Sunday, 28 October 2012

QPR Still Self Harming

The R's made the short trip to the Emirates not expecting to get much and duly obliged with another self inflicted defeat to halt any progress or realisation of the potential that is locked within this team.

Mbia' s moment of bad tempered petulance
QPR having managed to stop gifting goals to the opposition reverted to their old way of self harming by having a player needlessly sent off. Not only were they reduced to ten men for the last 10 minutes or so, but the man dismissed, Mbia, was our best defender on the day and was more than adequately dealing with all Arsenal had to offer on the day. On reflection things looked ominous from the moment Hughes announced his starting eleven, as he inexplicably recalled Wright-Phillips to replace Park and persisted in selecting Zamora to lead the line. Sadly though, Hughes game plan was to play for a draw and this negative approach saw the R's rarely utilise Zamora and Hoilett or the talents of Taarabt, when this was not one of the Gunners better teams and today was a good opportunity to get a rare three points at the Emirates.

Although negative in our approach to the game Arsenal were not much better until the second half when, as the home team should, they took the initiative and after some iffy handling in the first half Cesar made three or four class saves to keep QPR in the game. The back four were playing like a solid unit with the centre half pairing of Nelson and Mbia developing into a reliable partnership until Mbia's was sent off for a moment of bad tempered petulance that seems to be a trait of our imported footballers. Granero was good but not at his best playing the way Hughes had set us up. The main problem defensively is when we have to defend in two banks. The the rear bank of four seems to have settled but its the bank in front that is still naive in its defencive duties with far too many errors and this needs to be worked on. The hapless Wright-Phillips was again ineffective and gave the ball away needlessly so many times in the second half. Sadly, he is finished at this level and I cant think of any other team in the Premiership that would start him, in fact he would find it hard to get in a Championship side. Zamora, when given the opportunity, didn't do anything to justify a starting place next week. In fact it was only with the introduction of the energetic Mackie that we started to do anything positive coupled with the withdrawal of Zamora for Cisse. The R's two best chances of the game came late on when Granero shot wide after a great forward ball from Taarabt and then from Mackie who picked the ball up just inside the Arsenal half and beat off  three challenges before shooting at the lunging keeper from six yards. Arsenal's goal came from a scrambled effort that proved later to be offside, but should have been dealt with long before Arteta put it in.

Arsenal goal offside
In contrast to our recent visit to Arsenal's North London neighbours in Tottenham, this Rangers side played nothing like as well as they did at White Hart Lane, although we did what we were asked to do by Hughes well and could have, maybe should have got a point from this game. The atmosphere at the Emirates was again sterile and unfootball like, unlike at Spurs, but the travelling R's did their best to improve it. Personally I think the additional fan base Arsenal acquired to fill this stadium are not the kind of fans we are looking for at QPR, if we are to follow suit with our stadium ambitions. In fact if a new, larger stadium will result in an experience like the Emirates, you can keep it and I'll stick with my nice little Loftus Road with its real football fans.

We left White Hart Lane in defeat but filled with hope and expectancy having witnessed a progressive and positive display from the R's. We left the Emirates also in defeat, but with many questions that need answering. Why, in his press conference, did Hughes say he did not set up the team negatively? Why did he say he could not recall Arsenal having any chances apart from the one blasted over the bar from twelve yards by Cazorla? Why did Hughes start with SWP and Zamora? Why is he in denial over what actually happened in this match?.

Why is this talented QPR team under achieving and not winning games? Why do we continualy conspire to find ways of self harming ourselves in the form of throwing points away? Why have we only got three points in nine games? Why did Mbia, when playing so well, lose the plot and get sent off? Why have we gone eighteen premier leagues away games without a win (equivalent of a season)? Why did Mark Hughes sign Zamora? Why doesn't Hughes admit when he's wrong? Why has Mark Hughes only won one away game in almost eighty premier league outings? Why doesn't he have a plan B for matches? I could go on but these are the burning questions that need answering and addressing now and need discussing across the QPR forums.

We have a better squad than at least eight to ten other teams in the premiership and should be and could be much better. So where is it going wrong? Yes we have had a lot a bad luck of late and injuries but this is a results business and I'm finding it incredibly hard to defend our manager, Mark Hughes. Hughes has been given the best resources in the history of this club. He's been given the opportunity to build his own team, brought in his own people in the form the unimpressive "Taffia" Welsh/ex Chelsea contingent and been give time, lots of it. But his record at QPR is absolutely diabolical. Only 6 wins since he took over almost a year ago and just 2 points away from home, A worse record than Warnock had, when he got his marching orders. By anyboby's reckoning that is not good enough and any credibility he once held is negated by his continued insistence on picking players that aren't good enough and harm QPR. You could almost forgive the abysmal lack of away points if the home form was any good, but its not and to survive we have got to pick up our points at home. (Sooner as well as later)

Questions need answering. Does Hughes have the answers?
They say the table doesn't lie, however it is too early for it to tell the truth and we have certainly been worth more points than we have. I, like my fellow R's, am expecting a change in fortunes and for a run of form that will take us to the promised land of mid table mediocrity. Every game we hope this will be the game it starts to go right, but it doesn't. How long do we wait before we change it? I didn't want Hughes in the first place, but have been reluctant to get rid of him because of the unsettling effect that sacking a manager has. This has been all to familiar in our recent history. I really hope Hughes can turn it around for us. His biggest opportunity to redeem himself is about to be afforded to him in the next three games against Reading, Stoke and Southampton. Get this wrong Hughes and there will be nowhere to hide, no more excuses.  If he doesn't get the right results he will really feel the wrath of the QPR fans. The same QPR fans that I am yet to hear sing Hughes name in adulation.

We are still more than capable of staying up, we are a good team, but it will only happen under the correct stewardship. Now is your time, Mr Hughes, to prove you are that man and to lead QPR to its destiny on the journey that we know as the QPR revolution. For the sake of continuity I hope it is him.

Onwards and upwards, come on you R's.

The Bush Ranger.

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