I was sitting silently, inconspicuously, today in one of the final available seats in the southwest corner of Loftus Road. For those who haven't been, that means I was 19 rows up from the field, ~60 yards from the goal, and adjacent to the away (spurs) supporters. To those americans who read this blog (and haven't been to a Prem game, as I hadn't before today), the atmosphere was like a basketball game. Everybody is close to the field, there are no bad seats, and you can hear and understand everything.
And today, what was to hear and understand, was that spurs were entirely unimpressive. The lineup they trotted out seemed singularly uninspired (the lineup was announced by number, and the spurs fans nearby looked around wondering if they hadn't been listening when the striker was announced -- we heard Defoe, we heard VDV,, but...). This unambitious lineup prompted QPR supporters to chant "You're only playing one up front!" (and they were lucky to give spurs credit for more than 3/4ths, given Deofe's height and effect on the game). The announcement of substitutes (Smith, Khumalo, Dos Santos) made it clear that spurs figured that either they simply didn't have healthy enough players to compete, or that they thought their middling game would get the job done. Well, it didn't.
Aside from the first five minutes, QPR bossed the game. Nobody on Tottenham seemed willing to take the game by the scruff of its neck and capture it. Modric was tentative, Defoe felt he wasn't getting the right balls fed in to him, VDV was entirely absent, Bale seemed busy rolling around on the ground (aside for one or two breathtaking runs in the second half that ended with him rolling around on the ground)... and nobody else was there. In the second half, Walker and Lennon dominated the right side (where all there play was coming from -- the QPR cheers dried up in fear when Lennon got the ball). The day was summed up when Hooked on Phonics Harry subbed BAE for Danny Rose at roughly the 70 minute marker. Spurs fans seemed confused by that seemingly like-for-like substitution but... who else was there?! With Spurs' attackers as befuddled as any British people have been that close to Notting Hill since Hugh Grant, it felt like the only way the team could score was with a 25 yard stonker.
Indeed, it took a 25 yard stonker to settle the game. Former spur and hookah fan Adel Taraabt settled matters with a well taken free kick that swerved into the back of the net . The Moroccan, who has likely been the only person in England never to doubt his ability, seemed to revel in his part in the match. Even his long, slow, walk off the pitch after his second yellow card was as much an exercise in ego as it was a time-waster (a note on the refereeing: It seemed fine, really, and if anything leaning towards spurs. The major calls were mostly correct (he seemed unaware that he was giving Taraabt his second yellow, and therefore a red that, by the book, was deserved) and he did a great job with some non-calls. Five minutes of stoppage time seemed fair). After his goal, QPR fans continually chanted "Taraabt's too good for you" at the School End (away end of the stadium). Spurs supporters were too shocked to answer, after he got kicked out, that the moroccan seemed too good for Rangers too.
It should be mentioned that in the last 10 minutes Bobby Zamora did a lot to kill the game. Sometimes you want a big strong striker who can either have a go at goal or take the ball into the corner and kill the game. The spurs lack this, and it was clear today. It should be noted that the pitch seemed much smaller today than it often does (worth noting that it's only 72 yards wide -- Tottenham also lost at Stoke, which is the smallest pitch in the prem. Once QPR started playing 10 men behind the ball, it seemed like spurs were trying to unlock a door with a key they didn't have).
That's about all from here -- if you hadn't known who was where in the table, you might have guessed QPR were fighting for a champions league place and Spurs were mid-table. As it is, Spurs are three points shy of champions league qualification, and, for the first time since September, the oddsmakers have them as more likely to miss qualification than make it (though still likelier to make it than Newcastle or Chelsea). With four games left in the league, any spurs fan should want to look their formerly fantastic looking playmakers and manager in they eye and ask, as the QPR fans did today (though perhaps without making the wanker sign), "Who are ya"?
Four winnable games left, Spurs. Given Newcastle's schedule, you likely still control your own destiny. Who are ya?