Four reasons QPR is struggling
The arrival of Mark Hughes as the new manager at Queens Park Rangers did little to pull the Hoops out of their downward trend as they dropped their first game under Hughes on Sunday, a 1-0 loss at Newcastle United. QPR has managed two points out of a possible 24 in its past eight games (six losses, two draws), falling into the relegation zone.
A number of issues have plagued the London club:
1. A lack of goals: Only once during its past eight games has QPR scored more than one goal in a game, a 3-2 loss to Sunderland on Dec. 21 at Loftus Road. Sunday's loss to Newcastle marked the fourth time during this eight-game win drought that the Hoops were shut out.
2. Allowing late goals: Four times during this slide, QPR has conceded a tying or winning goal in the final 20 minutes of a match, including a pair of losses to fellow Premier League newcomers Norwich City in which the Hoops conceded late game winners to the Canaries (Grant Holt doing the honors at Carrow Road in November and Steve Morison following suit at Loftus Road on Jan. 2).
3. Failure to hit the target: In six of its past eight games, QPR has had three or fewer shots on goal. In Sunday's loss to Newcastle, it managed only one shot on goal for the match.
4. A lack of possession: QPR's time of possession in five of its past eight matches has been under 45 percent. In their past two games, losses to Norwich and Newcastle, the Hoops' time of possession was 39 percent.
With 17 matches left to play, there is still time for Hughes to get his new charges turned around. Three of QPR's next four games are against other teams in the relegation fight, home against Wigan on Jan. 21, home against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Feb. 4 and away to Blackburn on Feb. 11. Positive results in those matches could be crucial to the Hoops' hopes of avoiding a return to the Championship.