Everton 0-1 QPR – Tactical Deconstruction


The Blues are waking up to another opening day hangover after a defeat which provided a microcosm of the familiar woes faced last season, chiefly a lack of cutting edge with Cahill the #1 culprit. We lined up in a pretty orthodox 4-4-2 with Heitinga holding and Osman given the attacking duties from central midfield. Cahill played right up top with the dire Beckford. QPR lined up in 4-2-3-1 with Smith and Taarabt in the wide roles but attacking predominantly down their left flank with Smith angling runs from the right.

Personnel Issues

Personnel wise, the Heitinga/Osman central midfield and Beckford/Cahill axis didn’t look convincing and resembled players who had rarely been paired together.   The team generally looked unbalanced with 2 central midfielders playing on the flanks. Rodwell was again accommodated, this time in a wide midfield role with the onus to get forward and create when possible. As discussed in my When Skies are Grey column pre match, Rodwell lacks a creative spark to his play and is quite robotic on the ball; for instance last season he created a chance for an opponent every 202 minutes. As the chalkboard below shows (bottom chalkboard), he made just 2 forward passes in the opposition half all game – I’d play him anchor man or not at all.

Barkley’s  display was unquestionably the only positive – he does possess the ability to take a player on which we lack.  The chalkboard (left, top) shows his passing adventure with a significant amount of forward passes. Barkley had more shots and more dribbles than his teammates and was also our most fouled player, picking up useful free kicks on the edge of the QPR goal. I would personally start him next week at Blackburn in a 4-2-3-1 alongside Arteta and Osman and behind Saha.

QPR Goal Deconstructed

Our hosts where decent in possession and in Alejandro Faurlin had the games most effective performer, just shading Barkley in terms of output. The Argentinian midfielder completed 81% of his passes (well above the QPR average of 69%) and won 10 tackles.  His role was to break up play and feed the attacking midfielders, something he did in the build up to the goal. As the below shot shows we afforded Buzsaky  too much space following a prolonged period of possession from the Hoops.

The Hungarian finds time and space to roll the ball into Tommy Smith to slot past Tim Howard. It was a terrible goal to concede. Baines and Jagielka both had opportunities to clear their lines but rushed clearances and returned possession to QPR. As the move progressed, Jagielka was again guilty, this time of poor marking (circled) he has Smith marked but then gets sucked in enabling Smith the time and space to slot.

The second half was more of the same from the Blues; Barkley switched to the right to accommodate Arteta on the left. Beckford was then withdrawn with Cahill furthest forward with Fellaini supporting him – a move that made us look more threatening but ultimately to no avail.


The Blues were slack and lacked a cutting edge but still created enough goal scoring chances to take at least a point –it was a familiar story of square pegs in round holes selection wise and a lack of bite in the final third. A reaction will be required against a woeful looking Blackburn side next week – as mentioned above I would return to 4-2-3-1 with Osman further forward.

Fair play to QPR –  they had a plan and stuck to it – and in Faurlin they have a class act who will claim many plaudits this season with more showings like this.

7 thoughts on “Everton 0-1 QPR – Tactical Deconstruction

  1. Shhh Executioner!!! It has taken us years to pretend Taarabt is our most potent player! Keep it on the downlow about Faurlin!!! 🙂

  2. Wow. QPR fan in peace. A great summary, just is, not because we won. Faurlin is very effective for us for sure. But in Barkley you look to have a major talent at your disposal. I hope he stays fit. And I hope you unearth some more gems like him. I think all Rangers fans can empathise with the current plight at Goodison and I sincerely hope that you attain as fortunate a solution as we seem to have lucked into at Rangers. Good luck for the season.

  3. Nice blog and to see an analysis posted.

    I am not sure Phil Jagielka is entirely to blame though for the goal though. He did give the ball away cheaply and that was his biggest mistake, but as the play materialises, it’s Sylvain Distin who can see the whole picture and must shift across as Jagielka goes towards Akos Buzsaky.

    Jagielka’s reaction after conceding possession is natural, so he is more likely from a mental perspective likely to go and try and mop up the mess he created and be on the front foot as a result, but he had a choice of sticking with Tommy Smith or going to the ball and you can say either choice is fair in the circumstances.

    But, from behind, Distin should be alert and able to see this, and therefore as soon as Jagielka made his move, he should be coming across immediately but doesn’t react in time or even see this is the case. Maybe it’s a lack of understanding between the pair too, so perhaps you could say Jagielka should only go if he trusts that Distin is going to read the next passage of play.

    I think you lot will be fine, but David Moyes picked the wrong team and should have had some of the higher profile players on the pitch. In addition, I also thought you stopped doing the things you were doing well. You had success down the wides, particularly the right-side, as Adel Taarabt never really offered Matthew Connolly any protection. You got plenty of crosses in and should have scored, and had you repeated that process over and over I think you probably would have got one in the end.

    But instead, seeing as you didn’t score, you seemed to think it was a better idea to move away from that approach and try other things, which didn’t suit the players and played more into our hands and made it easier for us to deal with.

    Good luck for the rest of the season, and Maroune Fellaini is just one of my favourite players in the Premiership – he’s top class.

  4. Another QPR fan (in peace of course).. this is the kind of analysis of which I’m just not capable. My response to football is so emotional that I don’t spot all this stuff. It’s nice to see fans of another team rating Faurlin so highly. I do think he may make a mark this season, even if bigger names are added to the team, as is being promised. QPR had some luck on Saturday. We can’t rely on teams being so waseful in front of goal (Beckford, Cahhill) and I’m sure better sides than our will leave Goodison empty handed. Good luck for the season. I hear from fellow R’s supporters that it was a decent awayday with plenty of friendly chitchat with the locals. My own little take on the match (as watched via Norwegian satellite in a staunch QPR pub) is here:


  5. I agree with much of what you say here.
    Rodwell was ineffective on the right – I’m really disappointed in his progress – I was actually backing him to be the next big all-round England midfielder but his natural power driving forward seems to be held back. Now he isn’t offering much.
    Beckford is a frustrating player. There were times on Saturday where he was giving the ball away far too cheaply. At the same time, we haven’t got a forward who can (or will) make the intelligent runs Beckford makes – he’s a constant threat to defenders in that sense. I’d like to see him given time, and support up front.
    Cahill/Osman were the two worst players on Saturday. Cahill seen a fair bit of the ball but was just awful in possession, and on one occasion tried to play a first-time ball up the right but managed to only kick the ball against his own face and out for a throw in. Osman on the other hand was missing for most of the game. I forgot he was even playing.
    Arteta and Fellaini didn’t appear to be unfit in any way which makes me wonder why they didn’t start.

    Barkley was the only shining light for us. He’s the most natural player I’ve seen come through the ranks since Rooney. Totally comfortable picking the ball up and running at players. I am pleased that the rest of the team are supporting him – there were a few times were he had poor shots from 25 yards, but the rest of the team still applauded him and encouraged to continue.

    Moyes is quite rightly taking some stick for the Beckford/Fellaini sub leaving no recognised striker on the pitch. Bizarre.

    All due respect to QPR – fans were top class and the team gave a real go at us. Taraabt will be an exciting player when he fully adjusts to the premier league.

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