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Missed chances and basic errors, a familiar QPR tale — full match report
Missed chances and basic errors, a familiar QPR tale — full match report
Sunday, 11th Nov 2012 22:06 by Clive Whittingham

QPR’s plight worsened on Saturday when they were beaten 1-0 at the Britannia Stadium by a very limited and basic Stoke City side. The R’s are now 11 games into the Premier League season without a win to their name.

The gentle, persistent, unmistakeable sound of nails being tapped into coffin lids. Voices from inside the boxes plead for patience, stability and more time. At the graveside a ridiculously large amount of people gather and make light of the situation through song: “We’re Queens Park Rangers, we lose every week” they sing, and laugh, and shell out another £100 on train tickets, match tickets, and the copious amounts of alcohol required to even be able to look at this footballing ship wreck any more.

Taken in isolation, there was some flotsam to cling to from the latest defeat at Stoke City. QPR were the better side for long periods, created more chances than their hosts, played the more attractive football, and pre-match fears of Stoke running riot with a clutch of goals from set pieces failed to materialise. Had Rangers won two or three matches already this season then the players, manager and supporters could come away feeling hard done by, unlucky, and with plenty to build on.

But QPR haven’t won two or three games already this season. They’ve won none of their first 11. They’re bottom of the league with four points and only one team in the Premier League era has survived having taken four points from the first ten matches – that was Blackburn Rovers in 1996/97 who eventually finished fourteenth, but only did so after manager Ray Harford resigned after the tenth game. For all the small improvements and straws to clutch at, Rangers will not face two worse teams this season than Reading and Stoke and from those two matches they’ve taken just a single point.

Given Tony Fernandes’ unswerving faith in his manager, it seems the only way Mark Hughes will be prised out of his current situation is by him resigning and given the salary he was no doubt able to negotiate for himself 11 months ago when he “interviewed QPR” for the job I very much doubt he’s going to do that.

To his credit on Saturday he did finally find a way to get the best QPR players on the field at the same time. Ale Faurlin was given a long overdue recall along with Esteban Granero, Samba Diakite and Junior Hoilett with Adel Taarabt supporting lone striker Djibril Cissé . It’s the line up many Rangers fans, including myself, have been crying out for and while Hughes’ steadfast insistence that the players must conform to outdated 4-4-2 or 4-1-4-1 formations meant Granero was actually marooned wide in midfield for much of the game it was a relief to see them all out there and it is something I hope we stick with.

Sadly though it’s taken Hughes 13 league and cup games to reach the same team selection conclusion as everybody in the stand and the run of results in the meantime has sapped confidence from the players that do want to play for the club and succeed, and the will to even pretend to look like they’re trying from the other mercenaries. Two missed sitters from Taarabt undermined a man of the match display and betrayed his despairing mood, but his sins were easier to forgive than those of, say, Jose Bosingwa who broke out into a serious sprint only once all afternoon and that was to flee from the pitch at full time without acknowledging the away support. The Portuguese full back – who was joined in defence by Ryan Nelsen, Anton Ferdinand and Armand Traore ahead of goalkeeper Julio Cesar - will be receiving a low mark at the end of this report but, frankly, he barely deserves one at all.

The talk before the game had been about Rangers’ vulnerability when defending dead ball situations, given the sheer amount of gilt edged chances Sean Morrison had missed from corners and free kicks for Reading the week before. Coach Mark Bowen said during the week it was up to players to take individual responsibility in a man marking system and he didn’t have to wait long to find out if they would indeed do that against a notoriously direct Stoke side. Tony Pulis’ men forced the first corner inside a minute and while it was initially rather alarming to see giant former R Peter Crouch apparently being marked by Armand Traore rather than one of the centre backs QPR were able to deal with the delivery comfortably.

Traore then showed his attacking side with a run down the left and cross that Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic was able to pluck out of the air after Cissé had miscued a first time volley. In the resulting counter attack Charlie Adam had a shot deflected wide for a second corner of the afternoon that Rangers again dealt with comfortably.

Perhaps the R’s were belatedly getting the hang of this. Hope of a first win of the season soared after 20 minutes when – and this is nothing short of miraculous – QPR actually managed to keep the ball from their own throw in for more than two touches. Not only that but they worked a shooting opportunity which Ale Faurlin stuck over the bar. Imagine that, keeping the ball from one of your own throw ins. Revelatory stuff. Another thing ticked off my ‘things to see before I die’ list.

Stoke have only scored three goals in four home matches this season, and all of them have been notched by Crouch. It’s not difficult to see why when you sit and watch their approach to the sport in the flesh, and the paucity of quality players around him. At the midway point of the half he expertly won a long ball forward and nodded it down perfectly for Jon Walters but the former Ipswich man – making a sixty third consecutive Premier League start for Stoke – volleyed hopelessly over the bar when he should not only have hit the target but opened the scoring.

Within two minutes Rangers had worked Granero into the Stoke area in the right channel and although the angle was tight the home side still needed Begovic to rush from his goal and smother the opportunity at Granero’s feet with help from Etherington back tracking.

Of course one thing Rangers could have done without was conceding needless free kicks around their own penalty box. Still, it was hard not to feel sorry for Samba Diakite on the half hour when he was penalised for what looked like a not very well disguised dive by Matt Etherington, making a first start for Stoke since August. Fortunately for Rangers on this occasion Cesar got a firm punch to Whelen’s cross and the follow up shot was blocked away by some desperate defence by Anton Ferdinand.

This wasn’t the first or the last time that I felt referee Martin Atkinson had lazily awarded a free kick because a player had gone over rather than bothering to question whether he’d actually been fouled or not and soon both teams had players hitting the deck under little or no contact at all. Within three minutes Cissé collected the ball on halfway, turned it round the corner into space down the right flank and set off in pursuit of it himself. Andy Wilkinson knew the Frenchman had him for pace and so flung himself to the floor as if Cissé had tripped him while attempting to get around him. He’d done nothing of the sort, the incident was laughable, and yet there was Atkinson again obliging the sinner with a free kick for his troubles. Never mind punishing divers retrospectively, let’s stop rewarding the cheats in the first instance.

Stoke’s best chance of the half came ten minutes before half time. Steven Nzonzi – leggy, physical, impressive – got in round the back of flat footed Faurlin and picked out Crouch with a well placed low cut back. Crouch side footed powerfully towards goal and his shot deflected no more than three inches wide with Cesar well beaten. Rangers cleared the resulting corner and launched a counter attack through Adel Taarabt and Ale Faurlin. The latter was fouled by Nzonzi and then, after a quick free kick had been taken, Taarabt was immediately chopped to the ground on the edge of the area by Walters. It’s this sort of cynicism that Stoke are renowned for and QPR have lacked to their cost since winning promotion 18 months ago. Nobody scores a goal on the counter attack if they’re laid on the ground picking grass out of their teeth. No yellow card from Atkinson for either Nzonzi or Walters needless to say and when Djibril Cissé drilled a tapped free kick low into the wall the home team could reflect on a job well done.

With time ticking on towards the break Anton Ferdinand was punished for climbing on Peter Crouch and Stoke worked a fancy free kick routine that eventually worked room for – I think – centre back Robert Huth to try his luck from range but the shot was blocked away. Stoke will flood danger areas with men when they think there’s something there for them though and while Rangers may have survived that first scare the pressure remained on as Crouch struck a volley that Traore blocked behind and Cesar flapped another corner away to safety.

Having survived a pair of Crouch efforts Rangers then created their own best chance of the half. Junior Hoilett – who not for the first time looked pacy, direct and dangerous for an hour before vanishing from the game altogether – robbed Cameron of possession in the Stoke half and set Cissé away. The Frenchman fed the ball back to Hoilett who then in turn picked out Taarabt, unmarked in the penalty area, for what looked certain to be the opening goal. For whatever reason, Taarabt then tried to chip Begovic rather than just striking the ball cleanly, and the chance sailed hopelessly over the bar. Taarabt was QPR best player on Saturday, but my word he made a pig’s ear of that one. Moments later he tried to make amends with a much firmer, low shot from the edge of the box but that one curled just wide of the post.

The Londoners had decent cause to be angry with referee Atkinson again before the break. Jon Walters picked up a gash to his forehead amidst another round of penalty box pinball and sat on the turf with blood pouring down his face. This was in clear view of the linesman on that side of the field who is in contact with the referee but nevertheless, despite the edict on head injuries, Atkinson was happy for the game to continue. Stoke were happy too, because despite their team mate being down they had the ball in a decent attacking position and so they pressed on, with Atkinson content for play to continue, and tried to score. When the play was subsequently broken up by Ryan Nelsen the referee then decided, with Stoke previously happy to play on remember and with QPR now in a position to try and exploit a team temporarily reduced to ten men, that the play should be stopped. To make the whole nonsense even more irritating Peter Crouch decided to punt the resulting drop ball out for a goal kick – which Cesar isn’t the best at – rather than knocking the ball back to the keeper in open play.

Now, I’m sorry, I know the rules about what to do when somebody is injured are a bit of a mess and complicated by various gentleman’s agreements, but where on earth does it say that you can continue to play on through an obvious head injury if the team mates of the injured player have the ball and want to try and score, but play must then immediately stop the second they lose possession?

I had a bit of an episode about this – kicking walls, trying to uproot seats and what not – and while that was going on Samba Diakite, a minute before half time and with Stoke going nowhere, foolishly lunged in on Charlie Adam and picked up a deserved yellow card. Mindless.

Nevertheless, QPR could be reasonably satisfied. They’d been posed few problems by the home team, created the best chance of the half themselves, and looked reasonably strong when defending the much feared set pieces.

What they did next was essentially make a small bonfire out of those positives, gather around in a small circle, and gleefully piss all over it.

A free kick was knocked long by Huth, Walters beat Ferdinand to the first header, Crouch turned the ball on around the penalty spot, Traore tried to chest it down and missed it completely, and Charlie Adam said ‘thanks very much’ and side footed home his goal for the club from an unmarked position at the far post. The QPR technical area was populated by Hughes and his three coaches shaking their heads, and well they might. You’ll never see a more basic goal than that in your life. Slapdash, sloppy, awful defending.

QPR responded to the set back well. Taarabt took on a shot from long range that deflected off Whelen and threatened to deceive Begovic until the Bosnian goalkeeper thrust up two hands and palmed it over the bar. Then Hoilett set Taarabt free again but this time the Moroccan seemed to be in two minds about crossing or shooting and sent a deflected halfway house through the goal mouth with Cisse just out of reach. Hoilett retrieved the ball and teed up Bosingwa, but his lousy first touch ate up all the time he initially had and a poor shot was deflected wide.

On the hour Hoilett and Taarabt combined again around the edge of the box and this time the latter managed to dummy his way into space in the box by deceiving two defenders but inexplicably rolled wide when it seemed easier to hit the target – Faurlin was agonisingly out of reach and couldn’t convert the chance himself. Granero curled a subsequent free kick wide after a foul on Taarabt for which Nzonzi was booked and then, after Taarabt had cut in field and beaten two men, smacked a first time shot that seemed destined for the top corner before Begovic turned it aside with a splendid save. The loose ball was collected by Hoilett but his follow up shot was blocked by a crowd of defenders in the six yard box.

Mark Hughes subsequently sent on Bobby Zamora for Ale Faurlin – the QPR fans greeting his appearance with a chant of “Bobby Zamora, he don’t like football” after his recent Daily Mail interview – while Stoke sent on Michael Kightly for Matthew Etherington, Kenwyne Jones for Peter Crouch and finally Dean Whitehead for Charlie Adam.

The home team was a bit of a rabble by this stage; lacking confidence themselves after only one win this season and with all the attacking idea, invention and ambition of a house brick. But QPR were losing heart – their chances had been and gone. Traore was booked for deliberately blocking Kightly after he’d been skinned and then the former Wolves man drew a decent save from Cesar after Stoke had beaten a tiring offside trap.

Yellow cards started to flow as frustration grew – Whitehead for a foul on Diakite, Granero for dissent after Jones had flopped over embarrassingly for a man of his size and won another soft free kick – and the mood in the away end turned ugly when, for the second time in the game, Jose Bosingwa cut in from the right wing and launched a hopeless, lazy, 30-yard left foot shot into the car park.

QPR fans are a bit notorious for targeting scapegoats – Shaun Wright-Phillips and Ji-Sung Park have already served their time this season – but they’re not idiots and they know when a player isn’t pulling his weight. No surprise that Bosingwa is currently copping it – you can smell the lethargy coming off the man.

Four minutes of stoppage time passed without a hint of an equaliser. I’m not sure QPR would have scored if we were still there now.

Outside, after the usual lengthy wait in the large cage behind the away end, the QPR fans were shovelled onto three old double decker buses and carted back off to the train station – rather than the funny farm where they belong. “If you’re all off to Sunderland clap your hands,” cried one, and a dozen people applauded. Theirs is a sick form of madness that Mark Hughes must somehow find a way to inflict on the bunch of mercenaries he has put together.

“A lot of quality in the building,” is a catchphrase of this manager and he may be right. But this team collectively has a heart the size of a pea.

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Stoke: Begovic 7, Cameron 5, Huth 6, Shawcross 6, Wilkinson 7, Whelen 5, Nzonzi 7, Adam 6 (Whitehead 77, 5), Etherington 6 (Kightly 71, 6), Crouch 6 (Jones 74, 5), Walters 5

Goals: Adam 52 (assisted Walters/Crouch)

Bookings: Nzonzi 65 (foul), Whitehead 90 (foul)

QPR: Cesar 6, Bosingwa 4, Ferdinand 6, Nelsen 6, Traore 5, Granero 6, Faurlin 5 (Zamora 77, 5), Diakite 5, Hoilett 6, Taarabt 7, Cissé 5

Subs not used: Green, Hill, Onuoha, Derry, Wright-Phillips, Mackie

Bookings: Diakite 45 (foul), Traore 83 (foul), Granero 90 (dissent)

QPR Star Man – Adel Taarabt 7 Missed the two best chances of the game for QPR, the first of which was a ridiculous chip when it should have just been a proper shot, but it was hard to hold it against him considering his work rate, attitude and application to the task compared with some of his team mates. Would have been run close by Hoilett had he not, once again, disappeared from the action in the final third of the game.

Referee – Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire) 6 No big decisions to make, and therefore no big decisions wrong, so hard to mark him too harshly. However, I thought this was a pretty mediocre, bog standard performance. He rewarded dives from both sides and made a real hash of the Walters head injury situation before half time.

Attendance – 27,529 (1,600 QPR approx) The Stoke fans seemed bored to me – quiet for the most part and stirred into life only by the goal in the second half. Given their results and style of play, that’s understandable. What isn’t understandable, considering QPR’s performance and results so far this season, is why 1,600 Rangers fans decided to go all the way to Stoke, fill the away end, and sing their hearts out for the majority of the game. The mood was tense in the away end during the second half, with a lot of arguments breaking out between QPR fans, but overall I’m amazed at the backing the team continues to receive.

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N12Hoop added 22:33 - Nov 11
Too many players can't be arsed and are getting away with it. If we don't change manager we're down. Simple!

Noelmc added 22:36 - Nov 11
Great report as usual Clive. Spot on in your assessment of Boswinga. It's funny that this regime criticised the previous one under Warnock of not taking "due diligence" in their acquisition of players, but they give an inflated contract to a player who is obviously only here for the money and doesn't appear to give a toss whether we win or lose.

Kaos_Agent added 00:12 - Nov 12
When MH does exit (short of a miraculous turnaround surely he must), one has to wonder a) what criteria will be used to choose his replacement, and b) what the new guy's priorities will be. Let's hope that he has psychological credentials along with his football management skills.

QPRFish added 01:41 - Nov 12
"Oh my word, he made a pigs ear of that" ???? Any other player would have been lambasted by this website for such profligacy, best player on the park or not. Yet Taarabt ends up with star man to boot! Maybe, just maybe, thats why we're plum bottom. I'm f..king fuming.

gobbles added 03:01 - Nov 12
To be fair to Bosingwa, it was some neat defending by him that denied Crouch in the first half.

MelakaRanger added 04:38 - Nov 12
QPR Fish I concur. There does seem to me that many fans see Taarabt as a guy who can do no wrong. He can be selfish, he can showboat, he can be lazy, he can miss open goals again and again, yet 'fans' choose to lambast most every other player for similar misdemeanors (or is it a felony to miss a sure goal?)

Taarabt can at time be brilliant. But those times are far outnumbered by the times he showboats, gives the ball away, forgets his team mates. He is indicative of the team we have, namely one which seems to refuse to play as a cohesive unit / team . Taarabt as MOM, sorry no way.

The fact that we have a number of 'individuals' that are not playing for the collective good of the team but for themselves is one of the two main reasons we are where we are. No team spirit, no desire to live breath and die for the team, no never say die attitude etc etc. Hence laziness, lack of concentration, lack of goals and gifting the opposition.

I believe the other reason we are in this mess is that at no time this season have we ever looked dangerous once we get to the 18 yard box. We produce chances time and time again yet never seem to test the oppositions goalie. At Stoke we often had just 4 men up for corners. What the..............!

So far we have scored just 8 goals - Southampton have scored 15! If we had just scored one more goal in just 8 of our games so far, we would have beaten Reading, Chelsea and Norwich . We would also have drawn against Spurs, W Ham, WBA, Arsenal & Stoke. Thats another 11 points. We would be 10th now above Newcastle and having scored just 16 JUST one more goal in each game, just one more goal.

I could accept a team of individuals who defended well, attacked well and scored freely. But none of ours do any of that!

The buck though stops at Hughes desk. He bought them, he needs to motivate them, he needs them to play as a team and do what they have been told to do in training. He is ultimately responsible for this band of miserable failures and if he cant fix it, then Tony F needs to get someone on who can

But I repeat. Just one more goal per game would have made/could make all the difference.

cyprusmel added 05:34 - Nov 12
What ever his failings were Luke Young put in a decent shift and gave 100% when playing. Bosingwa in my opinion just dosen't want to be here and it shows.

QPRski added 07:57 - Nov 12
Thanks for the report as I did not see the match (on a feed).

It seems that the team selection was close to our dream team, we kept all players on the pitch, were the better side for long period, created chances, played more attractive football...and still lost!

Frustrating - certainly. Bad luck again? I don't believe it. The root cause must be motivation and attitude, and that is is the repsonsibility of the manager. I fear your punch line may be close to the truth "..but this team collectively has a heart the size of a pea". They really need to wake up with a big jump against Soton.

Phildo added 08:24 - Nov 12
That 4 is generous for Bosw@nka (as my brother has taken to calling him).

parker64 added 08:57 - Nov 12
We play tidy football but it's too slow. By the time we've passed the ball around the other side are behind the ball. We're easy to play against. Hoillet kept cutting inside so we weren't getting behind Stoke. We don't get enough players in the box either.

Northernr added 09:41 - Nov 12
Yes Taarabt's finishing was awful, and I've said as much. But who was our most creative player? Who was our hardest working player? Who created the most chances? Who looked most likely to score? Who posed the biggest threat to Stoke? Who was one of the only ones to keep going to the end and not give up? On any other measure apart from finishing Taarabt was by far and away our best player. I reject any notion of favouritism too because I've given him some serious grief on here down the years for attitude, work rate, application and behaviour.

Who else would you give star man to? Cesar had two saves to make and made one, Bosingwa was a fcking embarrassment, Ferdinand and Nelsen once again a stupidly soft goal conceded that Premier League centre backs should be dealing with, Traore a mistake for the goal and skinned by Nzonzi and Kightly on a couple of occasions, Granero not that effective playing wide, Faurlin a bit laboured, Diakite was poor, Hoilett was excellent for an hour then vanished, Cisse was poor and sulked through most of the game. Not exactly brimming over with candidates was I?

derbyhoop added 09:58 - Nov 12
The 3rd paragraph summed it up for me. Taken in isolation, we were the better side and slightly unlucky not to take something away. But, we need to be doing more and when players are not fit enough (Traore, Faurlin and Hoilett) or don't care enough (Bosingwa and Zamora) we won't get the results we need.

After 20 minutes I turned to my mates and said (about Stoke) "they're not very god are they?". Yet, we still contrived a way of losing.

shooters47 added 10:03 - Nov 12
Clive, thanks for your post as saved me a lot of writing!!

Melaka, If only we had scored one more goal in each game....sort yourself out!!

francisbowles added 11:25 - Nov 12
It's always worrying when you are the better team but keep on losing. Confidence is eroded and then your performance suffers and you keep on losing. Over forty years of watching the r's I have seen it numerous times.

To state the obvious we need to start scoring to have a chance! We are short of options up front. Too many strikers are gone without being replaced. If we can't buy a decent goalscorer in January, and who would want to come, then at least get DJ back inthe

R_in_Sweden added 11:39 - Nov 12
Without wishing to appear as a brown-noser I'm with you all the way on Taarabt being our best player. He is also our most consistent good performer at the moment. I don't want to spread the ill feeling from the stands and start an online fisticuffs, but this tedious moaning about showboating after every game from Melaka and company is hard to understand. If the goals against West Ham and WBA and running at defences causing mild panic are showboating then please may it continue. As far as Adel is concerned I'm prepared to take the rough with the smooth.

enfieldargh added 13:05 - Nov 12
as kevin keegan stated on Tarbs miss.

'as a striker through on goal as Taraabt was , the player has 5 options to score, he chose number 6'

30yarder added 13:14 - Nov 12
Taarabt isn't a striker.
How many players have we brought in over the months claiming to be class.
The one class player we actually have is Taarabt.

HastingsRanger added 13:18 - Nov 12
Again, a lot of this seems to be about players who care and those who don't. Last season, during that vital run in, it was players forgotten by management like MacKie, Derry, Hill, Tarabt who were fighting for results. This season, it seems to have happened again, with some players not bothered but being selected. Those players no matter how technically good should be left out as they are not team players and lack of team cohesion seems to be a clear weakness. BZ and JB seem to be the prime examples.

As for MH, the stats are getting seriously worrying and just how much 'time' have we got.

This is such a shame as it does seem TF is trying to make it work, unlike his predecessors but is getting no return.

Antti_Heinola added 13:59 - Nov 12
Melaka - Taarabt gets an easier ride because he's worked his ass off this season. Plus, three seasons ago he almost single-handedly kept us up. 2 seasons ago he almost single-handedlt won us the league. And last season his return to form under Hughes was a major reason for our survival. This season, he's been one of our best 3 players in every game he's played. He missed a good chance. Wow. Hang him. He also made the keeper make several other great saves. Yes, he should have tried to hammer it, but Begovic was out of position and he thought he could chip him. Unlike some, I don't really have a problem with that - he's able to produce that skill most times.
As for the showboating and all that - have you been watching this season? Really? Because that statement is utter, utter rubbish based on a past prejudice.

TacticalR added 16:55 - Nov 12
Let's face it, we didn't expect to win, and we didn't win.

Traoré. Got forward, put in some decent crosses, and mostly defended well (apart from the goal). Unfortunately there was no understanding between Traoré and Hoilett who consistently ignored Traoré's overlapping runs.

Faurlin. Looked sluggish. Got caught on the ball, made some poor passes and kept slashing the ball out of midfield.

Taarabt. Tried to do everything himself. Playing centrally doesn't suit him - he is far better coming in from the left. He played in the same position he did against Swansea, and that didn't end well. Why did he try and float that first half chance over the keeper? I think it's because he's very right-footed and always likes to bend the ball to the right. Those goals against West Ham and WBA were scored coming in from the left. He must be played in the correct position, and if that means sacrificing Hoilett, so be it.

Granero. Didn't look as effective out on the right instead of the centre. His free kicks are good, but in this match his free kicks from far out never looked like going in. Good shot on goal in the second half. He tries to tackle players from behind a bit too often, which is risky in a side so prone to red cards.

Diakité. Played OK, but tried to many long passes from midfield to Cissé that even the dimmest Stoke defenders could read and intercept.

Bosingwa. Not quite as bad as some are making out. When he was signed in August, I believe I was the most critical of those who commented on his signing:
Perhaps because I was expecting the absolute worst, I am not quite as disappointed as others.
His runs from the back into midfield give us something extra, but when he got anywhere near the box he felt it necessary to take wild potshots. His crosses were very tame too.

César. Great save at the end.

Antti_Heinola added 18:06 - Nov 12
Don't think Taarabt is as one-footed as you suggest. See his goal v Cardiff to win us the game at LR, for example. Think he gets quite a few with his left.

AshteadR added 18:36 - Nov 12
Thanks Clive.

A decent performance, but once again we never really looked like winning - much the same as most of our other matches!

Tarbs was easily our best performer and the only one (bar possibly Hoillett) that looked like making anything happen.

The defence looked a bit better this week and interestingly played zonal marking from corners, although you always sensed they'd make a mistake along the way. and they didn't disappoint!

Hughes and co, seem to have run out of ideas and his gamble on Johnson and a lack of decent centre back / full back options are really hurting us.

JB007007 added 20:35 - Nov 12
I think its pretty obvious that we're pulling in different directions on the pitch. We've signed far too many players with differing attitudes and ambitions. MH is resposible for that - full stop. I honestly believe we would have been in better shape had we made just a couple of signings back in the summer. I said at the time, I would have been happy enough if we had have just turned the loans of Diakite and Taiwo into permanent. TF has given him time and the Saints game could be his last. Nowadays 11 or 12 games in is ridiculous to sack a manager, but I'm beginning to think that its needed. After Saturday, we have tougher games coming up and no matter what we do or try we cant get that win. We are not clinical enough and lack cutting edge in our game amongst other failings. When we play poorly we're well beaten, when we play well we still get beaten. For the record Taarabt was our best player on Saturday too.

qprmick added 05:56 - Nov 13
The amount of players we had in midfield caused a bit of a log jam. They were pretty ineffective considering the numbers. I thought we kept the Stoke forwards particularly Crouch, pretty quiet. I am quite confident that we are in a better position than Stoke and will finish above them. This weekend, the first win and a good one. Instant lynching if anyone gets a red.

TacticalR added 11:35 - Nov 13
Antti, I didn't say that Taarabt had no left foot, but I think most of his 'classic' goals have been scored coming in from the left and curling the ball in with his right foot. When he's on the left-hand side of the goal, his shots tend more naturally to curl inwards, towards the goal.

In this case I was trying to make an educated guess as to why he got caught in two minds and ended up not even getting his chip on target, with the whole goal to aim at.
Because he was to the right of the goal, and decided to use his right foot he either had to:
1) Blast the ball (not his style)
2) Bend the ball to the right of the keeper (looking at the keeper), on the keeper's near post. Less space, but the ball would be bending away from the keeper. (This is what Taarabt actually decided to do).
3) Bend the ball to the left of the keeper (looking at the keeper). More space on the left, but if Taarabt's right foot bent the ball to the right, it would have bent towards the keeper. I think that's why he went with option 2.

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