HARRY Redknappâ€™s autumnal trip down memory lane has proved a dead-end street for his Queens Park Rangers side. With defeats already suffered at his old haunts of Southampton and Tottenham, West Ham United completed the hat-trick thanks to Nedum Onuohaâ€™s early own-goal and Diafra Sakhoâ€™s second-half header. â€œIt wasnâ€™t great,â€ said Redknapp afterwards. That was an understatement.
Gary Nevilleâ€™s post-match view â€“ â€œdiabolicalâ€ â€“ was a touch closer to the truth. The result leaves QPR bottom of the pile but the manner of the result will sting as much as the consequences.
Toothlessness in attack and flakiness at the back is a toxic combination and both were in evidence here â€“ only Everton have conceded more, only Burnley have scored fewer. Not that West Ham will mind. Sam Allardyceâ€™s side claimed their second home win in succession with some ease despite a stop-start performance that failed to maintain its early sparkle.
â€œWeâ€™re short of goals and weâ€™re short of goalscorers,â€ said Redknapp. â€œWe lost LoÃ¯c RÃ©my right on the deadline and couldnâ€™t get a replacement. It has not been easy. Weâ€™ve had a tough start but thereâ€™s an awful long way to go.â€
A lack of goals, though, is not a new problem for this Rangers side â€“ the list of teams who outscored them in the Championship last season includes Sheffield Wednesday, Middlesbrough and Bournemouth â€“ and they fashioned only two chances of note here.
They both fell to Charlie Austin who created the first himself midway through the opening half after flummoxing James Tomkins on the edge of the box but planted his shot too close to AdriÃ¡n. The second came courtesy of an immediate impact from Bobby Zamora following his half-time introduction from the bench but Austin poked the substituteâ€™s cross narrowly wide.
â€œIf you canâ€™t create a goal threat then the rest of the team comes under too much pressure and ultimately cracks,â€ said Allardyce, whose side are up to seventh. â€œWeâ€™ve suffered that ourselves in the past. When youâ€™ve got a real goalscorer in your team it makes so much difference. Look at the difference that Diego Costa has made to Chelsea.â€
Allardyce ensured that his side carried plenty of threat by picking an attacking XI with a front three of Mauro Zarate, Enner Valencia and Sakho, while Redknapp aimed for solidity by naming Karl Henry alongside Sandro in midfield.
The way in which the home team took the lead in the fifth minute, though, owed nothing to tactical tinkering. The excellent Stewart Downing swung in a corner and Onuoha inadvertently bundled into his own net from close range.
After an opening spell full of verve and swagger from the home side, during which Valencia should probably have put them two up but turned wide Sakhoâ€™s cross, Rangers improved and Austinâ€™s two missed opportunities followed.
The home sideâ€™s strut had been sucked from them, and an equaliser was looking the more likely next goal when West Ham doubled their advantage. The irrepressible Zarate let fly from distance. The ball, initially blocked, spun out to Tomkins and the defenderâ€™s hook across goal was nodded in from little more than a yard by Sakho.
Valencia thought he had made it 3-0 but saw his effort ruled out after intercepting Robert Greenâ€™s free-kick inside the penalty area (â€œI will check the rules,â€ promised Allardyce ominously) and Rangers huffed and puffed thereafter to little effect. AdriÃ¡n was forced to tip wide a Nico Kranjcar free-kick and Adel Taarabt fizzed a long-range effort wide but the Hammers were comfortable. QPR seem in for a season that is anything but. – The Guardian