This week QPR boss Mark Hughes has claimed his team will be a renewed side once they get their first Premier League win of the 2012-13 season under their belt.
The London side has failed to win any of their opening ten matches and, as a result, they are currently sitting in a dangerous nineteenth position.
Many fans have been left frustrated after overseeing their team end on the wrong side of narrow results in recent weeks, including a 1-0 loss to Arsenal and a 3-2 loss to West Brom; while QPR made the worst possible start after suffering a heavy 5-0 defeat to Swansea on the opening day of the season.
QPR have made their worst start to a season since the 1968-69 season where they finished in last position but with players like Jose Bosingwa, Junior Hoilett and Ji-Sung Park it is hard to see why the Hoops have failed to make a serious impact on the Premier League.
When assessing why QPR aren’t performing the probable place to start is the transfer market. In the 2012-13 summer transfer window, eleven players were brought into the club; many players were sold as well which left the side dysfunctional. It is no wonder the players have failed to gel when in pre-season training they see a different player leave and another player arrive every other day.
Furthermore, the player’s that have arrived at Loftus Road are top quality, first-team footballers. Although this would seem like a positive thing, its repercussions can have a negative impact on the team. The individuals that QPR have signed are of superb quality but the problem is that the club has not thought about the outcome of signing all of these players. A midfield boasting the prowess of Shaun Wright-Phillips, Samba Diakite, Esteban Granero, Alejandro Faurlin, Adel Taarabt, Ji-Sung Park and Keiron Dyer seems fantastic in principle but Mark Hughes can’t play all of these star players at once. If a player isn’t selected week in, week out, their ego can be left hurt which can lead to discontent and unrest in the dressing room.
QPR’s other main issue is their discipline, or should that be their lack of discipline. With nine red cards, QPR topped the disciplinary table at the end of last season; and after receiving two red cards in ten games they are already joint leaders of the disciplinary table for this campaign. At the end of last season, star midfielder Adel Taarabt cited dismissals as one of the main reasons for QPR’s struggles and admitted that the team would stand a much better chance of getting results if they kept eleven men on the pitch. In the Arsenal v QPR encounter, Samba Diakite was sent off for a rash kick-out at Thomas Vermaelen after he was fouled. This sending off was unnecessary as Diakite had already won a free-kick for Vermaelen’s late challenge, but a moment of madness yet again cost QPR. At the time of Diakite being sent off, the score was level between the two London clubs, however five minutes after the dismissal, Mikel Arteta put Arsenal ahead and the Gunners held on to take all three points. It is impossible to say whether or not QPR would have lost had they kept eleven men on the field but it is fair to assume that they would have given themselves a better chance of taking something from the match had they not lost a player.
However, the overwhelming problem at Loftus Road has to be Mark Hughes. The manager, meant to be the leader of a team, has hardly set the best example after he claimed his team “do not have a disciplinary problem”. The fact Hughes said, “This season we’ve only had two red cards”, is quite worrying because that suggests that Hughes rates one red card in every five matches acceptable. Perhaps Mark Hughes is slightly deluded about his team, but owner Tony Fernandes is hardly any better. Fernandes has happily backed his manager time and time again, claiming the club have nothing to worry about, yet fans are sweating on the future of their team.
This week, Hughes has asked for more time, but, after nearly a third of the season played and no wins, how much more time will Mark Hughes be given before QPR look for a new leader?