After their disappointing cup exit to Reading last week, QPR will want to bounce back with a win over West Ham tonight to climb off the foot of the table. What is worrying is that Tony Fernandes had to take to Twitter to address the growing concern surrounding Mark Hughes. Fernandes claimed that Hughes was the best thing to happen to QPR, after several of the tabloids mooted that Harry Redknapp was in the frame for the job, following QPR’s poor start to the season.
Frankly, it is ridiculous to start these debates after such extreme changes in playing staff over the summer. Give it time and i’m sure results will start to pick up. However, the sad reality of football is that if Hughes struggles to turn around the poor form, then then rumours will start to gain momentum. Before fans start to criticise Hughes too much, it’s worth noting that we’ve been unlucky so far in terms of injuries and more patience is required on that front. The counter argument to the injuries point is that Hughes had all summer to address the frailties at the back and hasn’t changed much. That said, lose tonight and the pressure starts to mount on Sparky, whether you agree with it or not, despite Fernandes’ comments on Twitter.
The match itself promises to be a cracker. Both teams are direct and look to attack at speed. Sam Allardyce is a pragmatic manager and may look to snuff out our threat in midfield before focusing on West Ham’s attacking play. Obviously, they will be a danger from set pieces. QPR conceded two very soft goals against Spurs and Reading from set pieces and they will need to be well versed at defending these for tonight. It is fair to say West Ham are a big side and a real threat from corners and free kicks in and around the box.
QPR 2 (Hoilett, Cisse)
Reading 3 (Gorkss, Pogrebnyak, Shorey)
Team: Cesar, Hill, Onuoha, Park Ji-Sung (Zamora), Granero, Dyer (Nelsen), Faurlin (Diakite), M’bia, Cisse, Mackie, Hoilett.
West Ham 1 (Maiga)
Wigan 4 (Boselli x2, Ramis, Gomez pen)
Team: Henderson, McCartney, Tomkins, Spence, Potts, Jarvis, Noble (Taylor), O’Neill (Tombides), Maiga, Vaz Te (Fanimo), Hall.
QPR Team News:
Mark Hughes is still without defenders Jose Bosingwa, Anton Ferdinand, Armand Traore and Fabio. Andy Johnson is a long term absentee. Adel Taarbat is expected to feature.
Possible line up:
Dyer – Nelsen – Mbia – Onuoha
Hoilett – Faurlin – Granero – Park Ji-Sung
Zamora – Cisse
Player to watch: Junior Hoilett
From what i’ve seen of Junior Hoilett this year, I believe he is an exciting and direct player that gets supporters off their seats. In fact, he is quite similar to Adel Taarabt in that respect. However, i’d go as far as saying that Hoilett is better than Taarabt (at the moment). He’s proven in the Premier League over the course of a couple of seasons, he’s got more pace and seems to be more accurate with his shooting.
I’m a huge fan of Taarabt but in the current formation I think there is only room for one playmaker in the side and at the moment Hughes is going with Hoilett. In Taarabt’s defence he has been injured for the best part of a month and has not featured since the opening day. It will take something special for Taarabt to get in the side but I wouldn’t put it past our Adel. In the mean time Junior is playing very well and continues to impress.
West Ham Team News:
Midfielder Gary O’Neil is available after recovering from a knee injury. Yossi Benayoun could make his first start. Modibo Maiga could start and on-loan Liverpool striker Andy Carroll is set for a place on the bench.
Possible line up:
Demel – Reid – Tomkins – McCartney
Noble – Nolan – Diame
Vaz Te – Maiga – Taylor
Player to watch: Kevin Nolan
Kevin Nolan has been identified as the player to watch ahead of tonight`s televised match against West Ham United.
For Vital QPR’s comprehensive review of the attacking midfielderClick Here >>>
The Stat Attack
Queens Park Rangers: WLDLL
West Ham: WWDDL
HEAD 2 HEAD
Queens Park Rangers: 19
West Ham: 20
LAST TIME OUT
Championship – 06/11/04
West Ham 2 (Harewood x2)
QPR 1 (McLeod)
Team: Day, Rose, Simek (Padula), Santos, Shittu, Bircham, Cook (McLeod), Gallen, Thorpe (Ainsworth), Furlong, Cureton.
Referee: M Clattenburg
Assistants: G Beswick & D England
Fourth Official: N Swarbrick
Mark Clattenburg is the match official for tonight`s game. Last season Clattenburg issued 115 yellow cards and 8 red cards in 36 games.
QPR could really do with a win. Obvious I know but it would really change the mood around Loftus Road at the moment. The signs are there. For large portions of games, we are dominating teams and not just equal opposition but far superior teams like Spurs and Chelsea. The only concern is that we haven’t taken as many points as our performances have warranted. A win tonight and a point at the weekend would see us in a much healthier position and will surely alleviate the pressure that is starting to build after the poor start and cup exit to Reading. Realistically, a loss tonight will not be the be and end all of our season but it would be our worst start to a league campaign for some time. A unwanted record for sure.
I’d like to see Junior Hoilett start after his impressive goal and performance against Reading. Djibril Cisse is likely to start for similar reasons. I’d opt for a physical side against the Hammers with Ryan Nelsen and Clint Hill starting together. It could be a better option than starting Stephane Mbia. Although, I haven’t seen enough of him to comment too much on the new signing. Bobby Zamora needs to start not just for his goal threat but for his all-round play that allows our midfield to feed off him and get going.
2-0 QPR win. Hoilett and Nelsen to score.
Who: West Brom
Where: The Hawthorns