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Bolton hand QPR reality check – full match report
Bolton hand QPR reality check – full match report
Sunday, 14th Aug 2011 17:21 by Clive Whittingham

QPR’s long awaited return to the Premiership ended in disaster on Saturday as Bolton Wanderers inflicted the R’s heaviest home defeat in almost two years.

Titanic was the Saturday night film on FilmFour. You can all draw your own comparisons. So much bravado, so much spin, so many people so desperate to be optimistic and then the very cold, very hard facts ruthlessly delivered.

I doff my cap to those who have remained positive and optimistic through this most trying of summers. Even today, after a 4-0 home defeat, there is plenty of wreckage for them to cling to because QPR, believe it or not, were the better side for the first half of this game. The passing was at a better level than it was last season, the tempo was good and chances were created with encouraging frequency. QPR will be competitive in games this season – you don’t win the Championship in the manner we did with a crap side.

But for those, like me, who think we will, at best, maybe finish above Blackburn this season and nobody else there was a sad inevitability about what happened in this game. Yes QPR played well and created chances in the first half – but in its own way that was our first problem. You absolutely cannot create and miss three great chances like we did on Saturday. We’ll be lucky to create three chances as good as we had in the first half against Bolton in the next two matches. Every little half sight of goal has to be snapped up with brutal efficiency. Bolton didn’t even create a half chance in the first 45 minutes at Loftus Road and went in 1-0 up. That’s what we’re up against here.

I have said all summer that if Norwich were signing the players we have signed, putting out the laughable statements that we have put out, running around in last season’s third strip covered in gaffer tape, publicly rebuking their manager, setting him a League One transfer budget and so on and so on then we would be laughing at them and saying they’ll be lucky to win five matches. In the second half here all of those pigeons came home to roost.

LFW may have started the season with another lousy score prediction, but we did at least call the starting 11 right. As expected Kieron Dyer lined up at right full back ahead of Bradley Orr with Fitz Hall and Danny Gabbidon a rather shaky looking central defensive pairing and Clint Hill at left back with Paddy Kenny in goal. Further forward Shaun Derry and Alejandro Faurlin anchored the midfield with Tommy Smith on the right of an attacking three, Adel Taarabt on the left and DJ Campbell through the middle. Up front Jay Bothroyd made a home debut in the lone striking role.

Bolton have endured a wretched summer injury wise with Lee Chung-Yong and Tyrone Mears breaking legs to join Sean Davis and Stuart Holden on the long term injury list before the season has even begun. They also lost Daniel Sturridge at the end of his loan spell and Johan Elmander who moved to Galatasaray so Owen Coyle has a tough task this season to match the achievements of last where they reached the FA Cup semi final. He started former Burnley man Chris Eagles wide on the right with Premiership stalwart Kevin Davies in attack and Ivan Klasnic just off him. At the back Gary Cahill remained alongside Zat Knight despite a summer of speculation about him moving elsewhere.

The game exploded into life with two key incidents in the first four minutes. QPR, as they had done against Leeds on the final day of last season, had the ball in the net with a matter of seconds on the clock. Taarabt fronted his man down the left and crossed low into the six yard box. Bothroyd controlled the ball and attempted to get a shot away on the turn from six yards out but duffed his effort to DJ Campbell who lashed home from very close range only to find his celebrations cut short by the linesman’s flag.

While still dealing with that disappointment Rangers were then forced onto the back foot as Bulgarian winger Martin Petrov accelerated into the left channel and cut inside into the penalty area. This was the first real test for Kieron Dyer who, while he has certainly played at there previously in his career, wouldn’t count right full back as his strongest position. On this occasion he came out on top, executing a sliding tackle that robbed Petrov of possession and set Rangers away on the attack down the right flank. Sadly, predictably, as his team mates moved clear with the ball Dyer immediately pulled up and after limping around for a minute or so he collapsed to the turf in apparent agony and was carried off on a stretcher with what appeared at the time to be a very serious injury.

News soon started to filter through from downstairs that he may well have broken a bone in his foot. In fact what he’d actually done was bruised it. That’s right, a bruise. Now I’m not saying it didn’t hurt, and I’m not saying he could have played on through it (although I strongly suspect people like Kaspars Gorkss, Peter Ramage and Gareth Ainsworth would have done exactly that) but for goodness sake the way he went off I wouldn’t have been that surprised if somebody had told me he’d broken his leg and yet it’s only a bruise. How low is that man’s pain threshold?

These are the chances Warnock has been forced to take this summer with the budget he has been given to work with. The spin from the club has been admirable – talk of “England international caps”, “something to prove” and so it has gone on but the facts speak for themselves. In four years at West Ham Dyer started just 17 times and came off the bench on another 18 occasions. To repeat the same actions and expect a different result is the definition of insanity and yesterday he lasted four minutes. Bradley Orr came on to replace him.

When the game restarted Bolton settled and launched their first serious attack of the game. Paul Robinson sent a high cross to the back post from the left and Kevin Davies intelligently nodded it down into the six yard box. Paddy Kenny was alert to the danger and nipped off his line to claim the ball cleanly with Klasnic loitering awaiting any fumble or mishandle.

At the other end QPR were desperately unlucky not to take the lead when Jay Bothroyd flicked a ball in behind the Bolton defence, DJ Campbell chased it down to the byline and hooked it back into the area and Bothroyd strode back onto the ball and unloaded a shot that was destined for the top corner before being headed up and over the bar by Cahill who knew little about it.

And QPR continued to not only hold their own but take the game to Bolton. An attractive three pass move ended with Tommy Smith dragging his shot wide of the target. Then the move of the match saw a fine run from Campbell, excellent skill from Taarabt and then finally Campbell again holding the ball on the byline and teeing up Smith who hammered a low cross into the six yard box but Jaaskelainen claimed the ball low and defused the danger.

Bolton’s only real threat came from Petrov who lashed a wild long range shot into the Upper Loft. QPR were passing the ball nicely, pressing Bolton high up the field and restricting them to shots from long range. So far, so good and it seemed that the visitors may be getting frustrated when Kevin Davies, already penalised three times, needlessly hacked down Paddy Kenny as he attempted to shepherd the ball out for a goal kick by the corner flag. Davies was given a final warning by referee Martin Atkinson when he really should have been booked, but Kenny was lucky not to fall victim to a Kelvin Davis v Ray Jones type disaster having journeyed that far from goal and taken a risk that the ball had enough pace to go behind.

Just before the half hour the danger of including Adel Taarabt in our side in the Premier League shone through for the first time. An over elaborate trick when a simple pass was on gave Fabrice Muamba a chance to muscle the Moroccan off the ball and when Alejandro Faurlin then missed a tackle Martin Petrov had acres of space to attack down the left but his cross flashed right across the face of the goal and out. From the resulting goal kick Zat Knight suffered a nasty head injury after a clash with Jay Bothroyd resulting in another lengthy stoppage. I mention this because the added time would be significant later on.

There was a further stoppage shortly after when Tommy Smith was chopped down by Nigel Reo Coker. The former West Ham man was yellow carded for the tackle, and given that he’d already committed numerous fouls and had hacked into Taarabt just half a second before then lunging in on Smith he can have few complaints. Reo Coker looked to me like somebody who was half a yard off the pace, in the first half at least. He’s been playing reserve team football for more than a year at Aston Villa and I thought you could tell, he was a long way short of his team mates in match fitness and sharpness for me.

Rangers continued to look dangerous. Taarabt launched a fine crossfield pass to Bradley Orr on the right who then worked the ball back infield via Derry and Faurlin to Taarabt again but he seemed to be in two minds when receiving the ball on the edge of the area and he launched the ball into the School End with what was neither a cross nor a shot. He was much more certain with his next effort, ten minutes before half time, when Bothroyd flicked on Kenny’s long clearance and he struck a volley straight at Jaaskelainen. And Bothroyd went close himself when Taarabt whipped a corner into the near post but the new QPR striker could only find the side netting with a diving header from a couple of yards out. The fans in South Africa Road thought that one was in.

Petrov, Bolton’s key threat, hit another shot over the bar as half time approached but it seemed as though the score would be deadlocked at the break and QPR could be reasonably happy with their first 45 minutes in the Premier League. Sadly the next five minutes didn’t go quite so well.

I wondered whether QPR’s minds were already in the dressing room when the fourth official signalled five added minutes at the end of the half. The high tempo and pressing that had been a feature of the first half seemed to slacken slightly in that stoppage time and QPR switched off. Bolton took advantage of this and scored a magnificent goal, centre half Gary Cahill curling a fine strike past Kenny and into the top corner from 25 yards out, but nobody had come out of the area to challenge him and it had all come from two Bolton throw ins down the right where Rangers had left themselves outnumbered two on one. You can’t legislate for the quality of Cahill’s finish but QPR had only themselves to blame for him being in that position with that much time in the first place.

That Cahill goal didn’t need to be a disaster. QPR had been the better team in the first half and really the only fault you could pick with them was that in the Premiership you can’t afford to have three or four good chances and fail to score because at the other end this quality of opposition only need one half sniff to find the net.

It was a shame therefore that the lethargy of the stoppage time period continued into and throughout the second half. It was like QPR had given up after falling behind, a big departure from the spirit of last season and a real surprise for a Neil Warnock side. Rangers were never at the races from the moment the second half kicked off and having dominated for long periods of the first half they could have eventually lost by more than four and barely registered a serious effort on goal in the second.

Bolton quickly got a sniff that something was afoot and within a minute of the restart Klasnic had hit a low effort on goal that Kenny did well to save at full stretch. That stirred a response from Derry who first sent a great ball across the field for Smith, who crossed through the empty area, and then launched a thumping, legal tackle on Chris Eagles that got the crowd back into the match.

Eagles was not a popular figure at Loftus Road last season when twice dived in the area trying to win penalties, but he was genuinely in the wars here. No sooner had he picked himself up from Derry’s firm challenge than Clint Hill was scything him down as he skipped down the touchline. Hill’s first offence, but still deemed worthy of a yellow card by Martin Atkinson who’d earlier shown leniency with Davies for a worse challenge on Kenny. I actually think Atkinson booked Hill to justify him stopping the play because if he’d allowed it to continue Reo Coker was away and accelerating into space in the penalty area. Not the finest piece of refereeing we’ll see this season.

There can be no complaints about the next decision that went against Rangers though. Fitz Hall, remarkably not injured by this point, chased Klasnic out of the penalty area towards the corner flag and then just when he had him exactly where he wanted him put in an early entry for the stupidest piece of play of the season award by fouling him and thereby immediately turning a harmless situation into a dangerous one. From the free kick Petrov stuck the ball plum on the head of Davies at the back post and he should have done better than head the ball wide of the post.

There followed two long range efforts on goal from QPR. The first, from Adel Taarabt after a fantastic turn midway through the Bolton half, looked in all the way from where I was sitting but actually flashed just wide of the top corner with Jaaskelainen beaten. The second, from Tommy Smith at the end of a counter attack that had survived three Bolton fouls all of which had been played on through, was miles off target.

There has been much talk on the message board after the game about how awful Danny Gabbidon was but to be honest, to this point, I thought he’d had a pretty decent game. Admittedly Bolton didn’t attack with any great numbers or conviction in the first half but he won plenty in the air and didn’t do too badly in other facets of his game for the first hour of the match. He was twice involved just before the hour mark – first being harshly penalised for a foul on Kevin Davies on the edge of the area which presented Chris Eagles with a chance to smash a free kick into the wall. Then moments later he raced across the edge of the area to execute a superb block on Martin Petrov after he’d left Orr for dead and raced into a shooting position.

Sadly, a minute later, the afternoon was to turn sour for QPR and Gabbidon in particular. It started when Kevin Davies was treated to a free kick wide on the QPR left under the slimmest of contacts from Faurlin. Interesting that on Goals on Sunday Davies, a studio guest, laughed this one off before going on to lambast Joey Barton for play acting in the Newcastle Arsenal game and conning a “fellow professional”. Anyway having been duped Rangers didn’t then have to make it quite so easy for Bolton who tapped the free kick short to Eagles for him to drill it low into a six yard box containing not one single Bolton player. Under no pressure and with the ball flying out for a goal kick Gabbidon inexplicably stretched out and slid the ball into his own net. It was the action of a tired player and typified the lethargy and lack of concentration QPR played with from the forty fourth minute onwards. A shambolic goal.

If the tiredness and lethargy wasn’t enough of a concern, the way QPR seemed to just give up after that second goal certainly was. We’re going to be on the end of some absolute shallackings if we’re going to quit every time we go 2-0 down. It’s so unlike this group of players as well.

It should be noted that by now the atmosphere had taken a turn for the hostile. Flavio Briatore became the target for chants and abuse and after ten minutes of that he turned and fled from the director’s box to a chorus of boos and catcalls from the QPR fans around him. By that stage the score was 4-0.

It’s fully justified of course, people look and see a club brought back from the brink of insolvency and taken to the Premiership in four years and wonder what the problem is but we’re only here because for 18 months of that four years he pissed off and did other things and left a couple of competent people to run the show. Now he’s back and it’s all falling apart again – no coincidence at all. However I must say only starting to abuse him once we’re two nil down just smacks of looking for a scapegoat. Were the ticket prices and his running of the club ok when it was only one nil, but two nilis just far too much? If you’re going to abuse the guy then abuse him, don’t wait until we’re losing because it just looks like you want somebody to take your frustrations out on him. It should also be pointed out that in Flavio’s world Flavio has never been wrong about anything, ever in his whole life. Thankfully it seems he may finally be on his way out of our club because if he wasn’t, then abusing him would see him sack Neil Warnock long before he’d look in the mirror at his own reflection.

Anyway with morale shattered on the pitch, the mood turning ugly in the stands, and the only player Bolton were worried about (Adel Taarabt) withdrawn along with Tommy Smith and replaced by Akos Buzsaky and Heidar Helguson the visitors were able to run amok for the rest of the game.

Three minutes after the second goal and one minute before the substitutions they made it three nil when Klasnic was afforded too much time in the area and his volley deflected into the net off Bradley Orr. Then nine minutes later Klasnic was allowed to run unchallenged along the edge of the penalty area and bide his time waiting for a runner from deep to arrive – Fabrice Muamba took up the invitation and strode onto the resulting through ball to stroke home a fourth goal that you could see coming ten or 11 seconds before it was actually scored.

To Buzsaky’s credit he did at least register a couple of efforts on goal. The first, between the third and fourth Bolton goals, came from a direct free kick won by Derry who had gone charging through the heart of the Bolton defence and been upended resulting in a yellow card for Gary Cahill. Buzsaky only found the base of the wall with that poorly struck shot but went closer in stoppage time when he sought out the ball in a penalty box scramble and unloaded a shot on goal that was blocked away to safety.

Between the two efforts Bolton had gone close to making it five when another poor QPR set piece broke down and the visitors cleared into the Rangers half where Martin Petrov had the freedom of the park to race into. Paddy Kenny made a crazy decision to come charging out of his area to try and reach a ball that was never his and despite the distance and angle Petrov probably should have done better than lob over the empty net from fully 45 yards out. Kenny was rather better placed to save a Gary Cahill header from a corner two minutes from time.

There was time for a final flashpoint. Petrov received the ball tight to the right touchline and clashed with Clint Hill after knocking a pass back to Mark Davies. Hill appeared to leave his foot in and then react to Petrov’s complaints by pushing his head into his chest like a rutting stag. Petrov collapsed to the ground as you would expect and Hill was shown a straight red card which, if it’s for violent conduct as I suspect, rules him out of the next three matches.

Three minutes of stoppage time at the end of the game seemed needlessly cruel. The QPR fans still left at the end of it gave the players a standing ovation as they left the field and rightly so. Whatever happens this season will not be the fault of our squad of players that did so well last season and will freely admit themselves that they need reinforcements to be able to cope with this new level. The fighting lions with toothpicks analogy came to mind several times in the second half.

The whole game to me reminded me of our 6-0 thrashing by Arsenal in the FA Cup ten years back. Initially buoyed by the occasion and the atmosphere QPR flew out of the traps that day and had three goal-bound efforts cleared off the line. Then as the energy levels dipped, the crowd settled down and Rangers retreated back to their normal level Arsenal upped it a gear or two and calmly took us apart. This was by no means that one sided but the pattern was the same.

Bolton stepped it up after half time while QPR regressed from the standard they’d initially set for themselves and the result was catastrophic. The worry I have is that the first half performance is probably about the best we can play and we’ll face better sides than Bolton this season. The defence was torn asunder, the midfield completely overrun, and I cannot recall a single serious effort on goal at the Loft End in the second half. Jay Bothroyd and DJ Campbell linked up well in the first half but in the second Bothroyd seemed to spend far too much time wide on the flanks leaving Campbell to battle Cahill and Knight alone, a fight much better forwards than him receiving much better service than we gave him would have lost.

We’re not good enough. I suspected as much and it was there for all to see. Warnock’s post match interview confirmed he knows it too. Two full backs, one centre half and a quality central midfielder a conservative estimate at what we need.

We now look to our boardroom once again and pray for the moves that are said to be afoot to happen this week. The people in the boardroom at Loftus Road are now the only ones that can halt what looks like an inevitable slide straight back out of this league. Warnock and the players have done and will do all they can but we’re in very serious trouble if things remain as they are now.

A final thought to take away with you, picked up from one of the Saturday morning papers. Last season QPR’s turnover was £14m, the wage bill was £17m. This summer because of the bloody stupid deals we handed out left right and centre our wage bill has already doubled. If those percentage increases don’t reduce the other way after a relegation then we’re fighting for a lot more than just top flight status this season.

Links >>> Have Your Say >>> Interactive Player Ratings >>> Message Board Match Thread

QPR: Kenny 6, Dyer - (Orr 7, 5), Gabbidon 5, Hall 5, Hill 5, Derry 6, Faurlin 5, Taarabt 6 (Buzsaky 72, 6), Campbell 5, Smith 5 (Helguson 72, 5), Bothroyd 6

Subs: Murphy, Connolly, Agyemang, Ephraim

Booked: Hill 52 (foul)

Red Cards: Hill 90 (violent conduct)

Bolton: Jasskelainen 6, Steinsson 7, Knight 7, Cahill 8, Robinson 6, Muamba 7, Reo Coker 5 (Pratley 83, -), Eagles 6 (M Davies 81, -), Petrov 8, Klasnic 7 (Blake 86, -), K Davies 8

Subs: Bogdan, Alonso, Gardner, Wheater

Booked: Cahill 76 (foul)

Goals: Cahill 45 (unassisted), Gabbidon 67 (own goal, assisted Eagles), Klasnic 70 (unassisted), Muamba 79 (assisted Klasnic)

QPR Star Man – Jay Bothroyd 6 Looked our biggest threat and led the line well in the first half before disappearing from the game in the second. Tough choice to make and to be honest if the game had finished on 60 I probably would have given it to Gabbidon (I anticipate some stick for that). His collapse in the final third of the game was the most dramatic but he wasn’t alone.

Referee: Martin Atkinson 7 (Yorkshire) One or two things to quibble over – allowing Davies off without a yellow card after he’d committed four fouls and then hacked down Kenny was very generous. To then book Hill for exactly the same type of foul on Eagles when play could have been allowed to continue was inconsistent. Davies went on to con him out of a free kick with an obvious dive in the lead up to the second goal. Other than that, hard to argue with anything else including the Hill red card.

Attendance: 15, 195 (771 away) First Premiership game at Loftus Road since 1996 and the thick end of 3,000 empty seats. As sadly inevitable as the game itself. For such well established and successful businessmen our owners really do make themselves look like absolute tits. Bolton sold barely half their tickets and at £50 a throw who can blame them? I was actually quite pleased for the ones who did shell out that they were treated to such a great result. The QPR fans, I thought, were excellent – very supportive of the players and making it very clear who is at fault for this developing mess. Like I say though, if you’re going to get on Briatore’s back don’t wait until we’re 2-0 down because it detracts from the point being made.

Photo: Action Images



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NW5Hoop added 17:29 - Aug 14
The comment on bruising and pain thresholds might not be entirely fair: there's not a lot of flesh on the foot, so when you get badly bruised there it tends to be between the bones, and it's agony. I was once on crutches for a week with a bruised foot ...
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rontheranger added 17:40 - Aug 14
I personally think we well over achieved last season and this game was simply an example of how poor (Esp defensively) we really are...
No idea why Warnock thinks we can play 4-2-3-1 in this league.
One of the biggest difference between the championship and premiership is teams are clinical, 1 chance 1 goal (E.G Gary Cahill's goal).
We're gonna seriously struggle this year and unless we get a good set of full backs (Sorry but Hill and Orr are not premiership class) and a Taarabt learns how to work hard for the team.
We cannot afford Taarabt in this league we need Workhorses!
Wonder how long its gonna take until:
1) Taarabt is dropped
2) We go 4-4-2 (DJ and Boothroyd upfront)
3) We are outside south African road calling for Briatores head!

Either way, we need to get behind the players and support them and the manager 110%

When Dyer got injured the atmosphere died and the players seemed to loose their fight.

If its one season we're here lets not let anyone stop us singing our hearts out!
Urrrssssss
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Northernr added 18:40 - Aug 14
Ron, thanks for the comment but I barely agree with a word of it :-) A game of opinions as always.

We didn't over achieve last season. You cannot overachieve for 46 matches.

442 would be an absolute disaster. The only players it might suit are Campbell and Bothroyd and they looked fine in the existing system in the first half. It would further expose our back four, put Derry into a box to box central midfield role which he doesn't have the legs for, force Taarabt into a regimented winger position where he'd have to do some defending which would in turn further expose the full backs. It's the default option the supporters always call for and we don't have the players for it.

Taarabt is our biggest attacking threat, the Bolton pair on Goals on Sunday this morning both said he was the only one they were worried about it. Who we going to drop him for, Hogan Ephraim? We're chronically short of quality, why would you drop the highest quality player you have?

Dyer got injured after four minutes, we went on to dominate the game for a further 40 so I can't see how we lost our fight because of that.
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DublinQPR74 added 18:44 - Aug 14
Clive, thanks. Typically readable and spin free report.

The only slight positive I can think of with this result is that it will lower people's expectations.

@rontheranger "No idea why Warnock thinks we can play 4-2-3-1 in this league." "2) We go 4-4-2 (DJ and Boothroyd upfront) " - I don't agree that the formation is the problem, but I do agree that the quality of the players and the lack of pace is key.

The evidence is there that the club got it's pricing wrong. If QPR want to be a Premier League team we're going to need a bigger stadium and cheaper tickets. It's clearly the prices that kept people away. That said, it is August and people are off on holidays and what not.

Hopefully Briatore is gone as and from tomorrow. I'd suffer Paladini before Briatore.
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RangersAreBack added 20:01 - Aug 14
I don't agree with the view that we overachieved last season. However I do believe that our defence wasn't as good as the stats suggested. I can recall numerous occassions where we were opened up but either the opposition weren't good enough to take advantage or Paddy excelled.

Deep down I always suspected that Premier League opposition would be more clinical and so it proved yesterday. The match stats show that both QPR and Bolton had 7 shots with 6 on target. The fact that we scored none and they scored 4 tells its own story.

As for the treatment of Flavio, fans have paid their money so they're entitled to their opinion. However, I do agree that this message should be conveyed 24/7. After all, we're talking about a man who only owns 1%. There are probably members of this board who own more. What the hell is he still doing walking around Loftus Road, calling the shots?
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JB007007 added 20:13 - Aug 14
Good report as always Clive.
RangersAreBack got it spot on with the defensive side of things. We got away with some poor finishing from other teams last year. I agree Clive that Gabbidon was ok in the first half, but as soon as Bolton stepped up their game and the pace, we were done for. Ok they got a bit fortunate with a couple of their goals, but there are some worrying signs unless we get some good Premier League defenders in - a problem in itself though.
On the plus side, I thought both DJ and Bothroyd did well. I thought DJ may have been worth another mark. His movement in and around the box was clever and I think he will bag us a few goals over the coming weeks.
Was it just me, but Taarabt didn't look fit?
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Spaghetti_Hoops added 20:16 - Aug 14
Many thanks for the report. I only saw this abroad on a chronic stop start internet feed with a Spanish commentary of which I understood not a word. So probably a good thing and allows me to dream that there will be better days. Football has a way of making dire predictions look ridiculous so it wouldn't surprise me if we go and get a point or three at Everton. Which is not to say that the obvious weaknesses in the team - both fullbacks and pace in defence and midfield - need addressing before the transfer window closes. It's just that things are never as bad as they seem through LFW's pessimistic eyes.

Holed below the waterline but not submerged yet.

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Doughnut added 20:42 - Aug 14
Improving the defence is essential! I have thought us to be poor defensively for some years now, in spite of the promotion. Block off the opposition's attacks, for the whole duration of the game that is, not just 45mins and eventually, the likes of Campbell, Bothroyd & Taarabt will start doing their thing.
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johann28 added 20:47 - Aug 14
we're in big trouble. warnock will walk if we don't sign and i don't blame him
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Spanishhoops added 22:06 - Aug 14
Our promotion was built on a solid defence. We've upped a level and the defence needs upping too. Clear to everyone that our whole back 4 is not good enough. Orr is getting horrible marks on rate the players but I don't think he deserved such low marks. However, he and hill, Gabbidon and Hall are going to creamed by players who are sharper than this relatively flat Bolton attack.
If we can sort that out then going forward we can do some damage - but will FB and BE wake up and see what could be in store if they don't.
Good on those who stood aan applauded the lads at the final whistle - if they show heart then for some at this level there's little more that we can ask of them.
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jo_qpr63 added 01:13 - Aug 15
Diddnt see the game because on hols, but from what my brother told me and reading your report clive, its the players attidude that is the problem. I'm not saying they are not giving their best, but because of the shabby summer after winning the league on merit, they're not feeling world beaters at mo. Dyer going down injured probably had a"told you so" moment going through their heads. What sums up our premier league season so far, is me looking through a Match magazine for my lad and nothing bout QPR. Had a page with all the teams in their new kit and we was'nt there. Only 1st game but could of been so much better with different owners. I dont think they knew what they took on, but now they are in the limelite i cant wait for them to be shown up. Apparently briator asked one of his drivers to crash his car on purpose... at 159 mph . say no more. C'mon Rangers.Its about the fans, the players and the badge and the blue and white hoops.
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Bedford_R added 07:10 - Aug 15
Jo, you didn't see the game and it shows in your comments. We played well up until Bolton scored. And what is that tripe about Briatore's driver - I despair...
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ElHoop added 07:58 - Aug 15
Northern, I have to take issue with:

'Whatever happens this season will not be the fault of our squad of players that did so well last season and will freely admit themselves that they need reinforcements to be able to cope with this new level.'

Not sure how this reconciles with missed chances, failing to close down Cahill, failing to defend a free kick on the edge of the box, and 'giving up' when 2-0 down. Were the board to blame for that?

If the playerers don't have to take responsibility for their own errors then we really are doomed.
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QPRski added 08:01 - Aug 15
Clive, You are correct as it was a true reality check! I ear marked this match for a 2:1 win or 1:1 draw at worst. I think that we all landed with a bang.

However, searching for positives, the first half was promising but the opportunities were not taken. Then we badly fell apart and were badly punished in the 2nd half.

But I sincerely hope that the real positive will be a reality check for the owners and hopefully under the immenent new management (with an active partnership role from the Mittals) there will be real action and a real strategy.

If this result is the catalyst for real change, then perhaps this reality check was the best thing that could have happened?

We shall know over the next 2 weeks.

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richles added 08:34 - Aug 15
In away am glad we lost There will be no papering over the cracks now we need a few players so the board old or new will need to give the manager some cash !
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qpr_ox added 08:35 - Aug 15
Regardless of how good our defence or strikeforce was last season, the Premiership is a huge step up from the Championship. Although in recent years promoted teams have had more success than those in the past, tackling the Prem still requires a change of strategy, tactics, and in our case squad.

Looking at the starting eleven against Leeds in the last game of the season, and you wouldn't have expected (or hoped) that many of those players were to get anywhere near the team sheet on Saturday. Who do you think was more surprised that Clint Hill started at left-back on Saturday? Us, Warnock, or Clint Hill?

We won't survive in this league with a Championship defence. And we definitely won't survive while 6 of our field players have a creative factor of 0.

Warnock's tactics were crude against Bolton, but I didn't see how else he could play it. A flat back six and a front four of Adel, Smith, Bothroyd, and Campbell was always going to result in long-field punts, flicks, and a desperate hope we could create something on the counter - while that worked for the first half, I could tell it wasn't sustainable.

My one criticism of the team's actions on Saturday is the lack of communication. There is no commanding voice on the pitch. If you watch the first goal for Bolton, no-one points out the free man until it's too late. Faurlin goes tracking down the right, leaving space in the middle, and no-one is there shouting at him to get back into position.
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Monahoop added 09:12 - Aug 15
Great report Clive.In one of NW's post match interviews, I believe it was with the BBC, he stated that players needed to grow up fast in this division. True words of wisdom, but why was this not drummed into them pre season? Now I'm not blaming Neil for Saturdays debacle, he can only work with what he's equipped with, but better preparation and awareness beforehand could help to alleviate any fears and doubts before stepping onto the big stage. That feeling of team togetherness, so apparent last term will rapidly erode if more results like Saturdays come our way. The whole team,as already stated, needs a reality check. The way things are at the moment, we are way out of our depth made more worrying when the team lose 4-0 at home to one of the Prems more ordinary sides.
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rontheranger added 10:22 - Aug 15
Northern/Dublin appreciate your feedback... Hope your right!
But we 100% over achieved, the season before we were almost relegated, our goal keeper was player of the season & without Warnock would we have won the league?? Don't know... Maybe better if I said we over achieved with the players we've got would have been more of an accurate statement.

Sorry but I also think your both missing the point with Taarabt, Yes he's by far our most talented player But there is clearly a reason why our defenders got fined for passing the ball to him in our own half.

To survive, we need to run, close down, run!!, pressure from the front and Taarabt does not have that in his locker unfortunately. Yeah he can dribble nutmeg and smash a ball in the top corner on the 3rd time after loosing the ball twice, But unfortunately his minus out weight his pluses in this league as the level is that much higher... "There is no I in team"

Also IF Warnock could have got £8-£10m for Taraabt he would have bitten your hand off!

We cannot afford Taraabt, we're going to need 11 players to defend in this league, look at Blackpool they attacked but there were no pre-madonna's. Charlie Adam was their creative spark, their "Taraabt" and did he defend? Did he win tackles?? Did he Winner headers??? Yes

Hopefully I'm wrong and will be more than happy to be wrong! But feel we're out of our depths in this league and to stay in it we don't need nutmegs we need pace, power and 110% commitment.

Hopefully this take over is done soon! Apparently Paladini's out as well once it goes through! : )
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Antti_Heinola added 11:45 - Aug 15
Sorry, Ron. Totally with Norf on this one. Of course you need to work hard in this division, as you do anywhere. But 11 workhorses will see you relegated without a doubt. The idea that we over-achieved when we only lost 6 times, had the best defensive record in the country and scored plenty too is, I'm afraid, laughable. We were consistently better than the opposition almost every week. And as Steve Palmer once said, it's impossible to 'over-achieve' or 'play above yourself' - you can only play to the best of your ability. As a team we did that last season and that was too good for most teams.

Taarabt is vital to us because he creates something out of nothing - as much as you need people to work hard, you need someone to create, to scare the opposition, to make them think. The comparison between Adam and Taarabt is erroneous - Adam played like a quarter back, almost in Faurlin's position, Taarabt is almost a striker. And, actually, on Saturday Taarabt worked hard - he didn't flounce about, he chased back sometimes. He won't run back and help out the left back much, but that's a bit like criticising Fitz Hall for not making 10 assists in a season.

I do think that we wil probably need to shift to a 4-3-3, with an extra midfielder coming in for Tommy Smith. Saturday was too much like 4-4-2, because without Routledge or Mackie, there was no one working hard to help out Orr on the right.

Finally, this is one game, the first game of the season. There were positives, and negatives too. This time last year, WBA had just lost 6-0 and Blackpool had just won 4-0. Nothing is won or lost yet.
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nadera78 added 12:15 - Aug 15
At the end of the season we all said we needed 2 full backs, a centre half, a defensive midfielder and centre forward. We still need all of those. Great.
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jobley added 12:29 - Aug 15
I have enjoyed reading posts and the reports on this site for a number of years now but am a virgin to blogging here. Anyway as another passionate Super Hoops supporter I thought i would have my say.

Personally think the formation can work well for us, the first half I thought we were outstanding. I was sitting in W block and saw the best of our attacking play which was good. But as it has been pointed out we just can't afford to miss three decent efforts. if one had gone in, chances are we would have started the second half 1-0 up and would have gone on to win.

All is far from lost, however we need to sort out both our full backs. Orr or Hill have two of the most important positioins in this league and they are very average championship players. I like both the lads but they are not good enough and I think Orr knows that. he said last year he doesn't posses half the quality Kyle W has and it was obvious today. We need pacey players in this position that can link with our strikers.

I actually thought Gabbidon was alright but would still prefer Gorkks there.

Another thing i noticed and I was more aggrieved by is some of the fans in the W/X block. A couple of them obviously have watched Romper Stomper one too many times. Some total idiot, with big boots, turned up jeans, braces, skin head spent the wholeds 90 minutes with his thug mates standing in the aisles trying to communicate a fight with Bolton fans. I am all up for banter but this idiot was not interested in the game and it was sad to see.
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Ribenaboy added 12:41 - Aug 15
I think u r pretty much spot-on with all of this, although I do feel we can play a lot better going fwds. I am also very concerned about the quality of set plays, both delivery of and defending of, we need to b a lot better or we will get murdered on these alone.
Any thoughts on the new kit??
Saturday will b very tough
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MikeW_1978 added 13:05 - Aug 15
Thanks for the report Clive and the respective posts all raise very clear points. As always, it is about opinions. I and a few others in Ellerslie Rd thought that Gabbidon had a good game but just lacked that match sharpness. The fitness for the entire team in the 2nd half just wasn't there, perhaps this was due to the loss of confidence and heads dropping, only Warnock and his staff will know. On the flip side of the centreback partnership, Hall looked extremely tired (2nd half), was out of position and left Gabbidon AND Orr exposed as well as giving away silly freekicks. Only the latter has been mentioned.

Last year I wondered whether the 4-2-3-1 formation will see us through the championship and in the premier league. I agree it can work but with the right players (square pegs, round holes and all that). In terms of tactics on Saturday we were left exposed and simple tactics such as having your anchor midfielders sit in front of the 2 centrebacks to stop Davis having a field day just wasn't happening and some of the reasons could be due to them being pulled out of position to fill in on the left/right midfield.

This is just one game and I'm sure we can improve from it!!
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Northernr added 13:07 - Aug 15
Ribena - on the set plays, at Crawley last week our corners from both sides were absolutely fantastic all night and we looked dangerous from every one of them. annoying that we can't reproduce that on the big day.
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PinnerPaul added 13:37 - Aug 15
Totally agree with Clive (& others) re formation.

We don't have the players for 4-4-2.

Players needed? Still think we need a quick wide player or two, Rooney on Saturday played in much the same position as Adel but it worked far better because he had Young and Nani supporting him. A few times on Sat crowd screaming at Adel to pass but options consisted of passing BACK to Faurlin or trusting Smith to outpace the full back from a standing start. We know Adel isn't the quickest or even most mobile so he needs pace and movement around him to get the most of his strengths.

I'm not giving up with 37 games to go but agree we need renforcements to give us a fighting chance.

IF Tony F and Mittal gain FULL control and Amit B back running the day to day OFF the field activities I'm optimistic we can do it.
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