This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
After his low-key arrival on a free transfer this summer – having been let go by League One side Rotherham – one certainly would not blame you for wondering why QPR signed Dominic Ball.
However, Mark Warburton’s use of the player has been simply fantastic.
As per the R’s official announcement of the signing of the 24-year-old, Ball can play in a variety of positions.
The article states that he can play at right-back, centre-back and at defensive-midfield, while Ball has also worked alongside Warburton at Watford and Rangers.
The former Brentford boss has been using the 6 foot man in front of his back five in a defensive midfield position, adopting a 5-3-2 formation and to some effect – the Londoners have won their last four league games on the bounce.
With Ball lining up in front of the backline, he practically patrols the midfield on his own and allows those ahead of him to flourish – some QPR fans were impressed with the player’s performance against Millwall, with one labelling him a “destroyer”.
Ball averages 2.3 tackles and 2.3 successful aerial duels per game, and his effective defensive work behind Chair and Eze is proving beneficial to the duo.
In Eze’s case, the 21-year-old earned his first call-up to the England Under-21 squad this season, and has three goals and two assists in eight Championship starts – the former Millwall man has also won three WhoScored Man-of-the-Match awards in that time.
With Chair, the Morocco Under-23 international recently signed a new contract with the R’s and has been showing some fine form in midfield alongside Eze – he records 1.9 key passes and two shots per game and is seemingly benefiting from having less defensive work to do with Ball behind him.
Warburton could have played Ball in any of his three positions, but the R’s manager’s use of him ahead of the backline is proving beneficial to Chair and Eze above all.