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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before – full match report
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before – full match report
Sunday, 28th Oct 2012 21:45 by Clive Whittingham

Stephane Mbia’s mindless behaviour and subsequent red card went a long way to making sure QPR’s winless run stretched to nine league games with a 1-0 defeat at Arsenal on Saturday.

On Saturday Queens Park Rangers put themselves in a position to take something from a game, and then found a way to lose it. How many times have I written something along those lines over the past 12 months? How many more times will I be able to write it before time runs out on Mark Hughes’ reign as manager?

Against a fragile Arsenal team forced to recall Bacary Sagna and Jack Wilshere straight back into the starting line up after long term injuries following a dreadful week of two defeats and a stormy AGM, Rangers did everything correctly. They held their shape, went forward when the opportunities arose, rode their luck when necessary, frustrated their hosts and restricted them to one gilt edged chance in 80 minutes of football.

Then, a brain explosion. Stephane Mbia, playing reasonably well at centre half next to Ryan Nelsen and between Jose Bosingwa and Armand Traore, chased a ball out towards the corner flag after clearing a set piece. He was fouled by Thomas Vermaelen as he did so but instead of accepting the free kick which would have allowed QPR to calm the game down and clear their penalty area, Mbia lashed out wildly at Vermaelen’s knees. The Belgian collapsed to the ground despite barely being touched, but that was hardly the point. Nor, really, was Mikel Arteta standing offside when he subsequently won the game a few moments later.

It gave Hughes the chance to explain away a ninth game without a win: a goal that should not have been given and an individual rush of blood to the head. He could also point to Rangers almost snatching a point regardless, with Jamie Mackie going closer than anybody after a typically direct run right into the heart of the Arsenal penalty area in the last minute of the game. But Hughes has to start taking responsibility. Mbia’s sending off was the eighth red card Rangers have received during the Welshman’s 31 match reign at Loftus Road. The discipline of the players is abysmal, the self control non-existent. You can only trot out the excuse of not being in control of the players once they cross the white line so often. Perhaps Hughes could start by not shaking the dismissed players’ hands as they leave the field.

And yes, Rangers could easily have snatched a point thanks to Jamie Mackie, but let’s not forget that he had only been introduced late on as a substitute. Ji Sung Park’s form has been so mediocre since he arrived this summer that many, including myself, were actually quite glad a knee injury ruled him out of this one but Hughes chose to replace him not with Mackie, or Ale Faurlin, but the terminally out of form Shaun Wright-Phillips. Not only did this replace one ineffective player with another, but it also sent a message to Mackie, Faurlin and others not currently starting matches that in certain cases this QPR team seems to be being picked on names rather than form.

Wright-Phillips started on the right of midfield with Esteban Granero and Samba Diakite in the middle. Junior Hoilett and Adel Taarabt provided support to lone striker Bobby Zamora.

The game started much as you would expect. Wilshere, adrenalin pumping on his first start for a year and a half, sent an early cross right through the QPR goal mouth and then at the other end a chipped pass into the area from Bosingwa gave Wright-Phillips a sight of goal but he couldn’t get the ball under adequate control to trouble goalkeeper Vito Mannone.

Mannone made two crucial saves to deny Granero and Mackie equalisers late in the game but had been little more than a spectator before that. The same could not be said for his opposite number Julio Cesar. He started nervously, kicking the ball away after a fumbled save from Santi Cazorla’s low cross, then making a similarly nervy save from Podolski after a quarter of an hour. He made another unorthodox stop to deny Giroud on the half hour and was earlier left stranded by Ramsey’s looping header from Sagna’s cross that bounced off the top of the crossbar and away to safety.

But he got the job done; the score remained goalless. The results spoke for themselves and as the game went on Cesar grew into it to the point where it seemed as though he’d never be beaten again. He produced an outstanding performance, the best goalkeeping display I’ve seen since Radek Cerny’s at Liverpool this time last year, and he gave QPR a chance to take something from the game. He had every right to be furious that the team didn’t go on to do that.

The general consensus this season is that you have to stop Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla to stop Arsenal. Rangers did the former reasonably well, with the new Granero and Diakite partnership continuing to show signs of promise, but they left Cazorla free between the midfield and attack far too often. It gave the impression that QPR were rather flying by the seat of their pants, with Arsenal always having a spare link man in front of their back four. Thankfully Mbia and Nelsen played well at the heart of the defence and Granero and Diakite held onto the situation just about well enough to keep the scores level. Arsenal started without either Theo Walcott or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain so lacked natural width and Rangers were able to funnel the home team into a congested area that Mbia and Nelsen dominated. When everybody’s favourite Mad Malian did chop down Olivier Giroud in trademark fashion ten minutes before half time he was lucky to escape a booking from referee Anthony Taylor and then grateful to see Lukas Podolski drill the subsequent free kick into the wall.

There wasn’t a great deal of attacking ambition shown by Rangers in the first half. This was partly because Bobby Zamora was following up a very poor performance against Everton with another stinker – albeit with several restricted service – here which meant the ball wasn’t sticking with him long enough for supporting runners to pour forward. But it was also a deliberate ploy to some extent, and when Hoilett won a corner five minutes before the break the reason for the caution was clear as Arsenal launched a lightening counter attack that Stephane Mbia held up with a superb tackle just long enough for the visitors to get enough men back and see off the danger.

QPR’s balance between caution and optimism was a little too heavily weighted in favour of sitting deep and absorbing. When they started the second half with a more positive outlook they posed Arsenal problems immediately. First a direct run to the heart of the defence from Hoilett drew a foul on the edge of the Arsenal penalty area. As Hoilett crashed to earth the ball rolled through to Zamora who was offside. For reasons known only to referee Taylor – though I suspect crass incompetence had plenty to do with it – he awarded the free kick for the offside rather than the foul, even though the ball only went through to Zamora in the first place because Hoilett had been chopped down.

Two minutes later the flag was up again as Hoilett got in behind the defence himself and chipped a fine finish beyond Mannone and into the net. While Zamora could rightly point to a lack of service and quality possession, I thought the difference between his contribution and Hoilett’s – given that the Canadian was similarly starved of the ball in dangerous areas – was marked. Hoilett may have gone a dozen minutes or more at a time without the ball in the Arsenal half, but whenever he did get it he looked dangerous and capable of causing an issue, while Zamora looked rusty and back on his heals at times.

In between the two QPR chances Mertesacker tested Cesar with a header from an Arteata free kick after Granero was judged to have fouled Santos.

The Spaniard, who left Real Madrid for Loftus Road in August, must be thinking this situation wasn’t quite what was promised in the brochure. Promised a boutique hotel in Park Lane Granero has found himself in the Kings Cross Travelodge but he’s adapting to the situation well, performing to a high standard in a poor team and displaying admirable commitment to the cause.

Granero found himself somewhat overrun at the start of the second half with the freedom afforded to Cazorla continuing to cause issues. He was nevertheless very unlucky to be booked by Taylor who awarded an incredibly soft free kick on the edge of the box that Cazorla struck through to Cesar via a deflection from the wall which took the pace off the shot. Three minutes later he tripped Arteta and Giroud repeated the Cazorla trick of smacking the free kick into the wall and through to the QPR goalkeeper. Granero was issued a final warning for this foul, and he showed admirable composure and restraint to avoid a second booking in an overworked central midfield for the remainder of the game – something his team mates would do well to learn themselves.

QPR looked more dangerous on the counter attack in the second half than they had done in the first. Hoilett was at the heart of a lot of it and after Traore drew a booking from Giroud who deliberately fouled him to disrupt a counter attack, Hoilett looked like he was set to roar through on goal before a fabulous covering tackle from Sagna denied him a run on Mannone.

Traore, signed from Arsenal just over a year ago, continues to perform well for an hour before succumbing to some injury or other. The same happened here, with Nedum Onuoha replacing him after ten minutes of treatment and limping around. It’s a shame he’s made of tissue paper because Traore is a decent player and important to the QPR team. I do wonder how much of the problem is a physical one and how much is mental.

That change was one of several that disrupted the game and slowed it down to a walking pace. Arsenal sent on Gervinho for Podoloski and then, after an afternoon on the end of Diakite’s clumsy feet finally did for Wilshere, Walcott for the young England international. Gervinho then picked up an injury of his own and was replaced by Arshavin while Hughes finally relented and sent on Mackie for Wright-Phillips as well as introducing Djibril Cisse for Bobby Zamora.

We were averaging a substitution every two minutes for a while there and the effect on an already tepid game was stifling. It was like using a fire hose to extinguish a match. Had I not been there to support one of the teams I’d have been bored to tears. That suited QPR of course, which made what followed even more unforgiveable.

The R’s had been lucky to survive a moment 12 minutes from time when Walcott’s cross and Giroud’s header directed the ball to Cazorla unmarked (as usual) on the penalty spot and he inexplicably smashed the chance high over the bar with a first time shot when he had enough time to have completed an oil painting of the scene had the mood taken him.

But their luck ran out when Mbia committed hara-kiri over by the corner flag. I have two theories as to Mbia’s thought process: ether he didn’t realise the free kick had been given to him, and wanted to deliberately trip Vermaelen up so he couldn’t run freely back into the penalty box; or he knew he’d got the free kick, so decided to try and injure an Arsenal player with a free-shot as it were. Either way, it was one of the thickest things I’ve ever seen a footballer do (right at the top of an ever-increasing long list) and it would eventually cost QPR the game. Mbia, bizarrely, sprinted off the field as if Rangers didn’t want the clock running down.

Arsenal should have taken advantage within two minutes but were denied in the midst of a goal mouth scramble when Cesar pulled off an extraordinary save to claw a header from Giroud out from the bottom corner and away to safety.

The Brazilian goalkeeper was incredibly unlucky to concede when he did as well having first made a world class save to deny Arteta, and then only getting beaten by the Spaniard’s third attempt in as many seconds because he’d been allowed to play on from an offside position when Ramsey diverted the ball back to him.

Cesar followed that up with another fine save down in the bottom corner when Ramsey tried his luck from range but it seemed as though the game was now simply going to peter out into a simple home win.

Not so. Rangers created their three best chances of the game in the five minutes of added time and were unfortunate not to take at least a point. First a fine through ball from Taarabt set Granero away into the penalty area but he pulled his shot wide from the corner of the six yard box. Then Mackie, now filling in at right back, embarked on a typically positive run that carried him past three Arsenal defenders into a one on one situation with Mannone but he couldn’t find the required finish.

That was one of those time-stands-still sort of moments, with Mackie accelerating forwards and Arsenal players trailing in his wake. After months of suffering it seemed unfair for Rangers to be denied that glorious moment, but they didn’t have time to dwell on it as Hoilett was fouled by Sagna on the corner of the penalty box and Granero hit the resulting free kick straight to the top corner of Mannone’s net forcing the Italian keeper to make a nervy save to preserve his side’s lead.

So once again Rangers are left to reflect on an afternoon where they can take plenty of positives, several valid excuses for a bad outcome, and no points. There’s only so long this can go on, and with gaps starting to open up at the bottom of the table and three games now against Reading, Stoke and Southampton I’d suggest QPR and Mark Hughes have reached the point where this can no longer continue. This is not about having too many injuries or too many new players needing time to gel any more, this is about a team finding ways to lose football matches through poor concentration, lack of discipline or rank stupidity.

The time for excuses is over; Rangers have to start winning right now.

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Arsenal: Mannone 7, Sagna 7, Mertesacker 6, Vermaelen 6, Santos 6, Arteta 7, Wilshere 7 (Walcott 67, 6), Ramsey 6, Cazorla 7, Podolski 6 (Gervinho 71, -) (Arshavin 81, -), Giroud 6

Subs not used: Martinez, Koscielny, Jenkinson, Coquelin

Goals: Arteta 84 (assisted Ramsey)

Bookings: Giroud 59 (foul)

QPR: Cesar 9, Bosingwa 6, Nelsen 8, Mbia 6, Traore 7 (Onuoha 73, 6), Wright-Phillips 5 (Mackie 79, 6), Granero 7, Diakite 6, Taarabt 7, Hoilett 7, Zamora 5 (Cisse 72, 5)

Subs not used: Green, Ferdinand, Ephraim, Faurlin

Bookings: Granero 52 (repetitive fouling), Taarabt 86 (dissent)

Red Cards: Mbia 79 (violent conduct)

QPR Star Man – Julio Cesar 9 Not the most difficult Man of the Match decision I’m going to have to make this season. Absolutely outstanding. Grew into the game from a nervy start and kept QPR in the contest right to the death.

Referee – Anthony Taylor (Manchester) 5 Got the sending off right, but the officials should have disallowed the Arsenal goal so that’s a big decision they got wrong. I felt he was mediocre overall, booking Granero for very little, failing to award Hoilett a free kick on the edge of the box for an obvious foul, and just generally not inspiring much confidence that he had much control of a poor match that didn’t take a lot of refereeing. A poor official in my opinion.

Attendance – 60,103, (3,100 QPR) The usual poor atmosphere that we’ve come to expect from this fabulous new stadium, though to be fair to those present there was little of any interest taking place out on the field to rouse them until the final ten minutes of the game.

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WokingR added 22:18 - Oct 28
Thanks Clive and great to finally meet you yesterday.
I can't help starting to think that those of us who have urged patience with Hughes and argued against the constant knee jerk clamour for a change of manager are just being taken the mickey out of by him. For all the good things and plans going on off the pitch he still cannot get the absolute basics right on it.
1.His constant selection of Park or SWP is patience testing to the extreme
2.Keeping 11 players on the pitch
3. Keeping possession of the ball. There were periods during the second half yesterday when every single ball played out from defence was given straight to Arsenal for a repeat attack.
If we don't get 6 points from the next 3 games then he deserves to go.

MelakaRanger added 22:32 - Oct 28
"The time for excuses is over; Rangers have to start winning right now"

Exactly! And hopefully what Tony told Hughes after the match

I believe Hughes must win next week and get 2 wins minimum out of the next 3 games or Tony will have no alternative but to sack Hughes.

Tony's tweet that winnable games only start next week show, regrettably, that he is totally besotted by Mark Hughes. We have had a number of winnable games so far. I don't expect he accepts excuses in his other businesses!

Next week will decide the future for both Mark Hughes and the club.


YorkRanger added 22:41 - Oct 28
Good report Clive - I agree with your take on the game.

Next week is a must win now.

qprmick added 23:23 - Oct 28
Harry carry?? Is that our new manager? We need to score goals, badly, the rest of it is not too bad. How did Mackie cock his chance up? If the comment attributed to one of the players that Hughes doesn't do tactics is true. I find that hard to believe. Hughes has played under enough great managers to know that to do, but he does need to take SWP by the hand and show him what is required. Blasting the ball into the side netting or worse is a schoolboy error.

johann28 added 23:46 - Oct 28
Spot on report as ever. I paid a shed load of hard-earned cash to watch 10 minutes of football (defined as my team trying to score). Arsenal were there for the taking (aka Everton) and we ended up contriving to lose a match (aka spurs) by our own lack of adventure and sheer brainlesssnes. Not a fan of Hughes (I expect the feeling is mutual) but don't want to see him go, but no one can put up with this

Kaos_Agent added 02:03 - Oct 29
"The Spaniard, who left Real Madrid for Loftus Road in August, must be thinking this situation wasn’t quite what was promised in the brochure. Promised a boutique hotel in Park Lane Granero has found himself in the Kings Cross Travelodge." LOL! Good one Clive, he played well although towards the end I was screaming at MH to replace him with Faurlin because I thought between his aggressive play and his constant bitching at the referee that he'd get a second yellow. Good on him that he kept his cool the rest of the way.

M'bia: According to Wiki, he has averaged .5 red cards per year over his pro career. Optimistically, maybe this means it's the last one we'll see this year. We've lost him for the crucial stretch of upcoming "winnable" games which is a real shame given that when he's of sound mind, he's the solid central defender that we've needed so much. Ferdinand now has to match his level of play.

Park should voluntarily hand the armband to Nelsen. The obvious leader on this team and the one most likely to turn a yellow card into a caution because of his presence with the referee. While Granero, Taarabt and Zamora remonstrate (really, does that help?) the veteran Nelsen calmly makes his case. And defends well. Admidst a flurry of summer signings, he could be one of the gems.

Cesar: We have to remember that 2-3 months ago we were agonizing over whether Green was up to it and whether we had let Paddy go too easily. Julio Cesar has shown us that he can excel in this league. I agree that he rated a 9 and if he'd managed to keep out the offside goal it would have been a 10. It's a long season and it bodes well in goal as long as he's given reasonable support from the back line and on set plays.

So the defense is looking good. Traore and Bosingwa have done well lately, although Bosingwa could do with some lessons in service. However the offense is well and truly MIA. I've hammered SWP in my comments but I admit that he has proven to be an energetic defender in our half of the pitch. He has pace and can tackle. Bring him on late to help conserve a lead, but FFS don't start him! We have to have Mackie or Faurlin as a midfield attacking/serving presence and we have to press forward when each opportunity arises. Kudos to Hoilett (he can only get better) and Taarabt, who improved his defensive presence in the last game as well as continuing to advance the ball as he does so well.


isawqpratwcity added 05:25 - Oct 29
If I was TF I would be making the positive, supportive comments that we are hearing, but in the background I'd looking at options and making imminent contingency plans. Duplicitous, yes, but he has a responsibility to all parties to make the best decision he can, even if it means that one party is disadvantaged to minimise the damage to the others.

If TF is more committed to MH because Hughes is 'his' appointment, then TF isn't as good as I thought. His dismissal of Warnock was razor-sharp timing: almost half a season of largely poor performances (culminating with a dismal display at the Dons) and the perfect time to bring in a replacement before the transfer window re-opened.

Well, Hughes has had had three quarters of a season now, after doing the absolute, by-a-whisker, bare minimum to survive last season. Lose to the fakes, and I think he'll be gone. But it won't stop there, he'll need at least three more points from Stoke or Southampton, and convincing performances to boot.

I don't think he's going to make it. And I have no opinion as to who his best replacement would be. And, if he does manage to pull his chestnuts out of the fire in the next few weeks, fantastic, I'll be delighted to be proved wrong, but he'd have to rise a fair bit through the table before the pressure will be off.

JB007007 added 08:11 - Oct 29
Thanks Clive,
I want it to work for Hughes obviously, as most of whats been set up in the background as far as training and recruitment is based around him. However, fail to win next week and the compensation package will be starting to take shape. I try to believe that I'm one of these moaning fans that has an opinion, but the Manager knows best. But I mirror everyone elses thoughts with SWP for instance and we've all been watching enough football and QPR to know we're not all wrong.
Lastly, I'd fine M'bia three weeks wages.

QPRski added 08:26 - Oct 29
There were several positives and the match looked like a comforatable draw with a potential late surge for a win. Then everything changed on the Mbia incident.

I don't expect footballers, despite their outrageous salaries, to be intellectuals or even to be above average intelligence. However, I do expect them to understand the rules of football, especially the "do not's" and to be football "street-wise" with regard to provocation, and control of emotion. It is not much too ask for in my opinion.

Mbia behaviour was simply plain stupid. Again we pushed the self destruct button and Arsenal were able, with an elememt of luck, to take advantage. A real case of “déjà vu".

Neil_SI added 09:01 - Oct 29
I am not actually convinced that their goal was offside, having seen the footage back. Jamie Mackie was wearing the same coloured boots as Ryan Nelsen, so perhaps they got confused who was who?

But Mackie is actually by the byline, defending the original cross into the box, so it's possible he played them all on. They were all on as the cross went in and for the original header, but possibly at the last moment, Arteta may have been offside, but not twice I don't think, as has been claimed. Mackie didn't go off the pitch though.

The highlights confirmed much how I felt about the game. We didn't really do a lot in defence or attack as we just didn't have the ball. Arsenal could have used it a little better in the final third, but they always had some kind of control and find space between our defensive and midfield units and César really had a blinder.

Arsenal should be disappointed they didn't add to their one goal, they certainly had more than just the Santi Carzola chance as Mark Hughes put it, though, we really did have a couple of amazing opportunities at the end to snatch something. A shame that we couldn't but I think the 1-0 was pretty fair.

nadera78 added 09:07 - Oct 29
If, as Hughes has been doing, you want to set up for a draw then not only do you need hardworking players but you also need to be able to hold onto the ball. Which makes the sidelining of Faurlin even more bizarre, because he keeps possession better than anyone. He also works hard, tackles well, wins headers, and has never once looked like being sent off.

Still, Park and SWP run around a lot.

highlandbill added 09:14 - Oct 29
I guess we are all fed up. The early season expectations are long gone and as I walk up Blomfontein I have little feeling of excitement, instead I approach each game with some trepedation. How long is it since we REALLY enjoyed a game?
Holding Chelsea was good but hardly a thriller. Football is supposed to be entertainment for Gods sake! Its like watching a much loved child fail all their exams. We have some super players (many of the bottom half clubs have team sheets which ring very few bells) and yet the manager seems totally incapable of sending them out with the passion ,speed & grit which we expect. For me Ryan Nelsen embodies everything I want & admire in football, he gives 110% of what he is able to give and does it fairly and sportingly. If only the manager contributed similarly. He is grim,gray and gormless, I really hope this changes for the next 3 games and we find ourselves with 10 points before the Man U. fixture. I dont like him but I am desperate for us to avoid a change of boss. I reckon whats keeping him in a job is Fernades awareness of how much it will cost to replace him. For this reason ,I suspect he will stay ,right up to Man U, but if we still bottom he will then go.
Nice to see Chelsea do well yesterday!

HastingsRanger added 09:59 - Oct 29
Agree totally with Highlandbill here. Nelson is another Derry mold and the team needs this.

I still don't get SWP being in the team at all - it just seems to weaken it from the off. And I am really concerned that MH just doesn't have tactical nous. He's attracted and created great promise with this team but the perpetual backs-against-the-wall away tactic (0-0 is the best hope and is never achieved) leaves us too heavily depending on home form. I don't really want more change but at this stage last season, we were considerably better placed. The pressure is really on in the next game, as a failure to win really puts the heat on. And sadly, I can only see a draw there, after the weaknesses exposed in the league cup. It feels like last April already!!

ozranger added 11:10 - Oct 29
First off, sorry Neil but Arteta was offside, twice. It is just that the second one was not with the goal, but another shot where he was standing in an offside position right in front of the Julio Cesar and split his legs to allow the shot to go through. According to the ROTG Arteta was interfering with play. With the goal, in one of the TV replays Mackie was a clear one metre from the goal line when the ball was played forward towards Arteta.

Now, it is hard not to ask the simple question, that being which part of the p*ss-weak media in London is going to ask Hughes why he continuously plays SWP instead of a real player? Time and time again I go searching through the media and find that there is excuse after excuse and that the players are taking the blame, etc. But where are the real hard questions? Is it because NOTW no longer exists? Why am I harping on this? We may be able to leave our opinions here, but does Hughes read them or anyone of any real importance at QPR? If the real media wrote what we are saying, then just maybe something would be done. Without any real criticism, Hughes will continue to push out SWP and other non-performing stars and get away with it.

But, I thought Hughes got the tactics right yesterday, but put out the wrong team to perform those tactics. We all believed that Arsenal were ripe for the taking and that was so true. When I made my prediction it included both Mackie and Cisse in the team, but Hughes had other ideas and although they "did everything correctly" as you say Clive, they could have done much more.

So, what you have written is exactly right Clive. Trouble is that the real people who should be reading this are not.

Neil_SI added 11:18 - Oct 29
I've not had the chance to see that view ozranger, so that could easily be the case, the only footage I saw looked inconclusive and didn't have the benefit of additional replay's and camera angles.

I think it's a shame how certain players at the club have just been dropped or bombed out totally when they could be on the pitch and making an impact. We've not paid enough respect to players who on paper are "weaker" but who are far more willing to fight for the shirt and each other.

But we have a great opportunity this weekend to pick up points, so we've really got to dig deep and try to ensure we come away with what we want. It'll probably be a dog fight and not very pretty with Reading and we'll find out what some of our lot are made of and whether they're ready to roll up their sleeves and scrap for their lives.

Antti_Heinola added 13:25 - Oct 29
Great report Clive, agree with all including the ratings, where we usually differ a bit. I didn't think the ref was a 5 though. thought he did fine, although it was an easy game to ref, really.
to the posters going on about the armband, Nelsen will act like a captain whether he wears some material on his arm or not. It will make absolutely no difference to us as a team. Please get over this obsession!

AshteadR added 13:29 - Oct 29
Thanks for a great write up Clive.

It's all a bit predictable at the moment - play reasonably well and lose! We've got a very unfortunate combination of not scoring many goals and not keeping many clean sheets. Other than the last 10 minutes, the game was just dull.

The goal was offside, Mbia was a total idiot, SWP wasn't bad this week - he was actually a liability with some of his passing. Regardless of all this, we just don't look like winning games. Yes, there's lots of ability, but not enough winners - what a shame Derry and Hill are too old. Fair play to Cesar, Nelson and Granero though.

I've got travel booked for Stoke, Man U, Wigan and Newcastle, but not sure I can carry on the way things are. We're used to losing, and with much weaker teams, but as I said, it's all a bit predictable at the moment.....

whittocksRs added 14:14 - Oct 29
QPR definitely are the Kings Cross Travelodge of professional football.

Nice report, Clive.

dixiedean added 14:46 - Oct 29
I have a different theory of Mbia's crass antics. To me it shows a flawed character( in case we didn't have enough of those already!)- a supposedly physical player who snapped at the merest provocation. It was a shoulder charge FFS,not an over the top tackle. Mbia's feeble apology cuts no ice with me. Maybe if he offers to refund my £35.50 I might see it differently. Club should fine him 2 wks' wages PUBLICLY and make him go on the pitch v Reading to apologise properly. If the players think this sort of thing is acceptable we won't stop it, so the club has to crack down on it hard. We can't risk another Barton v Man C scenario. We need more people like Nelsen,Mackie who are solid and dependable.TF wnats to stick with Hughes as he has invested a fortune not just in MH but in his growing entourage,and it would cost megabucks to wipe that slate clean if they sacked him. Part of our problem is a mentality issue- we've acquired an inferiority complex,so we don't go to these games trying to win,but sneak a draw. Wasn't getting our band of Champs Lge winners supposed to change that,as Clive said in his programme notes a few weeks ago ? Norwich managed it,so could we with a more positive outlook. Hughes' maibn problem is his blind-spot to his old chums eg SWP & Zamora,who ( granted,his service was very poor) has gone back to looking like last season when he appeared disinterested.

Northernr added 15:31 - Oct 29
It should be pointed out, you do get a free condom when you stay at the Kings Cross Travelodge. Which some would see as a positive.

30yarder added 20:46 - Oct 29
Fantastic read Clive.

I have to say, it does look like you have already made your mind up about Mark Hughes. My opinion -for what it's worth- is theres no point in sacking yet another manager just for the sake of it, no wins or not. I can't believe we have had 10 managers or more since Ian Holloway! Everyone was talking about the Italians sacking managers left right and centre, causing mahem and unrest along the way, and now we want yet another manager? We want stability everyone said, if we stick with Fernandes, Mark Hughes and the team, we might get it: even if we're relegated. This is about the bigger, long-term picture, sacking yet another manager is NOT the answer.

devonranger added 20:56 - Oct 29
thought with park injured we could finaly see ali,diakite and granero in the middle, thats what we all want!!!!

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