QPR August Review: home comforts

With a two-week break from the Championship for internationals, this is a good time to review how all 24 teams have looked in their first five league games. Here’s our assessment of Queens Park Rangers.

What we said in pre-season

“Modest summer recruitment at Queens Park Rangers means Ian Holloway pins his hopes on January additions settling. Of those, Matt Smith and Luke Freeman should provide the quality to stave off relegation, but the disjointed feel to the Rs makes progress look unlikely. 19th

Have they surprised us so far?

They might be getting better results than anticipated, but Freeman’s form hasn’t surprised us. The creative midfielder was QPR’s highest-assisting player last season with four, despite not joining until the beginning of February. He has already added another three assists to his name in the first three months of this season, averaging 1.6 key passes per game with his lick through balls. Matt Smith has scored two headed goals, more than anyone in the division.

The positives

They’ve kept Alex Smithies. The ex-Huddersfield man has been arguably the best goalkeeper in the division since the start of last season. In the first five games of this campaign, no other goalkeeper has made as many saves as his 17 from shots taken from inside the 18-yard box (WhoScored). Smithies’ heroics are the main reason QPR haven’t conceded more than six goals.

The negatives

The defence is yet to convince in the absence of Grant Hall. They conceded two or more goals in eight of the 12 games the centre-back missed last term as Nedum Onuoha and Joel Lynch continue to toil. Once their key man returns, they might do better at holding onto leads. The Rs have won just one of the three games in which they scored the first goal: that came in the opening day 2-0 triumph over Reading, their only clean sheet of the season.

Late business

Holloway has added League Two play-off finalists from last year, David Wheeler and Bright Osayi-Samuel. The signing of two wide forwards opens up questions as to the tactics he will employ, having started two out-and-out strikers in four of his first five games.

The Football Lab’s Grade

Given that many QPR fans had feared a relegation scrap this year, having 14 teams below them after August represents a positive start. B