Two down, six to go
Even though there are still nine games remaining for Queens Park Rangers in this Premier League season, their fate could be decided within the next six fixtures. Following on from their defeat to Manchester United at the end of February they embarked on an eight-game run that will be pivotal to their survival.
March 15th, 2013
Now in mid-March they have managed to win their first two games and have closed the gap between them and safety to four points. Not only have the six points been invaluable, they also have more significance – as they have beaten fellow relegation strugglers Southampton and Sunderland.
In their next six games they face three of their direct rivals for relegation in huge ‘six-pointers’ that will have a massive bearing on the fate of the football club. Whilst it is surely an advantage to be playing sides in and around them, every result will have a dramatic effect on the league table. However, after the last couple of wins there appears to be a much more positive atmosphere surrounding the club.
The scenes when the full-time whistle went at Loftus Road last weekend after the victory against Sunderland demonstrated the rising optimism surrounding their fate. A few weeks ago the players looked despondent and a little unsure of exactly how they were going to avoid relegation, but that confidence could have returned at just the right point. For the first time in the season they are looking a goal threat; and in Loic Remy they have a player who is capable of scoring the necessary goals to remain in the Premier League.
With the additions to the squad that Redknapp made in January plus the return to fitness and form of several others, it appears to have made them more of a group. There was a feeling of solidarity on the pitch last weekend which has been a very rare sight thus far this season. Clearly a couple of wonderful goals will always help along the way, but self-confidence can have wonderful results and it appears Redknapp may have found a successful formula.
One of the defining factors in any relegation, or even title, battle is confidence. Normally one side will fall away whilst another grows and ends up better than at any stage of the season. Last season Wigan Athletic were astonishingly good towards the end and survived with ease, when all looked lost a mere matter of months before. If this confidence can be retained for these crucial next six games then anything is possible for QPR.