least try different combinations of the squad is starting to shed light on which players may prove the most effective warriors in the remaining 10 rounds of relegation battles.
If Mark Hughes showed anything in his Blackburn days, it's that he is a better judge of bargain talent than of tactics. Consequently, his more significant acquisitions have shown their value at various times under Redknapp. Junior Hoilett, who hasn't played a significant role in his first season, is starting to show glimpses of his best as Blackburn's brightest light in their final days before relegation. Even forgotten goalkeeper Robert Green performed admirably against Southampton last week. And speaking of Southampton, fallen captain Ji Sung Park, at long last showed his pedigree as a serial champion after an injury-ridden, inconsistent season. Redknapp is due credit for fielding these much maligned players, and he will reap the benefits as they will clearly play a valuable role in days to come.
In contrast, mainstays like Esteban Granero and Stephane Mbia are fading with inconsistent performances, with Mbia in particular showing no discernible advantages over the likes of Jermaine Jenas. Granero continually takes the free-kicks despite a lacking return and seems to have lost the consistency of an expected Castilla-grade passing technique. Meanwhile, Andros Townsend has added purpose and drive to QPR's transition play, and his proven merits over the past three rounds should guarantee a starting berth rather than substitute appearances.
With Loic Remy, Jose Bosingwa and Christopher Samba being consistent starters, Redknapp's headache largely remains Adel Taraabt. The mercurial talent is an undeniable offensive weapon, yet decisions and passing timing remains a big drawback. Much like Manchester United's Nani, the player's outstanding technical ability can create as much joy as his questionable decision-making draws groans.
There is much food for thought from a squad selection standpoint for a manager who faces a substantial survival bonus on his already massive contract. Between incorporating Taraabt as many squads as possible, and having to find a right balance of players from a pool ranging from european champions to former lower league players, its actually a happy headache compared to his relegation zone competitors. In this sense, if any of the bottom five teams should survive, it really should be Queens Park Rangers.
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