Queens Park Rangers 2-0 Millwall Player Ratings: commanding Leistner

QPR celebrate Eze’s goal – bbc.co.uk

Queens Park Rangers continued their promising September form with a 2-0 win over an uncharacteristically poor Millwall side thanks to goals from Massimo Luongo and Eberechi Eze. Here’s our Player Ratings from the game.

Queens Park Rangers

Joe Lumley – the goalkeeper has performed superbly since replacing Matt Ingram, keeping four clean sheets in five in all competitions. Although he wasn’t overly tested for the latest one, he still look comfortable when called upon. 6

Angel Rangel – after 11 years at Swansea, Rangel appears to have benefited from a change of scene and made some well-calculated forward runs here; he also completed four successful tackles, the joint-most on the pitch. 7
Toni Leistner – the centre-back, recruited from Union Berlin, took a month to adjust to the pace of the Championship but he has put in some commanding performances in recent weeks and this was one of his best. The German was largely dominant in his duels with Gregory and was always in control in potentially awkward situations. 9
Joel Lynch – the centre-back’s performances have been hit and miss in recent years, but he used his physicality superbly here and dominated in every aerial duel, winning 16 of them in total – that exceeds a rate of one successful header every six minutes! 9
Jake Bidwell – the left-back has perhaps benefited from being relieved of his duties as captain; he looks free to concentrate on his own game rather than be overly responsible for his teammates. Got some distance on his throw-ins and was able to get towards the penalty box unchartered on various occasions, setting up Eze’s goal. 7

Jordan Cousins – the ex-Charlton man certainly looks more at home in midfield than he does at right-back. Although he did roll one tame effort wide from distance, he was a key part of QPR’s play down the right channel and always offered an option for Wells; he also had a hand in the second goal in a selfless display. 8
Geoff Cameron – the experienced utility man, who has played in the Premier League with Stoke, came into the side to offer extra defensive protection and that was vital here. Cameron snuffed out one or two attempted breakaways down QPR’s left channel when Freeman was caught out of position and shielded the back-four well. 7
Massimo Luongo – the former Swindon man has been QPR’s best player in recent seasons and here, he held his position well and bravely glanced home in front of the goalkeeper to score the opener, before a fierce strike just before the hour mark flew just over. 7

Eberechi Eze – the prodigious young talent seemed to relish the extra creative freedom he was given as a non-striker in a one-striker system. Not only is he very mobile, he uses his mobility cleverly to win free-kicks and get into pockets of space that are difficult to pick up. Took his goal very well, knocking the ball into the ground and over Amos; quieter for a spell in the second half but still combined well at times and could have won a penalty. 8
Nahki Wells – the spritely forward has injected speed into QPR’s attack since joining from Burnley; he got through a lot of work in the right channel and although he might have had it tough in key areas against Cooper early on, he persisted and became more of a threat once the first goal went in and space opened up. 7
Luke Freeman – like Eze, Freeman was given extra licence to roam into central areas – sometimes even to the opposite flank – in a one-striker system and, perhaps, that is why we saw the best of him. At times linked up superbly with the forwards around him and played his usual pin-point deliveries, too. 8

Tomer Hemed (on 72) – the target man, who couldn’t start due to fasting for religious reasons, gave the Rs a focal point and held the ball up well to help the team manage the game effectively. 7
Josh Scowen (on 81) – although Scowen was considered an important player under Ian Holloway, it is somewhat curious that QPR’s best play over the last three games has come without him on the field. 5
Matt Smith (on 88) – it seems telling that, with Hemed not starting, McClaren opted to change system rather than start Smith, a very similar type of striker; having been indispensable to QPR last season, the target man has become far more of a peripheral figure. 5

Millwall

Ben Amos – Jordan Archer came in for criticism at times last season but, on this evidence, the jury is also out on Amos, who joined on loan from Bolton in the summer. The goalkeeper fumbled in the lead-up to the opener, then was beaten by the bounce for the second goal, when one suspects a good Championship stopper might have prevented both. Partially redeemed himself when he made good second half saves from Wells and Freeman. 4

Conor McLaughlin – the right-back impressed in League One with Fleetwood, but was guilty of switching off on more than one occasion here which saw him lose key battles with Bidwell. Got forward more from the 40th minute onwards and, at least, put in one or two decent deliveries. 5

Murray Wallace – the centre-back was a model of consistency at Scunthorpe but, in a fast-paced Championship, he can be caught out for a lack of pace and that was perhaps in evidence in the lead-up to the second goal. Perhaps, as a left-footed defender playing on the right, he was thrown off-kilter, but that should only partially excuse a very disappointing night. 4
Jake Cooper – the former Reading centre-back was arguably Millwall’s best starting player. He won his duels with Wells in tight, central areas early on, then continued to get on the end of set pieces and long throws, even if he sometimes struggled to generate power on his headers until one cannoned off the bar. 7
James Meredith – it might have been a hard night for Meredith for personal reasons, considering the very serious news about his former Bradford teammate this week, which might have interfered with his on-field performance, quite understandably. 5

Jed Wallace – the right-winger enjoyed an outstanding 2017-18 campaign but thus far hasn’t quite hit the same heights and was barely recognizable at Loftus Road. Although Wallace made a couple of runs in the second half, he didn’t make them with the same energy and directness that we have come to expect from him. 4
Ryan Leonard – although highly-rated at Southend, Leonard had a tough evening here and did not try to engage with the ball until it reached the defensive third, at least while the game was level. Once Millwall were behind, he perhaps lacked the authority in possession to help his side gain tangible control. 4
Shaun Williams – on his day, the midfielder has an impressive passing range but that didn’t show in Shepherd’s Bush where, in the first 30 minutes, Williams was so focused on blocking out space for Eze, Freeman and others that he struggled to impose himself in a more positive sense. Arguably the better of the two midfielders though as he still put in one or two decent set pieces and was not afraid to get stuck in on occasions. 6
Aiden O’Brien – the Irishman wants to be a striker but is unlucky to have found himself behind a lot of good front-men in the pecking order; his performance here added weight to suggestions that he isn’t a left-winger – Millwall’s run last season came with Ben Marshall on the left – and thus, one cannot help but wonder whether O’Brien may need to leave Bermondsey to truly flourish. 4

Tom Bradshaw – the hardworking striker offers good movement up top, but his qualities are best suited to a possession-based system, as we saw at Walsall a few seasons ago. While a lot of Lions fans wanted to see Bradshaw start, he doesn’t offer the aerial prowess that Morison provides – let alone the aura – and thus it is difficult to see him becoming a long-term replacement. 4

Lee Gregory – the striker, who has been so important to Millwall’s rise over the previous three seasons, has now scored just one league goal since March. Looked a tad livelier when Morison came on but, with just one blocked effort all night, he needs to get into better shooting positions during the team’s better spells. 4

Steve Morison (on 45) – it took Morison’s arrival for Millwall to look anything like the side we saw last season; if anything, those 45-minutes highlights the team’s overreliance on a 35-year-old who’s unique range of qualities will be incredibly hard to one day replace. 7
Jiri Skalak (on 74) – the former Brighton man appears to be more of a natural wide option than O’Brien and put in some good deliveries from deep. 6
Tom Elliott (on 79) – Elliott is not universally popular among Lions fans but he did at least put himself about here. 6