As QPR basked in the sunshine of their deliverance and waves of summer signings lapped the Loftus Road shore, a long-levitating penny seems to have dropped in the mind of Adel Taarabt – that to establish himself in the Premier League, he must shake off his reputation as a luxury player.
His virtue, or rather virtuosity, was well known to Fantasy managers following his 19 goals and 16 assists in QPR’s 2010/11 promotion push, but it quickly transpired that the mercurial Moroccan was bereft of his manager’s trust in the unforgiving air of the top flight. Frequently benched, occasionally omitted from the squad entirely, a reluctance to degrade his art to a trade tried the patience of his embattled boss.
Handed a fresh start and a new three-year contract, Taarabt was conspicuous in the starting 11 for QPR’s opening day pasting at the hands of Swansea, but Mark Hughes’ explanations for his subsequent banishment carried a decidedly familiar tune. Exiled throughout September, Taarabt came off the bench to score against West Ham on October 1 and notched again the following week at the Hawthorns. Playing every minute since, including an excursion to The Emirates in which he recorded twice as many tackles as his nearest midfield competitor, his all-round displays seem to be finally cementing him a starting berth.
With still no wins to his credit and little to show for his summer expenditure, the vultures are starting to circle for Sparky – and his future may well depend on the outcome of the next three games (RGD, stk, SOT). Hosting two of the Premier League’s most porous defences in the next three, attacking returns should be on the cards for the twinkle-toed Taarabt; and whilst Esteban Granero has usurped a portion of the set-piece patrimony, the Moroccan magician is still assured a substantial share. Importantly, with direct attempts his particular penchant, he may have the best chance of breaching the Britannia barricades come Gameweek 11.
In terms of competition for investment, the aforementioned Granero offers assured starts and a share of set pieces at 5.5 in FPL and 6.5 in Sky Sports, and Junior Hoilett offers good open play threat with less security of game time at 5.8 (7.1 in Sky Sports and listed as a forward). Up top, Bobby Zamora has a consistency of starts at 6.4 in FPL and a hefty 8.2 in Sky Sports, but with forward line spots ever at a premium and no goals in four, the smart money looks to be in midfield. Tipping the scales at 5.5 in FPL and 5.2 in the Sky Sports game, we’re backing Taarabt to offer the most bang for your buck from the QPR ranks over the weeks to come.