Keep The Faith
Last night the R's continued their search for the first win of the season with Rangers' entertaining West Ham in front of the Sky TV cameras for Monday Night Football.
In a desperate attempt to change our fortunes, Jess and myself opted for the ever lucky pre-match Nandos ritual. Once we finished our treat Jess headed to Westfield for some light retail therapy whilst I headed to the ground to meet Lofty and Jointy.
We got in the ground full of optimism and once we saw that our most influential player Hoilett was left on the bench which left us rather baffled.
The R's got off to the worst possible start after some shocking defending in the third minute.
Vaz Te played a one-two with Nolan before the latter hooked a ball over to the far post and Jarvis looked as if he was going to nod the ball back to Carlton Cole for a tap in but the Hammers record signing mis-cued his header and it somehow found it's way into the bottom right corner. The goal was awful, we were caught short down the left hand side with Hill and Park very static as Vaz Te played around them and then Onuoha left Jarvis unmarked before turning his back on the ball and not even making an attempt to clear the danger after Jarvis made his header.
Things really didn't get much better as the West Ham midfield three of Diame, Nolan and Noble were over running our pairing of Faurlin and Granero and received little help from Park who was looking lost out on the left wing, he's not a winger and should not be out there! Wright-Phillips was creating some trouble down the right wing, however this did leave Onuoha exposed at times as West Ham looked to hit us on the counter attack.
Rangers' did manage to create a few chances in the first half, with the best one falling to Zamora as he headed over from eight yards.
Winston Reid took a nasty elbow from his team mate Jaaskelainen as he punched a ball clear, leaving Reid knocked out on the floor for several minutes and luckily walking from the field before being replaced by a former R's transfer target James Tomkins.
On 35 minutes the R's defensive frailties were exposed again.
This time a corner was momentarily scrambled clear before Tomkins managed to beat Park's outstretched leg and the cross floated to the back post as Mbia let the ball go over his head, completely unaware that Vaz Te was there to slide and put his effort towards goal. Mbia did manage to deflect the shot, but unfortunately for the R's he deflected it over Cesar's hands as the keeper had the shot covered but the deflection took it over Cesar and it was 2-0 West Ham.
At half time the gang were the most deflated they have been all year as this was the worst that the R's had played all season. Lofty and Jenson took to the kiosk to have their dinner as they came to Loftus Road straight from work, only to find that once again all the hot food had sold out for the second game running! So not only are the results not happening but the catering has become as poor as our defending.
We all reluctantly made our way back to our seats for the second half to see that no changes had been made, you would expect that we'd want to make at least a change to try and turn the game around, especially with players like Hoilett and Taarabt sitting on the bench that could change our fortunes.
Things didn't get much better and finally the substitutions were made on 56 minutes.
The un-inspiring captain Park and probably our best player Wright-Phillips made way for Taarabt and Diakite.
The double change provided a spark that was lacking from the team and Diakite was soon in the thick of it and the ever inspirational Taarabt had the ball on the left hand side and cut in before taking aim and unleashing an unbelievable shot on goal that beat Jaaskelainen before the ball got anywhere near him!! Definitely the goal of the month without a question of a doubt!
The R's continued to press and were hindered by the Hammers time wasting tactics that begun with a full half an hour to go.
Soon the task in hand got even more difficult as Diakite received his second yellow card just 19 minutes after coming on. His dedication once again got him in trouble as a lunge on Diame was mistimed and the second yellow was inevitable.
During the course of the last 15 minutes any number of West Ham players could have received a second yellow to even up the sides but once again we saw the idiot that is Mark Clattenburg take centre stage and get all of the attention that he truly loves. I have one word for him and it's not a very good one!
Well it has to be said that West Ham were fully deserving of their win after a dominant first half performance and they just held strong during the second half, restricting us to shots outside the box.
For me we tactically do not have it right at the moment. Our back four last night was comprised of four centre backs, it was only that way because of the injuries to all of our full backs, however we have an enthusiastic left back in Max Ehmer that is waiting for the chance to prove himself, maybe last night he should've got that chance?
In midfield we all agree that Faurlin and Granero must start, however I feel that because of their form we are trying to accommodate Park on the left wing purely because these two cannot be dropped. However Park is not a left winger and this is where Hoilett should be starting and giving us the natural width out there, just as Wright-Phillips is doing on the right wing.
Hughes then needs to make the choice of either playing two strikers or playing one of Cisse or Zamora with Taarabt playing just behind them. Currently the first choice must be Zamora as Cisse's confidence is shot to pieces and we need to get him back firing like we know he can.
The biggest mistake was made when the 25 man squad was named and Hughes only named three strikers in the 25. It was inevitable that one of our strikers would get injured, hence why every squad has four recognized strikers in their ranks. If we had DJ Campbell in that 25 we would have that extra option we are currently crying out for, he has well and truly shot himself in the foot.
Now we have rumours that Harry Redknapp could be on his way into Loftus Road. We do not need him!
Mark Hughes has brought in a completely new structure to the club and has built our new youth academy up with the structure that we need and the new training facilities that will make this a bigger success. A new scouting system is in place with the quality players being identified for every position we need, look at the players that Hughes has brought into the club, it's his vision that they are all buying into!
Also look at our performances this season, we have caused some of the best teams in the country problems yet been unfortunate to not come away with what we deserve. We've played poorly for one game, last night, Hughes does not warrant the sack for what has happened so far this season.
Our Man of the Match was unamimous, with only Jess refusing to place a vote. Adel Taarabt picked up the award tonight, with Wright-Phillips gaining a mention from everyone.
We move on to Saturday at the Hawthorns now where we hope "our season starts now". Lofty will report on how our day pans out and hopefully a much more positive report than I've written today.
I just have three words to say........
KEEP THE FAITH!!