Match Report: Harry Redknapp's Queens Park Rangers hit record low at Wigan
Wigan Athletic 2 QPR 2: Double from James McCarthy keeps beleaguered west Londoners still looking for first Premier League victory of the season
the dw stadium
Sunday 09 December 2012
Harry Redknapp has stopped the bleeding but the patient is still fading away. There is only one side who have survived the Premier League after being bottom at Christmas, but there are none at all who have done so without winning a game by the time the crackers are passed around.
Redknapp has cancelled the club's Christmas party, possibly on the grounds he does not want photographs of a side who have performed with so little commitment falling out of their Hummers while high on cherry brandy. However, this disparate group of individuals look like they could do with more time together.
When he settled behind his desk for the first time, Redknapp would have scanned his opening fixtures and seen: Sunderland (away), Aston Villa (home), Wigan (away) and Fulham (home).
That the first three have been drawn is encouraging at a club who have not won away from Loftus Road in 13 months and who have now set a Premier League record of 16 games without a win from the start of the season. Redknapp argued that if that statistic did not change before the January transfer window opens, he would advise the owners not to spend. "They have done enough," he said of a club who have managed to spend £6.8 million on agents' fees in the past two windows.
Many of those brought in at exorbitant cost by Mark Hughes, with help from the agent Kia Joorabchian, found themselves on the bench. Redknapp put his trust in some old pros; Ryan Nelsen − whose powerful header dragged his side level and whose uncompromising tackle at the death might have saved this game − Sean Derry and Clint Hill. Robert Green may not have won the Champions' League but he is probably more committed to the cause than Julio Cesar.
"We need to get a win, get to the window and see if I can dig one or two out from somewhere," said Redknapp, who admitted he was looking seriously at bringing Robbie Keane on loan from Los Angeles Galaxy. When asked how many points he thought might be required to avoid relegation, he laughed: "I am hoping for about 14."
However, it was significant that when Djibril Cissé side-footed home Shaun Wright-Phillips's pass to give Rangers a lead for the first time in the afternoon, Redknapp admitted that it did not cross his mind that his team might go on and score a third. All he could think of was holding out for the final 20 minutes.
They managed three and significantly Wigan, having somehow fallen behind after dominating the second half, did not panic. They continued playing the slick, one-touch football that Roberto Martinez has insisted upon, although Rangers allowed Jean Beausejour far too much time to pick out James McCarthy, who scored his and Wigan's second.
Martinez pointed out that, at 22, McCarthy is getting the exposure and regular football he would not enjoy were he at a club other than Wigan. If Redknapp's new-year task is to bring footballers in, Martinez's is to stop them leaving.
These were just the right conditions for a six-pointer. The floodlights shone through a shroud of mist and rain and the ball skidded – sometimes with wild unpredictability –off the pitch.
Rangers initially appeared to cope the better but when a half-cleared corner fell to McCarthy on the edge of the area, "picking his nose" in Redknapp's phrase, they found themselves one down before Nelsen showed some leadership.
As Redknapp walked through the corridors of the DW Stadium, he might have noticed the adverts for Keeping the Faith, a book about Wigan's remarkable escape from relegation last season. His demeanour suggested that, deep down, he knew it was unlikely his players would be signing copies of their own book next Christmas.
Wigan (3-5-2): Al Habsi; Boyce, Lopez, Jones (Maloney, 77); Stam, Gomez, McCarthy, McArthur, Beausejour; Di Santo (Boselli, 85), Koné.
QPR (4-2-3-1): Green; Bosingwa (Fabio, 85), Nelsen, Hill, Traoré; Derry, Diakité (Granero, 77); Wright-Phillips, Taarabt (Cissé , 59), Mbia; Mackie.
Referee: Phil Dowd.
Man of the match Nelsen (QPR)
Match rating 7/10
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
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