QPR Season Preview: Can the R's beat the drop?
Premier League new boys QPR kick off their campaign against Hull this coming Saturday, and will be looking to improve their Premiership record following their disappointment in the 2012/13 season. The R’s bowed out of the top flight after an awful season, in which Harry Redknapp was not able to save the day after replacing Mark Hughes halfway through the season. But after Bobby Zamora’s dramatic late goal in the Championship playoff final, they are now looking forward to another challenge in the top flight of English football.
Rangers will look to learn from few mistakes last year to try and consolidate their position in the Barclays Premier League. One of the main problems last year for the hoops, and probably the reason that they didn’t get automatic promotion, was the lack of strikers. They were heavily reliant on frontman Charlie Austin, and when he suffered a shoulder injury that ruled him out for three months, they lost a grip of the top two. However ‘Arry shipped in Ravel Morrison from West Ham until the end of the season, who helped Ranger with their playoff push. Luckily for them, Austin returned in time for the playoffs and scored a brace against Wigan in the semi-final to book a place at Wembley.
They met Steve McClaren’s Derby County at Wembley and it was a tight affair to say the least. after Gary O’Neil’s dismissal in the second half, Derby attacked with full force and most people could only see a Rams win. However, as 90 minutes approached the ball fell to Bobby Zamora who calmly tucked it into the top corner to win the game, and promotion back to the Premier League.
Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United, free) – QPR announced their first signing of the summer in July – the acquisition of former England and Manchester United defender, Rio Ferdinand. Ferdinand will bring a wealth of experience to the team and the 35 year old will no doubt be a rock at the back for QPR. Most would agree that Ferdinand is an incredibly good addition to the team, and costs very little as well. With reports that he is on a fifth of the wages he was on at United, Rio is a coup for Rangers.
Jordon Mutch (Cardiff, £6,000,000) – Last week the Hoops confirmed that midfielder Jordon Mutch had signed a four year contract with QPR, signing for around £6 Million. The versatile midfielder can play either in the centre of midfield or attacking midfield, and after his seven Premier League goals last season, he is now looking to expand on that with Queens Park Rangers. Mutch is also very young, at just 22 years of age he has a big future in the game.
Mauricio Isla (Juventus, Loan) – Chilean wing-back Mauricio Isla joined the R’s the day after Mutch’s arrival at Loftus Road, and the wing back will definitely bring pace to the wings at QPR as his style of play fits Redknapp’s tactics for this season. The signing raised a few eyebrows around the world as many expected him to end up at a top half English team so when he joined newly promoted Queens Park Rangers, many seemed bamboozled. Nevertheless, in my opinion I think Isla will soon become a fan favourite in West London,
Steven Caulker – Caulker is another one of Redknapp’s new boys this season, along with Jordon Mutch, Caulker joined from Cardiff after the bluebirds were relegated last season. Caulker is young, tall and strong. A defender that likes to join attacks and get involved with counters, Caulker can also be a threat going forward. With Ferdinand as a defensive partner, he’ll hope to shine this season.
Joey Barton – When Barton was shipped out to Marseille for the season, I don’t think anyone expected to see him back a in QPR shirt ever again. However, last season Barton returned to Loftus Road and was a key player in the promotion winning season, proving a lot of people wrong. A box-to-box midfielder, Barton showed off his expert passing and played with passion for the R’s, meaning that he may just be awarded the armband for this season.
Loic Remy – Loic Remy has been one of the talks of the summer. First he was off to Arsenal, then it looked certain that he would join Liverpool but after he failed a medical, it now looks like Remy will be staying at Loftus Road. Scoring 14 goals last year for Newcastle in 24 starts is encouraging for the hoops. Harry Redknapp has stated that Remy should be fit for the opening game of the season against Hull, and the Frenchman could be key for the R’s. Of course its still not certain that Remy will stay, but at the moment it’s looking very likely.
Harry Redknapp is one of, if not the most experienced managers in the Premier League. He knows what to do and he knows how the Premiership works. I cant think of many other managers that would be better than Redknapp at keeping a team up. He struggled two years ago because he wasn’t managing his team, he had to work with what he had, but now he has built a team around what he wants.
The obvious aim for QPR this year is to stay up, and to try and achieve that 40 point mark as soon as possible, and with the team, manager and home support they have – I think they will do it. I will say a 15th place finish for rangers is realistic.