Football: It was supposed to be a night of 3D action at Loftus Road. Instead, everything QPR produced was rather one dimensional.
The 3D match programme may have been the first of its kind from a Premier League club, but on the pitch, the story was oh so familiar and ended with bottom of the table Rangers stretching their run of
games without a Premier League win to seven.
West Ham, on the other hand, were more in keeping with the well-publicised pre-match publication. The all-action Hammers jumped off the page and took full advantage of QPR boss Mark Hughes’s woeful team selection and tactics that restricted their two most creative players, Junior Hoilett and Adel Taarabt, to cameos from the bench.
By the time Hughes threw them on, the game was already lost. The Hammers pressed, harried, and bullied QPR into submission. Two first-half strikes from Matt Jarvis and Ricardo Vaz Te were enough for the three points.
It could have been more too. Even the eight bookings they clocked up, a new all-time Premier League record for one match, failed to put a dampener on proceedings. West Ham manager Sam Allardyce was on the money by saying the game was “not overly physical” and fingers should be more pointed at the fussy officiating of Mark Clattenberg than the conduct of the Hammers players.
Still, the club now have a £25,000 fine to cough up to the FA for a "failure to control their players."
"We've achieved our first Barclays Premier League (away) win, which is no mean feat for a newly-promoted team," Allardyce added. "I think the outstanding qualities we showed today both in our ability to take the game to the opposition away from home and our ability to score goals were fantastic to see."
Bench-warmer Taarabt did notch a beauty for the hosts in the second half, which momentarily threatened to spark a comeback. But the dismissal of substitute Samba Diakité on 74 minutes for two bookable offences, the second red card of his 11-game QPR career, handed the initiative back to the feisty Hammers. Clattenberg got that one right, although, the under-pressure Rangers manager disagreed.
“He’s made two genuine challenges,” Hughes said. “His eyes were firmly on the ball and he was just looking to intercept it. It’s harsh on the lad as he’s been in that situation before and maybe referees are remembering that. He doesn’t seem to get any leeway unfortunately.”
Hughes will be hoping to get some leeway of his own from his chairman Tony Fernandes, who sacked previous boss Neil Warnock last season after the side failed to record a win in eight league outings.
Harry Redknapp shot to the top of the “Next QPR manager” betting markets following this defeat, but Hughes is confident his chairman won’t make any rash decisions.
On whether he will be given time to push QPR up the table, Hughes responded: “I would think so. We have had a big investment and we are looking to improve this year, and we will. It’s very, very, early days. But until we start getting positive points on the board, everything is up for debate and focus starts to come on the club as a whole.”
Since Hughes took over nine months ago QPR have failed to win away from home in 11 attempts, picking up a measly two points along the way.
A daunting looking trip to West Bromwich Albion is up next. Fernandes will be watching closely. As will, you would imagine, Redknapp.
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