Queens Park Rangers currently sit bottom of the Premier League, after playing 6 games they have only amassed two points conceding 13 goals in the process and only scoring 4.
Mark Hughes usually prefers to use the 4-4-2 formation which is slowly becoming out of style. Occasionally the shape will move to 4-5-1 which has been adopted by most other clubs and managers in the league. Statistically, QPR have an average possession of 49% per game and a pass completion rate of 80%, only Wigan in the bottom six are more accomplished on the ball. QPR also average 4.2 shots on target per game but concede 16 shots each game (the fourth highest total).
QPR win 51% of aerial duels, and are 9th in the table for dribbles per game. The stats suggest that the team should be closer to 14th rather than 20th, so what are QPR doing wrong tactically?
The QPR squad is arguably strongest in midfield, Park and Derry provide the tenacity and determination while Hoilett, Granero, Faurlin and Taarabt give the style and basis for attacks. However Taarabt and Hoilett have only appeared in 2 and 3 games respectively and have been unable to make a mark on the team this season. This has meant that Park has been played on the left, who moves more centrally, while Wright-Philips and Granero have filled in at right midfield. Wright Philips has lost most of his pace, and has become ineffective lately, only completing an average of 0.6 crosses and 0.6 dribbles a game. Granero is a slightly better choice; connecting with 1.3 cross a game but he is more suited to the centre of the pitch.
QPR attacks come from all positions on the pitch with a slight bias to the right hand side. Without Taarabt on the left and Clint Hill’s limited ability going forward, perhaps the bias should be higher. Other teams aren’t afraid to be so one sided; Everton, West Ham and Wigan all use the left wing more than 40% each game while Stoke, Reading and Norwich all prefer the right flank.
Although attacks come from all positions the shots taken by the players are wasteful. 47% are taken outside the area and over half of these are from central positions.
Another point to focus on is Bobby Zamora. The striker is known for is aerial ability, and does infact win 4 aerials battles a game, but the amount of crosses getting into the box is absurdly low; 5% of QPR passes are crosses, and only 14% of balls played are considered long balls. This would not be considered a problem if QPR were effective at set pieces or even if they could produce through balls for the more advanced players, but they aren’t even able to do that. 1 goal has come from a set play so far, and only 1% of all passes per game are considered through balls.
Esteban Granero is good attacking player, but he can’t keep up with the physicality of the English game; against West Ham he only won 11% of ground duels indicating he should be played higher up the pitch where his vision and creativity can flourish. Faurlin is an established player and arguably should be playing for a better team by now; he can cope in any circumstance and will do whats needed. Using Shaun Derry, Diakite or even bringing Park further back in a defensive midfield role (similar to Gutierrez at Newcastle) could allow Granero to focus on attacking play.
An addition of a midfielder in replace of a striker would see QPR move to the more modern formation of 4-5-1. It is occasionally used by Mark Hughes, with either Cisse or Taarabt playing on the left and so the team should be comfortable with it. Another midfielder would mean the team could dominate that area and keep the ball easier. Bringing in Taarabt or Hoilett would also certainly give a directness which the team is currently lacking.