Football: QPR have finally found their football identity — but perhaps it’s come 21 games too late.
Yes, the identity in question isn’t pretty, but a defensive-focused 4-1-4-1 has now stifled both Chelsea and Tottenham, meriting four points and no goals conceded.
Continue this run of form and Rangers stand a huge chance of clambering out of the mess that Mark Hughes left them in.
New manager Harry Redknapp, a man not known as a master tactician — and reportedly axed from Tottenham in the summer for that very reason — has brought the basics back to Loftus Road.
Rangers now have a game-plan — something which was chronically missing under a clueless Hughes.
Against Redknapp’s former club, the hosts defended with cool heads and tough tackles.
Spurs’ key man Gareth Bale resorted to 30-yard pot-shots, Aaron Lennon was substituted and trudged off like a stroppy teenager and the front two of Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor were denied by a goalkeeper whose ability far outweighs the current plight that QPR find themselves in.
Former Inter Milan stopper Julio Cesar’s double save with five minutes gone was perhaps the highlight of the season so far in W12.
The Brazilian first flung himself in gymnastic style to tip a powerful drive from Defoe onto the post and then showed reaction skills that wouldn’t have been out of place on Wimbledon’s Centre Court to deny the gangly striker from point blank range.
Redknapp said: “He didn’t have that many saves to make but the saves he made were fantastic. He’s a top goalkeeper, a world-class goalkeeper … he’s top drawer.”
But this wasn’t a game about one man’s brilliance — that would discredit a spirited effort from his teammates.
The midfield sat deep for long periods, kept their shape, won the ball back — usually thanks to Shaun Derry — and gave lone striker Adel Taarabt very good service.
He laid through Shaun Wright-Phillips for QPR’s best chance on 11 minutes but a brilliant late block from Spurs skipper Michael Dawson diverted the ball just wide.
So Rangers seem to have solved their identity crisis.
Their next job is to pull themselves away from Premier League crisis.