Where do Tottenham rejects go?
To QPR of course!
When Robin van Persie ticked to 29 years of age, with just a solitary year left on his contract, Arsene decided to send him off to the metaphorical glue factory.
Indeed, the Arsenal manager has something of a talent for letting players go at the right time. There are a few possible exceptions, but most have provided huge profits to the Arsenal coffers and have rarely gone on to reach let alone surpass the lofty heights of their time in North London.
A number of players have wound up at the other end of the Seven Sisters Road, notably Adebayor, Gallas, Bentley, and although they have fallen short of starring roles, they did however briefly make a career there.
However, what happens to the players where, as the song goes, “Even Tottenham think you’re ****”?
The answer it seems, is they flock to Loftus Road.
I don’t claim to be familiar with every player to have played at White Hart Lane, but at least five of the current first team squad for the R’s have pulled on the Lilywhite shirt at some stage.
Steven Caulker (2009-2013, 29 appearances, 2 goals, 0 trophies)
The bulky centre back arrived at QPR via an ill-fated trip to Cardiff.
Having got them relegated, he’s now trying to bring the same dubious honour to QPR.
A threat from corners but reckless and aggressive in the tackle, it’ll be all about playing in the space around him rather than trying to sneak past or outmuscle him.
Giroud’s ability to play as a pivot to bounce passes off could be the difference here.
Adel Taarabt (2007-2010, 16 appearances, 0 goals, 0 trophies)
Unable to play due to yet another injury, he is renowned for being an unsettling influence in the dressing room nonetheless.
A box full of tricks with little consistency, he’s capable of the mercurial performance to ruin the day of a top side.
As a result, while he can also be absolutely rubbish and leave his team playing as if a man down, his absence takes some of the chance element out of this encounter.
Sandro (2010-2014, 96 appearances, 3 goals, 0 trophies)
Remember Sandro’s “I’m not injured” tweet in angry response to Tim Sherwood?
Well, this time he really has been – if he plays against us it will be his first game back, and doubtless influenced by the unavailability of Joey Barton.
He’s got a nasty habit of leaving his foot in, and with his midfield partner likely to be the delightful* Karl Henry, I’d like to see players like Ozil and Cazorla steering well clear of their thuggery.
*He’s not delightful, he’s as much if not more of a thug than Sandro. The day Hull introduced him to the Premier League was a very sad day indeed.
Niko Kranjcar (2009-2012, 49 appearances, 9 goals, 0 trophies)
The Croat is on loan at Loftus Road from Dynamo Kyiv, having spent three unsuccessful years at Tottenham towards the peak of his career.
In fact, he won more trophies at Portsmouth than at Spurs (well, zero isn’t a hard number to beat after all!), and is another player with relegation experience.
With Harry Redknapp now out of the picture it’ll be interesting to see how long he remains at QPR, but in the short term he has a decent finish on him, from open play or set pieces.
If Arsenal can keep him quiet that will influence QPR’s ability to threaten, especially given that he’ll be fielded alongside a hugely more defensive and less creative midfield duo in the centre of the park.
Bobby Zamora (2003-2004, 18 appearances, 1 goal, 0 trophies)
Admittedly Zamora’s time at Spurs was mercifully (for him) brief, and he saw the light when he decided it would be better to play Championship football than suffer the indignity of playing for Tottenham.
He has shown in patches this season that he can be a beast leading the line, but rarely for the full 90 minutes. He’s likely to feature at some point though, so our centre halves will need to be wily to handle his particular brand of tactical play.
Gabriel has shown promising signs of being able to get tight quickly and attack the ball, and if we can put Zamora under pressure, it’s hard to see him having much impact on the game.
FIVE OF THE BEST
So then, five very good reasons why QPR won’t beat us this evening.
In truth, the Spurs influence goes beyond the playing staff – Les Ferdinand remains among the backroom staff, and Glenn Hoddle was a recent departure from the club following Harry Redknapp’s resignation.
I’m sure they’ll all be fired up remembering us as the enemy, and we’ll have to be on our toes to avoid the anticipated crunching tackles.
All the more reason then that we should look to punish them on the pitch, and remind them once again to Mind the Gap.
Down in 17th, they at least will recognise it’s getting bigger.