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Allardyce Hammers Hughes on grim night in W12 – full match report
Allardyce Hammers Hughes on grim night in W12 – full match report
Tuesday, 2nd Oct 2012 23:11 by Clive Whittingham

Much maligned West Ham boss Sam Allardyce made a mockery of Mark Hughes’ assertion that his QPR team is always meticulously prepared for games with a comprehensive victory at Loftus Road.

Like a horny teenager on a lads' week away to Magaluf, fate never has required much tempting.

In the post-survival euphoria of May, Mark Hughes stated that QPR would never find themselves in such a precarious position again while he was the manager. Not content with being made to look more foolish for that comment with each passing week of the new season, Hughes came out with another sound bite prior to Monday night's match with West Ham. "We prepare the team meticulously to give them the best chance to be successful," said Hughes before kick off, which made what followed kind of inevitable.

The Hammers were well prepared, well drilled and came with a clear game plan that they executed solidly. They came with a midfield three of in form Kevin Nolan, Mark Noble and Mohammed Diame who picked QPR apart comprehensively for Wigan at the DW Stadium last season. Those three look like they should be minding the door of a dodgy East End gentleman’s club, not lining up in midfield for the local team, but QPR picked a lightweight foursome of Shaun Wright-Phillips, Esteban Granero, Alejandro Faurlin and Ji-Sung Park to play against them and strung them out across a four man midfield. Rangers were bullied, physically dominated and comprehensively outplayed as a result.

Without even going into the puzzling decision to drop Junior Hoilett after two excellent displays, or the continued absence of Adel Taarabt from the starting 11, or the perplexing faith in Wright-Phillips and Park who are currently offering little to the team, this team selection suggested that nobody at QPR had ever seen West Ham play before.

It was the kind of management that has club owners considering their options. Tony Fernandes stated unequivocally before and after the match that Mark Hughes is his man, and both manager and chairman pointed, with some justification, to a lengthening injury list that seems to be almost exclusively targeting the defence. With Jose Bosingwa, Fabio Da Silva and Anton Ferdinand already out Hughes was left to lament Kieron Dyer's own temptation of fate. After a spate of recent interviews about saliva tests, extreme training regimes and new found fitness, surprise surprise he was ruled out of this meeting with his former club as well.

The back four basically picked itself as Hughes selected the only four remaining fit senior players – Nedum Onuoha, Ryan Nelsen, Stephane Mbia and Clint Hill – in front of Julio Cesar. They were shambolic, conceding a pathetic goal after two minutes, a second before half time, and avoiding a second five goal thrashing of the season more by luck than judgement. They made Carlton Cole – a fine physical specimen but with a work rate and cowardice to rival Jay Bothroyd – look like a Premier League striker which is no mean feat. His supporting cast of Matt Jarvis and Ricardo Vaz Te needed no second invitation to run riot and help themselves to a goal apiece.

The first of those came inside three minutes. Clint Hill could count himself unfortunate to see a sliding tackle on Vaz Te that would send the ball out for a corner nine times out of ten rebound back to the West Ham man and when he found Nolan in the area the marking was so slack that he had all the time he wanted to shin a percentage ball up to the back post where Jarvis was also unmarked and maintained enough composure to nod the ball delicately into the far corner from close range.

A minute before this, QPR had managed to disrupt a promising West Ham attack throughout which Jarvis remained unattended, with Onuoha tucking into the centre back position and Wright-Phillips standing down the field marking nobody but pointing at the former Wolves winger.

An early shambles.

The QPR back four is what it is at the moment: injury hit, constantly changing, makeshift, full of players out of position, full of players out of form. Mark Hughes can do little about it until he gets bodies back. Mbia looks like a central midfielder out of position, Onuoha and Hill certainly don’t look like Premier League full backs and Nelsen is getting a bit old to be holding a monkey’s tea party together.

In midfield though Hughes has enough options to be able to leave Adel Taarabt, Junior Hoilett and Samba Diakite on the bench. The lack of the first two meant Rangers lacked creativity, the lack of the Mad Malian meant West Ham were able to physically dominate in midfield and carve a path to goal at will. As the time ticked into double figures Diame shrugged off Wright-Phillips as if he wasn’t even there and then had enough time and space to try a long range shot which deflected off Ryan Nelsen, flew over Julio Cesar’s head, and fortunately flew fractionally too high to nestle in the top corner.

Perhaps it’s worth pointing out that while QPR were bringing in 12 players on big contracts and for club record transfer fees during the summer, West Ham picked up Diame for nothing. He was everything Rangers needed and more on Monday night, just as he had been when we played at Wigan a year ago.

On a rare occasion when QPR were able to get Faurlin and then Granero on the ball in a good area the Spaniard worked the ball wide to Wright-Phillips and then received it back in the penalty box but hammered a first time shot over the bar. Five minutes later Wright-Phillips was felled on the corner of the penalty box by Joey O’Brien, who was perhaps lucky to escape a yellow card from referee Mark Clattenburg considering what came later, giving Granero a chance to deliver a free kick into the heart of the danger area. He did just that, tempting Jaaskelainen from his goal line and into a rash punch that missed the ball completely and knocked centre back Winston Reid clean out. Play was immediately stopped and Reid was eventually replaced by James Tomkins.

West Ham, in contrast to QPR, had fielded the same back four for the previous three matches to this point and only conceded a single goal in that time but having been forced into one change Sam Allardyce quickly had to make another when O’Brien left the field with a tight hamstring and was replaced by George McCartney.

In the meantime Cisse’s shoot on sight policy had brought one routine save from Jaaskelainen and another near miss over the bar from 25 yards out. Cisse wasn’t playing well, his partnership with Zamora spluttering and lacking cohesion – albeit in the face of meagre service from elsewhere – but he did at least pose a goal threat to West Ham. Ten minutes before half time he controlled a ball in the area, turned and lashed the ball goalwards but saw the shot blocked away and then two minutes later he executed a technically brilliant airborne volley from the edge of the area that Jaaskelainen tipped over the bar.

But don’t be fooled into thinking this meant QPR were in the game though, because they weren’t. They were already crying out for a change in personnel and system. I’d have been tempted to introduce Diakite in between Faurlin and Granero with either Hoilett or Taarabt (I said Hoilett at the time, just to prove I’m not being wise after the event) as early as the fifteenth minute because this was a match going in only one direction.

Hughes stuck with what he had and just after the half hour what he had conceded an inevitable second goal. A corner from Noble initially caused absolute havoc in the QPR six yard area and although they survived and Bobby Zamora was able to poke it away his clearance didn’t even clear the penalty area and after Tomkins returned it to the back post Cesar contrived to concede a weak, slightly deflected, shot from Vaz Te who seemed to have nothing to aim at but nevertheless sent a shot snaking into the net at the near post.

If the first goal was a shambles then this was a defensive catastrophe. Hughes had to make a change now. Rangers were being overrun and out played; they were carrying Park and Wright-Phillips in a system that played into West Ham’s hands in every possible way and they had players on the bench who could have changed the game.

The teams exchanged headed chances as normal time drained away from the watch – Carlton Cole’s powerful near post effort from Vaz Te’s cross was a good deal closer than Zamora’s from Wright-Phillips’ centre that he rather got underneath and could only guide into the lower School End.

The Reid injury brought four minutes of added time in which Cisse saw a shot blocked and Mark Noble joined his team mate Diame in Clattenburg’s book – both for clumsy fouls in the midfield area.

I’m taking a breath and holding my tongue at this point. I think you can probably guess what I thought about Hughes sending the same flawed team in the same flawed system out for the second period.

Repeating the same action and expecting different results is the definition of insanity and therefore it was no surprise to the sane to see the second half start in exactly the same way the first had ended. Within a minute the Hammers had forced a corner which Tomkins came close to connecting with at the back post. Rangers failed to clear properly and when Jarvis returned it Clint Hill had to hack out from under his own cross bar as Vaz Te loitered for a tap in. Hill could only found Nolan who played it back into the area and Cesar was this time called into action by a firm strike from Diame which he turned behind.

We were now at the stage where QPR and Hughes deserved absolutely everything that came their way. Another 5-0 defeat was certainly not out of the question.

Finally, finally, some 55 minutes too late, QPR sent on Adel Taarabt and Samba Diakite for Ji-Sung Park and Shaun Wright-Phillips and switched out of the totally ineffective and wide open 442 system into a more solid, competitive and creative 433. Mercy.

Play restarted and Diakite immediately won the ball in the midfield, rode two challenges from Cole and Diame and accelerated to the edge of the West Ham area to set up a crossing opportunity which West Ham scrambled away. While I was marvelling at QPR finally having some physical presence in the middle of midfield, Rangers won the ball back for a second time thanks to Nelsen. He found Hill who knocked a pretty poor, bouncing pass down the line to Adel Taarabt and it was show time.

With his first touch of the game the Moroccan brought a difficult ball under control, moved in field, checked back on himself briefly to trick Demel into conceding a yard of space, and then used that gap to unleash a 25-yard barnburner into the top corner of the goal, almost ripping the net off the back of the posts in the process. Jaaskelainen never moved.

Clattenburg booked him for over celebrating – still the single worst rule in the sport just as it was when it was applied to Cisse last week, but still one that everybody knows about and players should not invite trouble from. That said, as Taarabt didn’t actually remove his shirt fully, it does rather beg the question why Manchester City players are allowed to reveal various slogans on vests in this way without punishment but QPR players are not.

Of more pressing concern was the yellow card picked up by Diakite two minutes later for a deliberate chop on Vaz Te as he threatened to race away. Now there’s nothing wrong with this taking-one-for-the-team type foul ordinarily, and just after the hour McCartney was also booked for a similarly cynical pull back on Diakite. The problem is the Malian is to self discipline what Jimmy Saville is to child protective services and a quarter of an hour later he foolishly lunged in on Demel attempting to win a ball that was never his and was sent off.

In between the two bookings the complexion of the game had changed completely. Suddenly it was a contest, flowing from end to end in front of a raucous crowd. It was basically everything it should and would have been had QPR picked the right starting 11.

Jaaskelainen was forced into a decent one handed save after Granero worked space for a shot on the edge of the area. The Spaniard was better after moving out of the cut and thrust of the middle of the park but has played a lot of football lately after going months without regular matches and looked tired alongside Ale Faurlin who was also flagging long before the end and played poorly.

At the other end Cole stormed through on goal after Diakite lost his footing on the edge of the area but rolled a one on one chance wide of the target. He was somewhat more cute with a back-heeled attempt moments before that, but Cesar was equal to it.

Relieved to still be in the game, Rangers came again. Taarabt produced a superb ball for Cisse to run onto and draw a nervous save from Jaaskelainen with a low shot.

Sensing a change in the flow of the evening Allardyce sent on his giant loan striker Andy Carroll instead of Carlton Cole, but a minute later Diakite did the West Ham manager’s job for him. The only defence I can offer for the former Nice man’s moronic action is that plenty of referees would have awarded a free kick and settled for a final warning given his small amount of time on the pitch, during which he’d only committed two fouls. But both challenges were bookings and he has only himself to blame.

It should also be said that by this stage Clattenburg was almost walking around the field with the card permanently in his hand. He booked Jaaskelainen for time wasting after the Granero near miss, then Carlton Cole rather harshly for a challenge on Clint Hill because it was the latest in a series, and then Kevin Nolan for complaining about all of this.

That took us to eight bookings already in a far from dirty match and the ninth sent Diakite off for a taste of the early bath water. Later there were time wasting yellows for both Tomkins and James Collins in the West Ham defence as well meaning nine Hammers had seen yellow on the night.

While it’s easy to criticise Clattenburg for being card happy and suggest he could have managed the game in a slightly calmer manner – he was and he could have – I had a good deal of sympathy with him. How many times have we moaned about a referee doing nothing about flagrant time wasting other than occasionally pointing at his watch and then adding the standard four minutes to the end of the game that he’d have added anyway? It was nice to see an official actually do something about it – booking four and adding six minute at the end.

Similarly, why should Kevin Nolan be able to follow Clattenburg all around the field of play yelling at him about every single decision all night? Captain’s privileges only go so far, and considering Clattenburg broke off briefly from the card fest to let Nolan off with a late tackle on Mark Hughes’ third sub Junior Hoilett four minutes from time when Diakite was sent off for something similar Nolan can count himself fortunate to have stayed on. Sam Allardyce said afterwards that it was never a game that warranted 11 bookings, and for tackles he was right, but half the cards were for things other than fouls which sort of ruins his point. Clattenburg should have taken a breath, calmed down, and put the card away for a bit, but I’m not going to complain too much about the way he handled the game.

The sending off killed QPR’s comeback hopes, and the atmosphere in the ground, stone dead. Deprived of the physicality in midfield, Rangers went back to being dominated and were grateful to great goalkeeping from Julio Cesar to tip a fizzing volley from Vaz Te onto the bar, and then a slice of luck when Nolan saw two goalbound shots blocked after Carroll had retrieved a seemingly lost cause on the byline. Rangers had played 55 minutes with nine men, and the last 20 with ten – for the 15 minutes the teams were equal they looked like they might win.

To add to the bad feeling around the place, Vaz Te had one of those everything-that’s-wrong-with-the-modern-game moments four minutes from time when he collapsed pathetically to the floor under no contact at all from Clint Hill, rolled around trying to get the QPR man booked, and then refused attempts from first Cesar and then Clattenburg to pick him up. It was one of the most pathetic things I’ve ever seen at a sporting fixture, heaping embarrassment on West Ham who’d been thoroughly excellent all night and didn’t need him performing like that at all.

Clattenburg added six minutes, Hughes slung on Hoilett for Onuoha and the R’s forced further awkward saves from Jaaskelainen as first Cisse and then Faurlin tried their luck from the edge of the box. Cesar denied West Ham the third goal they deserved by blocking Carroll’s drive back to him and the big Geordie skied the rebound into the stand. It mattered little.

QPR have thrashed wildly around over the past few years with scores of new signings and a steady stream of managers. The last thing we need now is more of either. Modern day football and its constant, 24/7, microscopic coverage means that every triumph feels like the ultimate achievement, and every set back like a world-ending disaster. Not getting carried away with either is the key to success – stability, calmness and cool heads will breed success in time.

This defeat was almost entirely Mark Hughes’ fault in my opinion, but bowing to increasing pressure and replacing him at this stage would be mindless.

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QPR: Cesar 6, Onuoha 4 (Hoilett 84, -), Nelsen 5, Mbia 4, Hill 4, Park 3 (Diakite 56, 5), Granero 5, Faurlin 5, Wright-Phillips 4 (Taarabt 56, 8), Cisse 6, Zamora 6

Subs not used: Green, Mackie, Ephraim, Ehmer

Goals: Taarabt 57 (unassisted)

Bookings: Taarabt 57 (over celebrating), Diakite 58 (foul), 74 (foul)

Red Cards: Diakite 74 (two yellows)

West Ham: Jaaskelainen 7, Demel 6, Collins 6, Reid 6 (Tomkins 23, 7), O’Brien 6 (McCartney 35, 6), Noble 8, Diame 8, Nolan 8, Jarvis 7, Vaz Te 7, Cole 7 (Carroll 72, 7)

Subs not used: Henderson, Benayoun, O’Neil, Maiga

Goals: Jarvis 3 (assisted Nolan), Vaz Te 35 (assisted Tomkins)

Bookings: (Deep breath) Diame 38 (foul), Noble 45 (foul), McCartney 62 (foul), Jaaskelainen 66 (time wasting), Cole 68 (repetitive fouling), Nolan 68 (dissent), Collins 77 (time wasting), Tomkins 90 (time wasting)

QPR Star Man – Adel Taarabt 8 A different class from every other QPR player on the pitch. Immediately made himself available for possession, and found killer balls even when faced with tight situations whereas the previous hour had been punctuated with a lot of QPR players shrugging shoulders at the lack of passing options. Always wanted the ball, always posed a threat, scored a wonderful goal, turned the most one-sided 2-0 defeat you’re ever likely to see into a potential point for his team.

Referee – Mark Clattenburg (C Durham) 6 Well, what to say about a referee who produces 11 cards in a game with barely half a dozen bad tackles? I felt he could have left Diakite on if he’d wanted to, but by the letter of the law he was correct. He could have let Taarabt off as well under an interpretation of that ridiculous law that has seen Aguero and Tevez escape punishment for doing the same thing already this season. And if he wanted to be consistent he could have sent off Nolan late on. But I’ll defend a lot of his actions here – so often I complain about the lack of action against players trying to referee the game or run the clock down and he dealt with Nolan and three West Ham players for all of that very firmly. A lot of the cards given were purely down to the stupidity of the players, not the incompetence of the referee, although he did get rather carried away in the second half.

Attendance – 17,363 (2,000 West Ham approx) Very disturbing that QPR cannot even sell out a London derby like this, but given the price of the tickets and as the majority of the spare seats are in the Lower Loft which has come under the draconian ‘family stand’ regulations this season it’s no great surprise. Football in general, not just QPR, needs to get real. I did chuckle at the “Bobby Zamora, we’ve seen that before” chant from the away end when he headed over the bar.

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Jigsore added 23:31 - Oct 2
Had a a bit of a shit day but your articles always cheer me up on account of you being more of a cynical bastard than I am, haha. Ta Clive
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N12Hoop added 23:38 - Oct 2
Fair play for pulling yourself out of depression and writing this report. There isn't much to add really. The anger and frustration is not born out of a depleted team giving its all, it's out of frustration that after 5 minutes we could all see what was wrong and needed changing but Hughes left it way to late to do anything about it. If he had started the 2nd half with Taarabt and/or Hoilett the atmosphere would have changed and maybe things would have been different. Instead it was too little too late.
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MelakaRanger added 23:42 - Oct 2
Yes indeed. This defeat can be laid fairly and squarely at Mark Hughes door. Trouble is this is not the first time that this can be said.

What is it about the man that he simply cannot see the flaws that the average fan can see with clarity?

Had this been the QPR of old, Hughes would now be sacked. Had this been any other Premiership team, he most probably would be gone too

BUT QPR needs stability. We simply must grit out teeth and ride this storm in the hope that by the end of October we are winning games. Lets all keep off Hughes back for at least the next 4 games. A win and a draw from the next 3 games would probably see us out of the bottom 3

If Mark Hughes is able to stay to see out his contract, then I am sure QPR will be sitting pretty but my worry is that despite all the comments from Tony F recently, if we loose the next 3 games his hand might be forced.
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TacticalR added 23:57 - Oct 2
This was Reading, the sequel. Once again we underestimated the problems a physical team would pose for us. At end of the Reading game, major confusion in the right-back position led to the third goal, and in this match we carried on from where we left off.

Onuoha and Mbia. Just where does Onuoha get to? Given that he doesn't like going forward, it's amazing how often he is nowhere to be seen. Why was Jarvis completely unmarked for the first goal? Why was Mbia marking Vaz Te for the second goal? There seems to be some major confusion between Mbia and Onuoha about who's doing what - a few times Mbia and Onuoha were playing in each other's positions for no apparent reason.

Faurlin and Granero. There was no pressure on the ball from us in midfield. There was a moment in the second half where Noble had an age to shoot. And when we had the ball Faurlin and Granero were outmuscled. Granero in particular was targeted. However, Granero did look good in attack, with a couple of shots on goal. A lot of Faurlin's long passes didn't come off - he looks out of sorts.

Cissé. He just can't play with his back to goal - his touch from high balls with his back to goal is terrible. He only got going when Taarabt was passing along the ground to him.

Diakité. The sending off wasn't as bad as the one in his first match last seasnon. Even the second yellow, which was more serious than the first yellow, was for a mistimed tackle rather than a wreckless lunge.

Taarabt. A wonder goal and some great forward passes. He breathed life into the team.

César. Couldn't do much about the goals, and made a couple of great saves, including parrying a good shot from Vaz Tê onto the bar.

I noticed that a lot of our players seem seriously distracted by minor decisions going against them, and not properly focussed on the match. And what's up with the players' boots? Park and Diakité were slipping all over the place. And don't get me started on Diakité's shorts...
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isawqpratwcity added 03:45 - Oct 3
Great report, Clive. These are indeed worrying times.

I thought Clattenburg had a better game than you gave him. Taarabt was an idiot for his "I love Allah" T-shirt. The FA should stomp on this under-the-radar editorialising before it gets out of hand. The ref shouldn't be forced into having to decide if the slogan is offensive before issuing a card.

I thought both Diakite's cards were fair, and a talking to after the second foul would have only delayed the inevitable. I don't mind a tough defender, but he needs to learn some discretion.

As for the spammers, I loved the no-nonsense way he smacked them down when they crossed the line almost every time. I thought Nolan did deserve a second yellow and as for Vaz Te's little dummy spit, I didn't know if the bloke didn't want to be the only wuss not booked, or if it was some 'reductio ad absurdum' criticism of the ref. Either way, I liked the irony that the card stayed in the pocket then.

I'm deeply concerned by Hughes. He has assembled what should be a good team at great expense but shows no sign of being able to direct or motivate it. I don't go much on this 'crap-first-ten-games' theory. I don't think he ever really got it together last season, the form turnaround came from the team. He has demonstrated the ability to attract quality players, but he still has to make that team work.
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Kaos_Agent added 03:56 - Oct 3
Good comments all. Clive - another good assessment. In addition to the many difficulties that you noted, it seemed to me that not many of the bounces went their way. A bad combination.

Agree with you about not getting too hasty about replacing MH, but he has to find at least some of the form they had for Chelsea and Tottenham. We know it's there, but it was well hidden this past week. Adel has to be part of the equation and surely Hoilett as well. One despairs with Diakite. Will the penny ever drop?
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ozexile added 04:23 - Oct 3
When I watch us send out yet another team totally unprepared I have to ask myself what Bowen,Hitchcock and Eddie have to do with it all. Are they just yes men? And secondly one thing that has changed recently in Football is the positioning of the manager. Smith, francis, venables all use to spend the first half sat in the stand so they could see how the game unfolded and make tactical adjustments as necessary.
Hughes is constantly at pitch level pacing the touch line. You cannot view things as well from there. Get up high. Rugby league and union coaches here spend the whole game up high looking for weaknesses in the opposition and league is basically played in straight lines. One view I have heard which I believe to be ridiculous is that if a manager is in the stand its a sign that he's distanced himself from the players and camaraderie will be missing. Yet for me I'd much rather have him up high calling the shots than down on the line appealing for throw ins.
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QPRski added 07:40 - Oct 3
Food for thought before the next game. I only hope that someone at Loftus Road will read and analyse the article of "their supporter of the year".

Only one thinkg to add which is "WELL DONE ADEL!".
Great to see him back and playing as only he knows how.
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Eltham_Ranger added 07:49 - Oct 3
Excellently written article again. I'm not getting over this one anytime soon.
I'm in the stick with Hughes team at the moment because the main issue is the constant selection issues with injuries. 
However he is not helping himself by constantly changing the formation. 4-4-1-1 v Swansea which didn't work but did against Spurs. 4-4-2 didn't work V West Ham, Norwich or most of the Man City game and the defence won the draw V Chelsea.
Most of our  wins under Hughes were all with 4-5-1 with a combination of Derry, Buszaky, Diakite or Barton as the middle 3. Buszaky and Barton have been replaced by M'Bia, Granero and Faurlin this season which is much stronger. I think this is our best option. 
Stick with the formation and I think we're half way there! It plays to our strengths because it becomes 4-3-3 in attack! Midfields our strongest position and he needs to get it right.

Below is my 1st XI and replacements and then what i'd do at the weekend despite injuries:

1st XI:
Cesar;Bosingwa, Ferdinand, Nelson, Fabio; Hoilett, Granero, Diakite, Faurlin, Taarabt; Zamora.  
Back Ups:
Green; Dyer, Onuoha, Hill, Traore; Mackie, Derry, M'Bia, Park, SWP; Cisse. 

V West Brom:
Cesar; Onuoha, Nelson, Hill, Traore; Hoilett, Granero, Derry, Faurlin, Taarabt; Zamora.

Subs: Green, Ehmer, M'Bia, SWP, Park, Mackie, Cisse.
Out: Murphy, Ephraim.
Injured: Dyer, Bosingwa, Ferdinand, Fabio, Johnson.
Suspended: Diakite.
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R_in_Sweden added 08:06 - Oct 3
Totally agree with your points about Park and Wright-Phillips, Hughes cocked up the midfield entirely. We had a dress rehearsal against the bruisers Reading and fumbled our lines on Monday night. He could win a few plaudits if he just said that he got it wrong.

I'm also happy to see Taarabt back, that goal was worthy of winning any match.
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JB007007 added 08:16 - Oct 3
Thanks Clive.
That first half performance is probably the worst anyone will see from a premier league team.
Has MH made a rod for his own back giving Park the captaincy - almost forcing him to pick him every game? I dont know what he brings to the team. Its obvious he cant do the work of a wide player and we have better central midfielders. As for SWP, I was encouraged during pre-season, but he's contributing nothing in the position he plays.
We still look so vulnerable with every ball coming into the box and this has to be addressed.
Your comment about Nolan, re the following of the ref and constant questioning - isn't that what we need?
I'm fully behind Hughes, but he's making it difficult and like you say this defeat is down to him, plus it cost me another tenner.
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carrotcrunch_R added 08:40 - Oct 3
Great report as usual Clive I thought the ref did a good job this time around. Fair play too west ham they played nice at times and ugly at times but at the right times.
Untill diakite came on we was well and truly out muscled in midfield ,perhaps if he had started this game we would not have lost the midfield battle and not be chasing the game from the off and maybe he wouldn't have been so rash in his challenges,he is a young guy with a lot to learn and huge potential I think it is a bit unfair of people calling him thick. Also I am really concerned about the defence whilst commitment isn't an issue and the claim of injuries is valid . We just don't look solid enough at the back this has been the case throughout the season so far. We need to get a four playing week in week out so they know each others game and to stop conceding silly goals. Another concern is we play incredibly well against the top sides but look very weak against so called inferior sides we need to pick up wins soon .
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tomo added 08:47 - Oct 3
The writing was on the wall from the first couple of minutes and sadly it was the worst performance I've seen so far. Swansea was "shock and awe" and headless chickens but this was worse, much worse. Hughes failed in every possible way. It was like watching my son's mum coaching a game who has never seen a game before and was standing in for her husband. WHU have big strong lads who aren't as skillful as some of our guys but hoofing the ball up field to the penalty box is wasteful and quite simply naive. I'm waiting for Hughes to stop looking in the mirror and congratulating himself on his bonus and big salary and actually get results. Warnock got an inferior team to grind out results and we would have won this game by playing simple football and keeping possession. WHU looked good because we were third to the ball every time. Clatterburg was closer to the ball then our guys. Rest Park and SWP for a game or two. Play Park at left back even.......? Nelsen is getting a bit too slow for these games now and was left wanting on many occasion. I wish we had him ten years ago. I have too many Chelsea mates and being in the same division and playing like this is hard to swallow.....it just gives them an even bigger smile which I hope one day we can wipe off their smug faces.....!
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YorkRanger added 08:53 - Oct 3
Clive - hard to disagree with a single word. I was very concerned before the game that we wouldn't deal with the physical threat of West Ham and so it proved - Hughes didn't give us a chance though.

That said strangely I feel very confident about Saturday and if there are odds on offer of around 5-1 I may part with some hard earned cash.
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DesertBoot added 09:11 - Oct 3
Hughes' inability to tactically change the pattern of a game has been consistently worrying. AVB outfoxed him at Spurs and its the same here.
Crickey, Reading even outbattled us which was a huge hint for Monday night and to see the same eleven trudge out for the second half was astonishing.
Can't help injuries but Granero and Faurlin were overpowered and by the end looked completely exhausted.
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ngbqpr added 09:39 - Oct 3
433, 451, 4231, 4132 - call it what you will, tweak it how you will, this is the system that works best for the squad we've got (even more so after AJ's injury). Both Zamora & Cisse are getting on a bit in football terms, and are liable to pick up injuries / suspensions or need resting...Cisse can play wider in a 433 at home....so both can still have plenty of game time

So please, no more 442
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HastingsRanger added 09:48 - Oct 3
Having seen both this game and Reading game, it seems to me that Hughes attracts the right players but cannot do the tactics. This is reflected since his arrival, not least with the abysmal away form. It seems wrong to call for a new manager but some of the defeats over the past few months have been truly dreadful tactical failures.

As for the midfield, MH's persistence with SWP is baffling, and it is this lightweight midfield that leaves the defence so exposed on top of its own frailties.

For me too, there seems to be no obvious captain on the pitch. Park has no history of captaincy. My choice would be someone like Derry but of course he is not even a natural starting choice now. Hill?

I don't want to panic but is there evidence that this is going to all come good?
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komradkirk added 10:24 - Oct 3
Taarabt deservedly QPR man of the match.
Didn't give the ball away once ,played some decent passes spreading the play and scored the kind of goal we have come to expext.
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fakekerby added 10:26 - Oct 3
Great report as usual - think the 4 for M'Bia is slightly unkind, I thought he was the best defender we had, both defensively and with the ball at his feet.

I'd honestly have given Onouha a 2, he was dreadful and nowhere to be seen for either goal.

Adel's goal was world class and a joy to watch - he needs to start games against teams outside of the top four, every time.
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eastside_r added 10:46 - Oct 3
I have to concur with the main thrust of the article and the comments.

However, a couple of points on the refereeing. Once, very early on in the game (before Clattenburg went card mad) a West Ham player kicked the ball away in a very similar way to the incident that got Adel a second yellow against Spurs last year. It happened again in the second half and on both occasions was ignored by Clattenburg. Consistency?

It was quite clear that Allardyce could not believe his luck in how bad we played first half. I surmise that he told his side that we could not play that badly for the next 45 (correct) and instructed his players to slow the game down at every opportunity. The bookings (was it 4 or 5?) that the West Ham players got for time wasting were part of a well-executed, if cynical, plan.

I agree there appears to be a lack of consistency over the Adel booking as well. However, FIFA takes a dim view (rightly or wrongly) of players displaying any religious or political messages, so I expect the Moroccan will be receiving a fine at some point for this.
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smegma added 11:11 - Oct 3
I would give Onuoha ,Park & SWP a 2. If they all start on Saturday then something is seriously wrong.
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Northernr added 11:15 - Oct 3
Well Onuoha will start for the lack of another option. SWP shouldn't be anywhere near the team. If he's playing it means we're playing with wingers, and if we're playing with wingers they should be Hoilett and Taarabt. Park isn't a left winger, he has purposes to serve in other set ups and systems but not left wing.

That midfield was fine against Spurs it should be said. Against West Ham, and again this weekend at West Brom, it was doomed.
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QPunkR added 11:18 - Oct 3
I agree that your 4 for Mbia is very harsh Clive.
He was our best defender by a landslide and looked reasonably composed on the ball. Definitely wasn't helped by having Onuoha masquerading as a footballer to his right. A 2 is indeed probably the right mark for young Nedum, who would struggle to be called onto the subs bench for my Sunday league team
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woodman added 11:25 - Oct 3
Honest and oh so accurate Clive..... Whilst i personally agree that the most important thing the club needs presently is stability, there will always be those out there that look at results only ( thats the business, granted ). Surely then it should follow that if we have players that perform well the previous weeks, have potential to effect the game in a positive fashion, and are fit to play, it makes sense to keep them in the team ( Hoilett ).
Secondly, I can understand that Hughes sets out his game plan and team accordingly, but surely if you , me and apparently half the supporters in the stadium can look at the opposition and see that we are not able to match them ( physically i add ) from the start, then surely a change to our own line up is required sooner rather than later.....
Whilst i would rather watch, a free flowing passing game ( as displayed at spurs recently ), Sometimes you have to win the battle first in order to earn the right to play that way. With that thought in mind, surely some of the management entourage should have realised it was not going to be a game for the purists, and therefore suggested that the centre of the park was where the match was going to be won. ( ie get someone in the middle from the start, whose going to put a foot in and stop them bullying our play makers ).... Had this been the case i feel that we may well have seen a different result.....
Likewise its no good just pointing to injuries all the time, yes we have probs at the back at present, but we also have a big squad. Especially in the midfield department; So if the back four need extra protection, employ the right personnel in front of them to provide it from the start .... Far better to keep it tight / compact and not concede, than have to go chasing games after going behind.
Still not 100% sure that Hughes really knows his strongest starting 11 ( injuries permitting ), but having said that , i'm still keeping the faith & believe when all are fit i we have too much in the locker to struggle this year .......
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dixiedean added 11:35 - Oct 3
While I agree that NH has to carry the can for this result ( and performance) I think many of these comments are borne of hindsight. Who would honestly have started with Adel after he'd missed several games with injury ? And it was a toss-up between Cisse & Junior as both scored great goals v Reading and I think it was a rare positive move by MH to try to impose ourselves on them ,rather than pay too much attention to WHU. Before the game I would have been happy with either, as Cisse could have been on fire having scored in previous game.Harsh on Jnr though. As for Dyer, it was lunacy to play him v Reading as it was obvious that he couldn't play 3 games in a week after 1 in 2 years and WHU was a greater priority ( or maybe it wasn't ?) If only Diakite had something between his ears he'd be 1st choice in midfield,but sadly he is a liability while he insists on diving in like he does. Make him train ON HIS FEET and if he goes to ground in training fine him. Somehow he has to get the message into his thick head. Being young is a feeble excuse - he's not 18 FFS
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