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Monday Moan: Hughes solely to blame

Mark Holmes accuses Mark Hughes of having delusions of grandeur, tells Theo Walcott to stop moaning and again criticises Alan Pardew's tactics.

Last Updated: 20/11/12 at 07:09 Post Comment

Mark Hughes: Delusions of grandeur

Mark Hughes: Delusions of grandeur

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Last week I defended the tactics of Andre Villas-Boas but blasted those of Alan Pardew, and I've got more criticism for Pardew this week, as well as some harsh words for Mark Hughes and a warning to Theo Walcott.

Hughes' delusions of grandeur

After QPR avoided relegation from the Premier League on the final day of last season, Mark Hughes made a vow.

"There's no way we will ever be in this situation again while I am manager of QPR," he said. "I have good people around me, [have] got great support from the owner and CEO and this club is going to be a lot stronger in the future."

Twelve games into the new season and the R's are bottom of the table without a league win to their name.

Hughes, though, rather predictably, does not believe a change of manager is needed.

"Stability is absolutely what this club needs in the long-term," he said. "I think wholesale changes once again for this club would be the wrong decision in my view."

I couldn't agree more. Every club needs stability, and wholesale changes are often the recipe for disaster.

It's just a shame Hughes didn't practice what he preached over the summer. Remember, this is a man that signed eleven players in the transfer window, only two of which were English. A man that signed a goalkeeper and had replaced him with another one by the end of the window. A man that signed players with seemingly no plan as to how to fit them all into his team.

Hughes proved in his time in charge of Wales, Blackburn and Fulham that he is a good manager. But he is now confirming what we already suspected - that he is an awful manager when he has money to spend.

I accused him in today's Football Podcast of having 'delusions of grandeur' - he seemed to believe simply signing a load of talented players would propel QPR into mid-table, but, as Hughes is now recognising, the Hoops are not playing as a team.

Furthermore, there have been numerous reports this season that certain players are unhappy with the way they have been treated by Hughes, who is known to be somewhat detached and almost aloof.

Hughes appears to have forgotten what being a good manager is all about - managing your players, building a team spirit...oh, and having a half-capable defence.

With Harry Redknapp still out of work, it is surely only a matter of time before Hughes is given the boot.

Walcott's a wide man

It has been widely reported that Theo Walcott's failure to agree a new contract at Arsenal is down to his desire to play as a central striker.

A cynic such as me might suggest money has a little more to do with it, but Walcott reiterated his wish to play up front after the Gunners' 5-2 win over Tottenham on Saturday.

"I want to play up front. That's my position," he said.

It is understandable that Walcott believes he deserves a chance through the middle - Gervinho had a run there earlier in the season, and Olivier Giroud was getting chances long before his recent improvement in front of goal.

However, Walcott's claim that it is his position is debatable. Not because he would not do well there, but because he has developed into such a good wide forward.

He was excellent once again on Saturday and few players are capable of standing up a cross under pressure in the way Walcott did for Per Mertesacker's equaliser. Why does he want to pigeon-hole himself as a central striker when he can do such a good job out wide?

Lukas Podolski is playing wide left in the very same team, Wayne Rooney has been asked to play wide by Manchester United this season, and Cristiano Ronaldo can play in any one of the three front positions. If it's good enough for them, it should be good enough for Walcott.

The big question he should be asking himself, though, is which team he believes would give him regular games through the middle. Is he so determined to play there that he would join a lesser club on less money?

Because that is the choice Walcott faces.

Pardew only has himself to blame

I wrote last week that Newcastle were struggling somewhat due to Alan Pardew's use of two strikers in a 4-4-2.

Without Papiss Cisse against Swansea on Saturday I had hoped Pardew would give Hatem Ben Arfa the link role behind Demba Ba but instead he picked Sammy Ameobi, with Ben Arfa once again asked to dictate play from the right wing.

Pardew was also without the injured Yohan Cabaye, who could be out until January, leaving the defensive-minded duo of Cheick Tiote and Vurnon Anita to patrol the midfield.

As a result, it was no surprise to me to see Swansea pick up the three points, and I doubt it was any surprise to the Newcastle fans either.

Pardew did a terrific job in charge of the club last season but he could soon find himself under pressure from supporters if he continues to field players in the wrong positions.

Annoying me and me alone

There were two things that really annoyed me over the weekend, but I advise you to look away now unless you want to hear a bitter Stoke fan moaning!

The first was a headline used by the Daily Mail on a Sam Allardyce interview previewing West Ham's game with Tony Pulis' Potters.

Asked whether the fixture was a meeting of two teams with similar tactics, Allardyce said: "They (the tactics) are not the same. Mine are not the same as Tony's. I'm an individual. Nobody copies Sam Allardyce. I don't copy anybody else."

Fair enough. He went on to praise Stoke, adding: "We have the same philosophy in terms of we both want to defend well and make sure our team is organised and understand what's needed to be done in terms of game-plan.

"We both also have to maximise our resources to make sure that the club is successful. When you look at what Tony has done, Stoke fill their ground every week and have been doing so for years now."

As a Stoke fan, I found Allardyce's comments fair and respectful. The Daily Mail's headline? 'Allardyce denies copying 'rough-house' tactics'. Note the quotation marks.

Amount of times Allardyce mentioned 'rough-house' tactics? None. Terrific journalism.

The second thing to annoy me over the weekend was the lack of reaction from the red half to Merseyside to Luis Suarez's stamp on Dave Jones.

Liverpool fans had been quick to tell me I supported a team of thugs after Robert Huth's stamp on Suarez so I looked forward to their condemnation of their own player. After all, all those condeming Huth did so because they want a clean and honest game, right?

The deathly silence since the Suarez incident leads me to believe they might, just might, have simply been annoyed Stoke had taken points off them again.

To see the latest Suarez stamp and read what some Liverpool fans had to say about it, click here.

Let me know what has annoyed you over the past seven days and remember you can follow me on Twitter @Homzy

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