This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Mark Warburton is yet to find the answer to QPR’s defensive problems but the solution could come in the form of Dominic Ball.
He has started just seven league games so far but the R’s have won the majority of those matches, and if he is given the role of protecting the defence then that could be key for his team.
Warburton has shown that a 3-5-2 formation could be his chosen system now Lee Wallace has returned, and if Ball were included from the start it could free up the likes of Eberechi Eze and Josh Scowen to display their usual effectiveness.
Added to that, Ilias Chair’s performances have dropped off in recent matches and given he is not the best defensively – average just 0.3 interceptions per game this term – replacing him could lead to an improvement on that front.
Why didn’t BOS play today? Amos should now get back. Chair needs a rest. #qpr
— Yousef Marafi® (@Yousef_QPR) November 2, 2019
When he comes into the middle he shows his class, takes on players and things he does. Out wide he’s useless same as chair.
— reece (@reeceqpr) November 2, 2019
Eze yes but chair has been off it in recent times
— Luis Sergeant (@luissergeant1) October 29, 2019
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QPR could benefit from Ball’s defensive awareness and if given the sole responsibility of watching over an opposition player he could be a very effective player for Warburton.
He offers more than just defensive capabilities, however, and doesn’t often give the ball away, which means his mistakes are less frequent. A pass accuracy of 84% is evidence of that, and is an aspect of his play which suits Warburton’s philosophy, whose team have averaged 54% possession in the Championship.
As well as that, his average of two tackles per game is the fourth most of any player in the QPR squad, which suggests that the R’s are in need of a player who can provide more bite in midfield.
With an away trip to Fulham coming up after Middlesbrough fixture – a team which has scored 23 league goals – there will be concern for Warburton about his team’s vulnerability, but Ball would ease his worries.
The former Rotherham player started in difficult away matches at Sheffield Wednesday and Millwall, both of which QPR won by a narrow margin, and if he can maintain or improve his average of one interception per game then QPR should steadily improve defensively.