Saturday Analysis: Arsenal show no mercy, Liverpool show no guile
QPR 2-2 Stoke
That didn't delight the locals, who seemed to have an issue with Stoke manager Mark Hughes on his first return to QPR since his sacking in November 2012, but Loftus was lifted just before half-time when Steven Caulker escaped Ryan Shawcross's marking to nod home Jordon Mutch's corner through a clutch of Potters on the goal-line.
Moses and Crouch had continued to combine, and in the 51st minute the Nigerian's cross was skilfully turned home left-footed by the boyhood QPR fan for his first goal since March. The home side then had the better of the game, although hardly overwhelmingly – they finished with 53.3% possession and 318 passes completed to Stoke's 280.
The chief culprit was Niko Kranjcar, none of whose first 4 shots bothered Begovic; it's possible that the Croatian, playing at the tip of Redknapp's midfield diamond, may have been subbed had the home side not been forced into two switches through injuries to Barton and Jordon Mutch, along with the traditional introduction of Bobby Zamora. But the 30-year-old, whom Redknapp has signed four times, came up trumps in the 88th minute with a superb free-kick.
QPR 2-2 Stoke: Further reading
- Mame Biram Diouf’s goal was the first that Stoke City have scored before half-time in the Premier League this season (in their 5th game)
- After 10 Premier League appearances without a goal or assist, Peter Crouch scored & assisted for Stoke in this match.
- The last three occasions that Crouch has scored and assisted in the same Premier League match have come against former sides (Aston Villa twice, QPR)
- 6 of Steven Caulker’s 8 Premier League goals have been headers.
- Jordon Mutch's last 6 assists in the PL have come in home games (5 for Cardiff, 1 for QPR).
- Niko Kranjcar scored his first Premier League goal since February 2012.
- Kranjcar has now scored 3 Premier League goals against Stoke, making them his favourite opponents in the competition.
- Stoke are now unbeaten in their last 5 Premier League away games (W2 D3), their best run since April 2010 (6 games) and only the second time in PL history that they have gone five away games without defeat.