I’m pretty sure that there is a saying that goes a bit like this ‘all good things must come to an end’. And it certainly can be applied to football.
Whilst it would be of no surprise to anyone if Chelsea were to go an entire season undefeated this year, there are now very few sides left who could even contemplate such an achievement.
Perhaps the most optimistic of Queens Park Rangers fans could, though.
Tuesday night’s game between two of the Championship pace-setters was all set to take its place as one of the season’s best and most competitive games – but truth be told, it was a one sided massacre.
I can’t say that I really went to the game expecting us to walk away with a comfortable Ipswich Town win, even if the Blues did hold a very proud recent record against their hooped opponents. A draw probably would have been considered a fine result.
Yet, on paper the facts are there for all to see.
After a fine start to the season, Town are experiencing something of a trickier time right now. A drab 0-0 draw with the league’s basement club, Portsmouth, followed by what can only be described as an ‘education’ from Rangers.
And who do Town have next? You’ve got it – Craig Bellamy and his merry men of Cardiff.
It certainly is a tough time for Town, but it is nice that we are able to get it out of the way before things really start to get interesting.
I wouldn’t like to say that Cardiff is a must-win game now – but if Town are to be considered serious promotion contenders, it is a game that we need to be getting three points from.
The teams that go up this season will be the teams that truly can compete with the best this division has to offer – it is a simple equation.
Lessons have to be learned from QPR, though. For all we pressed them, never did Town have a shot that could seriously have tested Paddy Kenny in the Rangers goal.
Indeed, a stark contrast to what was happening at the other end, where Marton Fulop was having to register a fine display simply to keep the score line in single figures.
Okay, that is an over exaggeration – but we did allow them to get 11 shots on target in the game, and Fulop did indeed make a handful of very good saves.
But the thing that impressed me most about Rangers was their ability to counter-attack at phenomenal speed. With Adel Taarabt pulling the strings, and Jamie Mackie prepared to exploit the lack of pace in the Ipswich back line, Neil Warnock certainly does look to have the right formula in place at the moment.
All over the pitch QPR were solid. Unbelievably, Jason Scotland found himself out-muscled, Andros Townsend found himself out-paced and David Norris found himself out-fought. Everything Ipswich had done so well this season – QPR came and just did better.
They will be promoted this season, and I think it may well be a long while before we see them in the Championship again if their owner puts his hands into his very deep pockets.
Looking forward however, Cardiff will prove another great test. If Ipswich can come out of that fixture on top, all which happened on that wet Tuesday night will all be forgotten. A win would send a message out to everyone in the division that Town are still on the promotion trail and mean business.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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