EPL preview – Queens Park Rangers
With the Premier League a little over three weeks away, The Blog FC brings you a comprehensive guide of what to expect for your team come the 2012/2013 season. We head first to Loftus Road…
Queens Park Rangers
2011/2012 Result: 17th
Manager: Mark Hughes
Ins: Ji-Sung Park (ManU), Fabio (ManU – Loan), Samba Diakite (AS Nancy), Andy Johnson (Fulham), Robert Green (West Ham), Ryan Nelson (Tottenham)
Outs: Fitz Hall (Watford), Paddy Kenny (Leeds), Rowan Vine (Released), Akos Buzsaky (Released), Danny Shittu (Released), Lee Cook (Released), Peter Ramage (Released), Elvijs Putnins (Released), Danny Gabbidon (Released), Bruno Perone (Tombense – Loan Finished), Taye Taiwo (AC Milan – Loan Finished)
Having only taken the reins in January, this transfer window has given Mark Hughes his first real opportunity to mould the QPR squad to his own preferences.
Already there is a clear strategy in his recruitment – the outgoings are mostly bit-part players or those who had made the step up from the Championship in the previous season. Hughes has replaced these players with ones with a wealth of EPL experience.
While all are on the wrong side of thirty, Green, Nelson, Park and Johnson each provide cover or competition for a first team spot in goalkeeper, defence, midfield and attack respectively.
Fabio and Diakite are also shrewd recruitments. Fabio will be looking for some more first team game time to showcase and hone his obvious talents, while Diakite was super impressive on loan last year and was instrumental in helping QPR beat the drop.
QPR will continue to be movers and shakers throughout this transfer period – Junior Hoilett is strongly tipped to be joining them from Blackburn in the coming days, and they seem to be linked with nearly every available mid-level talent the crops up on the rumour mill.
As always, Adel Taarabt will the barometer of QPR’s season. When fit and firing, Taarabt is nigh on unstoppable, but his ego and injuries often get in the way. Having recently signed a new deal, hopefully this season will be one of sustained effort from the precocious Moroccan.
THE ROAD AHEAD
Mark Hughes’ goal this season will be one of consolidation. Bringing in the experience of Green, Nelson, Park and Johnson show that he is looking for stability across the park. Like his Fulham team of 2010-2011, expect a lot of drawn games.
QPR won’t ship as many goals as last season (66) – the defence will be sound. But this will come at the expense of their attack – expect most the Hoop’s goals to come from the individual brilliance of Park, Cisse and Taarabt, and the predatory instincts of Johnson and Zamora.
The Blog FC’s prediction: 14th. Safe in mid-table mediocrity.
- – - – - – - – - – - Green – - – - – - – - – - -
Young – Nelson – Ferdinand – Fabio
- – - – - – Diakite – - – Faurlin – - – - – -
SWP – - – - – - Taarabt – - – - – - Park
- – - – - – - – - – - Cisse – - – - – - – - – - -
During Ji-Sung Park’s seven year stint at Manchester United, whenever games were televised live in his native South Korea, the local telecast placed a caption in the corner of the screen indicating to the casual observer whether Park was on the pitch, on the bench or not in the squad at all – such was the enthusiasm of his countrymen.
Park is perhaps Asia’s best export ever. It will be interesting to see if his switch to QPR helps the London-based team raise their profile significantly in Korea and across Asia.