Pete O'Rourke looks back at Queens Park Rangers' goalless draw with Norwich at Loftus Road
Last Updated: 02/02/13 4:00pm
Queens Park Rangers have only 13 games left to save themselves from relegation after dropping two crucial points in the draw with Norwich.
Harry Redknapp has sorted out QPR's defensive problems with another clean sheet, but it is at the other end of the pitch where they are struggling.
Redknapp has gambled on bringing in some big-money signings in the January transfer window and Loic Remy was sorely missed against Norwich as they saw three points slip from their grasp.
QPR handed debuts to deadline day signings Christopher Samba and Andros Townsend. Midfielder Jermaine Jenas, signed by his former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, started on the bench, but £8million striker Remy missed out through injury.
Norwich were unchanged from their impressive midweek 1-1 draw against Tottenham as new signing Luciano Becchio, from Leeds, started on the bench.
Redknapp began with a 4-2-3-1 formation with Jamie Mackie leading the line up front and unfortunately he found himself isolated in attack.
The presence of Shaun Derry and Stephane Mbia in midfield gives the defence more security and Adel Taarabt and Townsend were handed the responsibility to provide the creativity in the final third.
Chris Hughton stuck with his tried and trusted 4-4-1-1 formation with Wes Hoolahan playing just behind lone attacker Grant Holt and it was Hoolahan who posed the biggest threat to QPR with his roaming role.
Redknapp made the first change on 54 minutes when he introduced Bobby Zamora for Shaun Wright-Phillips and that meant a change of formation to 4-4-2 as Zamora came on to provide some support to Mackie up front.
Jenas was brought on for his debut on 69 minutes for the more defensive Mbia as QPR went in search of a goal, while Tal Ben Haim became the 50th different player to play for QPR in the Premier League since their promotion back to the top flight when he replaced Fabio late on
Norwich were forced into an early change when Anthony Pilkington limped off with an injury with Elliott Bennett replacing him. Becchio was handed his Norwich debut two minutes from time, but the new boy did not have enough time to have an impact
Jonathan Moss enjoyed a good afternoon and got most of the big decisions right.
The official was right in awarding QPR a penalty when Mark Bunn brought down Mackie inside the box, but QPR fans might argue that Moss got it wrong by only booking the Norwich keeper rather than sending him off.
In what was bit of a fractious game at times Moss booked seven players in total - five from Norwich and two from QPR.
Taarabt took the game to Norwich from the first whistle and was QPR's best player in a poor opening half.
However, unfortunately for Taarabt he was guilty of spurning the best chance for QPR when he saw his penalty kept out by Bunn.
Debutants Samba and Townsend both impressed in their first starts for the club with Samba dominant at the back and Townsend providing some cut and thrust in attack.
Bunn was the key man for Norwich and produced several good saves to ensure Norwich picked up a point. The keeper has come under fire from some Norwich fans, but his penalty save was the key incident in the game. Hoolahan and Snodgrass were the two most creative players in the Norwich side and they combined twice in the game only for Hoolahan to first fire over the crossbar before being denied in the second half by a brilliant save from Julio Cesar.
One point at this stage of the season is not good enough for QPR and they really need to turn these draws into wins if they are to have any chance of staying up.
QPR have lost just three of their 12 Premier League games under Redknapp, but they need to go on a winning run to climb clear of trouble
Next up is a difficult trip to the Liberty Stadium to take on Swansea before a home clash with league leaders Manchester United
Failure to take anything from those two games could see QPR cut adrift of their relegation rivals after seeing two crucial points dropped against Norwich.
For Norwich they will be the happier of the two sides with the draw, even though it stretches their winless run to eight games.
Norwich find themselves with a healthy gap between the bottom three and with home games against Fulham and Everton to come they will be hopeful of picking up some points to move further clear of drop zone.