Following Queens Park Rangers winning their first three points of the season on Saturday, focus has been placed firmly on the man of the match performance of their enigmatic midfielder Adel Taarabt; a player Harry Redknapp could be set to get the best out of.
By Rob Boulton
I’ve never been to Morocco but would lay a fair few quid on the fact they probably don’t care very much for Marmite, and with North African cuisine and culture you would hope their diet has no place at all for a yeast based spread that even markets itself on the fact that just as many people hate it as love it.
A rather strange opening passage to a football related article I agree, but in Adel Taarabt Morocco have produced their very own Marmite footballer – loved by many as the creative genius loaded with the ability to pick the locks of the finest defences in the land, but mistrusted and doubted by just as many who feel for every standout performance there are four or five games that follow where you see mere fleeting glimpses of the precocious talent, and rarely when the chips are down.
Talking of which, the chips have been so far down this season at Loftus Road that they gave up looking for the King Edward potatoes (Mark Hughes), and have now put all their faith back in the solid and reliable family favourite the Maris Piper (Harry Redknapp). The appointment of Redknapp was about as predictable as some nugget from the X Factor getting a Christmas number one with a cover version of a previously decent song, as he whored himself about on every media outlet possible pretending to be enjoying some time with the family, but always making it clear he’d be interested in any vacancies that come to be.
Arriving at a club without a win in the league and rooted to the bottom of the table, even Redknapp’s famed man-management skills were being questioned and his sanity even further as a man close to retirement age took on a daunting challenge to rescue their QPR’s Premier League status. One thing he’s always loved is a flair player, though in Taarabt there was some murky history as it was Redknapp who released him when he became manager at Spurs, believing that for all the individual talent he had no place in his team. The Spurs fans were sorry to see Taarabt leave after some very promising appearances (mainly as a substitute) had endeared him to the White Hart Lane faithful, but he found a spiritual home across London as a QPR side desperate to regain top flight status suddenly had a star turn to help them navigate the marathon of life in the Championship.
A number of dazzling displays had the fans drooling and dreaming of former cult heroes Stan Bowles and Rodney Marsh, as Taarabt’s mercurial talents lit up the league and made watching QPR an exciting and interesting experience once again. Helping secure promotion two years ago, much was written and expected of Taraabt last season but he failed to live up to the hype and many questioned whether the step up to the top league was possibly one too many for a showman who needs a team built around him.
I’m not sure if the Rangers supporters were just so in need of a lift that anything positive is being blown out of all proportion, but after a solid start under Redknapp and a few draws nudging up their points tally, Saturday’s win against Fulham and Taarabt’s starring role in it are now being talked up to frankly quite laughable levels. Yes, Taarabt was fantastic, and his second goal curled in with the outside of his boot from the edge of the area was delightful to watch, but it will only count for something if the team continue to scrap and battle their way out of relegation mire – and if Taraabt is to really start earning his cult status and star billing then he should be at the fulcrum of that revival.
The time is now to find out if Adel Taarabt is a Moroccan based couscous sprinkled with magical ingredients of genius, or a Tesco value couscous hidden underneath fancy packaging in an aisle he doesn’t belong in.
Can Adel Taarabt lead QPR to safety or is he more of a commodity that the relegation strugglers can’t afford? Tweet us @talkingbaws or comment below.