With Mark Warburton having seen his Queen Park Rangers side suffer something of a setback in the Championship over the last eight days, with the Rs losing their first and second league fixtures of the season in back to back matches, the 59-year-old manager would have undoubtedly been hoping for a positive performance in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday evening to get his side back on track.
And, despite their opponents being Premier League side Everton, QPR duly delivered for their manager, boasting 61% possession in the fixture, completing 197 more passes than the Toffees and winning 13 more duels than Rafael Benitez’s side, with the scoreline reading 2-2 at 90 minutes.
Warburton’s men then demonstrated incredible composure and maturity in the subsequent penalty shootout, scoring all eight of their spot-kicks, meaning that Tom Davies’ miss sent the Rs through to the fourth round of the competition for the first time since 2008.
As such, rather predictably when considering the result, a number of the west London side highly impressed in the match, with Charlie Austin – who scored both of the Rs’ two goals in the clash – Christopher Willock, Yoann Barbet and Seny Dieng all turning in dominant displays against the Toffees.
However, it was 23-year-old attacking midfielder Ilias Chair who, from a statistical point of view, stole the show against Everton.
Over his 76 minutes on the pitch, Chair was arguably QPR’s most important player, with the Morocco international continually causing the Everton midfield and defence problems with both his creativity and attacking inclination.
Indeed, the £3.6m-rated man ended the fixture with one assist to his name – which came after a delightful piece of skill on the left-wing, before putting the ball square on Charlie Austin’s forehead between two Everton defenders – as well as making three key passes, completing both of his attempted crosses and hitting the target with 100% of his shots.
The player Warburton dubbed a “lively” talent also managed 53 touches of the ball, completed 86% of his passes and made one tackle during his spell on the pitch.
These returns saw the £7.1k-per-week midfielder earn a SofaScore match rating of 7.2 in the fixture, something which, considering the level of the opposition, only further highlights the progress Chair has made under Warburton in the last few seasons – with the 23-year-old clearly boasting the ability to play a major role in QPR’s push for a top-six finish in the Championship this season.