1.Bale back at left back: Though the Welshman can sometimes find more space when playing deeper, the move necessitated by injury to Naughton and Assou-Ekotto threw Spurs and made their system unworkable in the first half. The change in Bale in the second half, were he got maybe half a dozen shots away on goal and was a constant threat, demonstrated that his days at left back have to be over. Even with the injuries they have, Villas-Boas will have to look elsewhere for cover.
2.Faurlin and Granero vs Sandro and Dembele: In Faurlin and “The Pirate” QPR have a central midfield of real quality. Tenacious and technically adept, the two players dictated the tempo of the game and were the basis of the quick passing game QPR played in the first half. Faurlin’s pass for Zamora’s goal was superb, and it’s impossible to overstate how good Granero was. In the second half however, aided by the changes AVB made elsewhere in the lineup, Sandro and Dembele were able to match QPR’s midfield, and gave Spurs a foothold in the game. It's difficult to say how much of this was down to Granero and Faurlin's level dropping slightly, but Sandro in particular seemed to up his game, getting to the loose balls that QPR seemed to have won on every occasion in the first half.
3.Junior Hoilett: The injury to Andy Johnson was a heavy blow on QPR, but in allowing Hoilett to come into the first team it may end up being a blessing in disguise. The young Canadian was sharp and hard-working, and is a more skillful player than Johnson. He proved an excellent foil for Zamora, and they should continue to link up well for QPR, especially in away games where the home defence can become a little stretched.
4. Half time subs: Villas-Boas may have got the set up wrong at the start, or maybe QPR were just exceptional in the first half, but the changes made by the Portuguese were integral to Spurs turning the match around. Bale and Dempsey were far more comfortable in their roles, and the latter gave Defoe enough support that Spurs were able to hold the ball up in the attacking third. It’s rare to see someone have such an influence at left back, but when moved there Vertonghen was a towering presence, bursting forward and linking well with Bale, and pulling off an outstanding tackle to deny Hoilett what may have been the equaliser.
5.Bobby Zamora: Looking at Zamora yesterday, he gave exactly the kind of performance Spurs need from their lone striker. He gave the three Spurs men who played at centre back a torrid time, and created several chances for himself and others. His finish was also well taken, though the fact he remains the only man to score for QPR this season will be troubling Mark Hughes.
image: © sachab