Season Preview – QPR
Premier League – 17th in the Barclays Premier League
FA Cup – 4th round.
League Cup – 2nd round.
After narrowly avoiding Premier League relegation in their debut season back in the top-flight, manager Mark Hughes has moved swiftly to strengthen his squad with some big money signings this summer.
Fans should expect to see an exciting, attacking brand of football at Loftus Road this coming campaign, with new arrivals Park Ji Sung, Junior Hoilett and Andrew Johnson set to strengthen an already solid QPR attack. Add to that the loan signing of Fabio, a full back who is notorious for his ability going forward, a feat Hughes will no doubt be looking to exploit this season.
The signing of goalkeeper Robert Green will undoubtedly give the London side a surge of confidence going into the new campaign. The former England No.1 is sure to have a positive influence on a newly-strengthened QPR side if you take into account the years of Premier League and World Cup experience he has under his belt.
The back four of Fabio, Anton Ferdinand, Nedum Onuoha and Luke Young possesses the experience and knowledge of keeping many a clean sheet this season. Both full backs, Fabio and Young will no doubt support the wingers with their attacking prowess. Waiting in the wings are Armand Traore and Clint Hill, who’s composed performances certainly impressed last season.
Another ban for misconduct on the pitch will see QPR skipper Joey Barton sit in the stands for the first 12 games of his club’s season. This could leave Rangers weak in midfield for a portion of the campaign. The former-Newcastle talisman showed his worth in glimpses last season with an impressive combination of talented set-pieces and a tireless work-rate. Despite his misdemeanours, Barton is a very influential player, captaining every club he has played at. With rumours still surrounding his future it may be that the 29-year-old does move on to pastures new, but few would disagree that his presence in Hughes’ midfield does pack a bit of a punch.
QPR’s squad will no doubt benefit from having a full season under manager Mark Hughes, it’s sometimes difficult to adapt to a new manager’s style of play, but with half a season under his belt already, Hughes will surely be expecting players to come firing out of the blocks early on come this campaign.
It is important that Rangers get an at times temperamental Adel Taarabt to perform on a consistent basis this season. His form in the Hoops’ Championship winning season was simply unbelievable at times, but his talent does appear to take a back seat to his mood swings from time to time, a trait the Moroccan will undoubtedly want to put to bed.
With no fewer than seven summer signings, Hughes must be wary of not bringing in too many fresh-faces or an upset the in the squad’s balance could arise. Since the promotion to the Premier League only 10 players are still in the Hoops first-team. With a major overhaul of players coming in and out over the past year, Rangers must now find a settled squad that can keep improving year-upon-year in order to mount an assault on the higher echelons of the Premier League table.
Manager - Mark Hughes: After turning Blackburn from relegation favourites to Europa League candidates, Hughes has the track record to change QPR’s fortunes and push them further up the league table. With a large transfer budget at his disposal, Hughes has spent wisely and signed some talented players that definitely shows the workings of a successful top-flight side.
Key Signing - Park Ji Sung: The signing of experienced midfielder Park from Manchester United signalled QPR’s intent to climb up the league table this season. Park was a fans’ favourite at Old Trafford due to his tireless work-rate and versatility. Now that Joey Barton has been stripped of the captain’s armband, Park Ji Sung must be a contender to take the vacant skipper’s role, especially due to his experience with the Red Devils.
Key Sale - Joey Barton:The imminent departure of Joey Barton either permanently or on loan until January will see QPR fall short in the midfield area. The tenacious Barton has spent the majority of his pre-season preparations at lowly Fleetwood Town. The possibility of the goalscorer gaining a loan move to the newly promoted League 2 side has reportedly broken down in recent days, so speculation on Barton’s short-term future has seen him linked with Championship-outfit Blackpool.
Keep an eye out for… Alejandro Faurlin: The comeback of Argentinian Faurlin will feel like another new signing has graced the Loftus Road turf. Faurlin’s season was cut short last year due to a serious knee ligament injury, the Premier League never really saw the former Athletico Rafaela player’s ability shine. Possessing a sweet left-foot, Faurlin will hope to use this season to become a more complete midfield player on the world’s biggest stage. A hard worker in the centre of midfield, the only thing lacking to Faurlin’s game is goals, with only 5 coming in 101 QPR appearances.