This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
QPR host a struggling Middlesbrough side on Saturday but one area that should be of concern to Mark Warburton is his team’s right-hand side.
The R’s are still yet to record a clean sheet this season and that has partly been due to ineffective defending in the right-back position, with Todd Kane and Angel Rangel often being rotated as a result.
That has made it difficult for the former to find his rhythm, and he has struggled somewhat in the games he has played.
Saturday’s game presents a different challenge for Kane. Jonathan Woodgate has operated with a 3-5-2 formation in recent matches, and that has brought the best out of George Friend in an attacking sense, making the left wing-back one of Boro’s standout players this campaign.
His WhoScored average rating of 7.3 is higher than any of his teammates, and in the key stats he has outperformed Kane in every area. So if the 26-year-old fails to up his game, QPR could be found out once again.
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Kane has been mostly ineffective in both attack and defence this season, and whilst the former isn’t too big a problem due to the work of his teammates, his lack of tenacity at the back is causing an issue.
Warburton’s side have conceded 28 league goals this campaign, the second-most in the division, and Kane’s return of just 0.5 interceptions per game, as per WhoScored, hints at a lack of awareness in his own half of the pitch, and goals come as a consequence.
He has only averaged one tackle per game, too, which shows he needs to be more aggressive in his play and more determined to win the ball back for his team.
Currently, the opposition is clearly finding it too easy to play in his area of the pitch, and the fact he offers little threat going forward means he is less of a worry for defenders, who then probably feel more confident in venturing into attack.
Achieving a clean sheet against Boro is very achievable given they are the lowest scorers in the Championship with 11 goals in 15 games, but an improved Kane performance is necessary for accomplishing that aim.