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Image: Phil Noble/REUTERS

Mark Hughes only has himself to blame this time

Hughes has a rather bad habit of blaming others for his own failings, but if this all goes wrong at QPR then he should take a long, hard look at himself. With the number of players he has been allowed to bring in during his limited time at the club this is now definitely his squad, set up in his system.

Rob Green looked a liability yesterday, as he often does, further confirming that he is one of the most overrated keepers of his generation. The defence looked completely out of sorts, lacking organisation and structure for most of the goals conceded and raising questions about the coaching and preparation leading up to this weekend. And the selection of both Park Ji-Sung and Adel Taarabt in central midfield against a possession-based side was suicidal, leaving far too much for Samba Diakité to do – just watch Michu’s second goal again and see Park jogging behind, just looking at him.

This was a bad start for QPR and Hughes needs to take the responsibility for improving it, and do so quickly.

Wrong place at the wrong time for Hughton

I can fully understand the reasons why Chris Hughton decided to leave Birmingham and take the Norwich job. Having been harshly dismissed at Newcastle (they have taken giant strides under Pardew but it was still very tough on him), he may have questioned whether he would get another crack at a top-flight job. A successful season at Birmingham followed, steering the club to the play-offs despite operating in difficult circumstances. Having thought it might be difficult to repeat this feat, he jumped at the chance to join the Canaries.

However, I can’t get over the nagging feeling that this could be the wrong job for Hughton. The style and make-up of Norwich’s squad leads me to believe that they were always likely to suffer from the dreaded ‘second season syndrome’, which I suspect may have influenced Paul Lambert’s decision to move on to Villa Park. It is only one game but their heavy defeat to Fulham has nothing to change my opinion.

They will obviously improve on this weekend, but I sense this is going to be a very tough ask. If Norwich do struggle and are eventually relegated, as is very possible, then Hughton may wish he’d taken the chance to wait a little longer for a job with better prospects.

Fantasy football has taken over

When Sergio Agüero fell in a heap under Nathaniel Clyne’s tackle, he immediately grabbed his knee and a look of anguish was written all over his face. Roberto Mancini stared on in worry and nerves could be seen all around the Etihad Stadium. However, a quick look at Twitter and by far the most common response was something along the lines of “well that’s me fucked – I had Agüero as my captain!”

Fantasy football has always been big but over the last year or so it seems to have escalated. We’ve got to the point where the reaction to a potentially serious injury of one of the league’s stars is no longer about the actual game itself.

Although, if I’m honest, I’m just as addicted as everyone else and having taken Agüero out of my team at the last minute, I was overcome with a strong sense of relief.

Rodgers does not have a magic fix to Liverpool’s scoring rate

Liverpool had several problems last year but the biggest was undoubtedly the inability to convert their chances. They hit the woodwork more than any other team and came up against inspired goalkeepers, but their own weaknesses could not simply be put down to bad luck. For all of the brilliant approach play by Luis Suárez, his conversion rate was just not good enough whilst Andy Carroll’s failings have been discussed at length.

Those hoping Brendan Rodgers would turn things around quickly will have to be patient. He will change Liverpool’s style but he does not have a sprinkle of fairy dust or a magic wand that will suddenly turn chances into goals. A lot of work is needed on the training ground and it will take time.

Competitor for the most annoying advert series ever

Whenever the Go-Compare adverts come on, I feel a strong desire to walk out of the room and bang my head against a solid wall repeatedly until it’s over. Fortunately most of the walls in my apartment are hollow so I refrain from doing so. Regardless of this minor detail, the Ladbrokes ads are fast becoming a serious competitor for the award of most irritating thing on TV.

They weren’t particularly funny to begin with anyway, but now it has gone way beyond a mild irritation. The reality that Ladbrokes are continuing to pollute the world with these monstrosities, together with the realisation that Sky will show one during almost every break is a horrible thought.

Feel free to leave your conclusions from this week in the comments section below.

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