Everton 2 QPR 0 match report: Clueless Rangers head for the exit
Sunday 14 April 2013
Not a great deal had happened. Then Darron Gibson's considerably deflected shot trickled over the line and all faith was visibly lost. Jose Bosingwa lay slumped on the edge of the 18-yard area trying to look bothered, the head of captain Clint Hill dipped, nestling in his chest. An hour of play remained. Yet that did not seem to matter. Queens Park Rangers were emotionally battered, beaten and almost certainly, down.
Surely that's it for them. There is unlikely to be an improbable reprieve from relegation this time. The next few weeks are likely to be the death throes of their unhappy Premier League existence.
To have any chance of staying up Rangers will have to win all of their remaining five games. They have won only four times so far. It looks an impossible task – even for an escape artist like Harry Redknapp.
The Rangers manager served up all the usual platitudes of someone in his predicament afterwards, revealing that Stéphane Mbia was left out of his squad because he feared that the midfielder would get booked against robust opposition like Everton and therefore receive another two-match suspension.
"I can't say 'we're down,' can I?" he asked. "You've got to try and keep believing but it's becoming more and more difficult."
Quickly he then released the well-rehearsed agenda about the problems at Loftus Road before his arrival. "It's hard. A third of the season had gone with only four points on the board so it was never going to be easy, was it?"
Redknapp has to take some responsibility. Having been in charge since November he's had enough time to foster a spirit that would at least see QPR go down with some sort of a fight. Instead, abject performances like this one have become all too common.
QPR are where they are because they are everything that Everton are not. The Londoners are now on their fifth team in two years – Neil Warnock's team that won promotion, his revamped Premier League team, Mark Hughes's first Premier League team, his second team, and now Redknapp's. There have simply been too many teams for just one club.
Everton, by comparison, are a family unit. Finances dictate that squad changes are infrequent. Yet at the top of the club, there is an appreciation that stability is achieved by evolution rather than revolution. David Moyes praised the resilience of his players. If Arsenal can be beaten on Tuesday night, he believes a place in the Champions League could be theirs.
"No matter what happens, the players have been given themselves a great chance. We've been doing it most of the season so why would it change? I expect us to go and keep picking up victories."
Moyes admitted, though, that he was worried about this fixture. Having conceded a late equaliser to Tottenham last weekend, for the first 40 minutes here, Everton were ponderous in possession and created little. They did not even seem to twig that the visitors were in a state of paralysis down their left hand side.
Captain Hill may try like a bear but is not of Premier League standard. Junior Hoilett does not really concern himself with defending at all. Bosingwa – usually a right back but playing on the opposite side – endured a torrid afternoon, summed up by a moment where he was penalised for offside after receiving a return pass from his own throw in.
As soon as QPR went behind, the inevitable happened. Everton control was absolute. Then, following a succession of set-pieces, Victor Anichebe secured the result, hooking over the line from three yards out.
Moyes was delighted with Anichebe's overall contribution. "He's got all the attributes of top centre forward," he claimed. "He's beginning to look a tasty player."
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