Mark Hughes and the Queens Park Rangers conundrum

The transfer window was slammed shut late Friday night which concluded in Queens Park Rangers signing a dozen new players since it had opened on June 1st.

In the last two weeks of the window, the R’s were linked with moves for Tottenham defender Michael Dawson and Real Madrid veteran Ricardo Carvalho but neither deal materialised.

The signings made before the season started certainly made the Rangers team look impressive on paper in most positions with South Korean international Ji-Sung Park from Manchester United being the most impressive.

However, there were still concerns in the centre of defence among fans which was then highlighted extensively following the 5-0 opening day defeat to Swansea City.

Ryan Nelsen was the only addition to that part of the pitch and although the Kiwi brings experience, his best days were left behind at Ewood Park when Hughes was his manager years ago at Blackburn.

Since that Swansea game, the R’s have made 5 signings; Jose Bosingwa came in on a free transfer to fill the void at Right-Back left by an ostracised Luke Young. Midfielder Esteban Granero signed from Real Madrid, young defender Sam Magri from Portsmouth and the late deal of Stephane Mbia from Marseillie (which saw Joey Barton go the other way on loan, hooray).

The surprise of them all was the capture of Brazilian keeper Julio Cesar from Inter Milan. Manager Mark Hughes said he always wanted to sign two goalkeepers for the season, and that ‘you can’t turn down the chance to sign a quality player if it arises’.

He’s also said he would not stand in the way of Rob Green, leaving the club if he wanted to come January. Of course Green, who only signed in the summer on a free transfer, took the blame for one of the goals conceded in that 5-0 thrashing.

At Norwich, he was lucky to get away with a handball outside of his area but kept a clean sheet in goal during the League Cup win over Walsall.

There’s logic in having two decent goalkeepers competing for the number one jersey. I think that’s what Hughes wanted with Green and Paddy Kenny, only for Kenny to choose to drop a division for regular first-team football.

I was surprised that neither the Dawson or Carvalho deal was concluded but Hughes has to work with what he has got, until January at least but what exactly is his game plan, what is his football philosophy and what identity does he have for this Queens Park Rangers team this season?

The first game of the season saw the R’s line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Green in goal behind a back four of Onuoha, Ferdinand, Hill and Fabio. Followed by, Park and Diakite in the middle with Mackie and Hoilett on the wings, Taarabt in the hole and Cisse up front.

It is a similar system to what Neil Warnock had used in our Championship winning season in 2010/2011 and it is the best system to get the most out of Adel Taarabt.

The Morrocan has since been dropped for the following League games away to Norwich City (1-1) and the 3-1 defeat at champions Manchester City at the weekend.

Hughes explained that Adel had been dropped to the bench for tactical reasons at Norwich whilst at City he wasn’t even named among the subs.

For both away games we played 4-4-2 which is always a safe tactic used by managers who either do not know any better or are trying to get the best out of a bad situation. I believe Hughes opted for this formation for fear of defeat.

We all know Adel Taarabt has immense quality and a tactic that allows him to do what he does best is necessary but it’s not going to be used every game, and sometimes Adel will find himself left out of the team when we need to change our shape.

Here is what I’m calling the Adel Taarabt formation as it is a system to use him. The team in our home kit is our 1st team whilst the team in our classic away colours are the changed XI. It’s pretty clear over the 3 following formations that we have a bigger strength in depth this season. Also, I have listed M’bia as a Central Defender although I am aware he can also play in the Midfield.

Alternatively it’s the 4-4-2 that Hughes has mostly used during his career. Whilst it may not be the tactic for Adel, it is certainly the best tactic for our strikers Andy Johnson and Djibril Cisse who can both feed off Bobby Zamora. It also has two banks of four behind them which is ‘supposed’ to be hard to break down, although Norwich and Man City both exploited us too easily.

A plan C would be a 4-3-3 that would play into the hands of our midfield talent and wingers. With ball playing midfielders like Granero and Faurlin, along with a Diakite or Derry destroying the play of the opposition behind them, I can see this being a great formation. However, I do worry about only having Bobby Zamora as our only lone striking option, although on the wings either side of him you can pick and choose from Hoilett, SWP, Mackie, Cisse and Johnson.

I believe Hughes wants this team to become more controlling and dominating in games, especially with the signing of Granero who like Faurlin, seems to be good at controlling the midfield and dictating the pace of the game with his range of passing.

However, Hughes has got a terrible away record since joining as manager in January and I think he sets his teams up too negative away from home, especially in the 1st half.

Our next 6 Away fixtures are Spurs, West Brom, Arsenal, Stoke Manchester United and Sunderland, I can only see us winning two of those, one of which is not West Brom, but Tottenham with their dodgy new manager and Stoke City, although all we be equally tough.

It’s hard to judge Hughes’ playing style from the first 3 games but I hope it’s not going to be a negative and rigid approach that tries not to lose rather than trying a fluid and attacking approach that score more than the opposition.

I do like Hughes as a manager, he’s got a good track record at other clubs, he’s been successful with buying players in the past and getting the best out of them, so I hope it can come true at Rangers. I know we may need patience as this new squad blends in with their new team-mates.

Fellow R’s fans say that this International break will be good for the players to get to know each other more on the training ground, I hope they are right and I hope it is drilled into them, how big of a game the visit of Chelsea is in 2 weeks time.

COYR’s

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Fifty Shades of Joey Barton

 

When Joey Barton signed for Queens Park Rangers one year ago it was met with scrutiny from fans of all clubs. The Arsenal fans I know told me how much they despise him and wanted me to share in their hatred. The Newcastle fans I know were sad to see him leave, whilst fellow R’s fans were mixed with feelings of hostility and hopefulness.

I was delighted with the signing, especially after the player just had two good seasons with Newcastle United in the Championship and the Premier League. In the past, I’d detested him via the incidents involving the wrong side of the law, however he had began doing his talking on the pitch with some solid performances in the midfield.

This is what made me optimistic that Barton would be a good signing for Rangers as they looked to consolidate in the English Premier League.

But then there is Twitter, the place where Joey Barton had grown a large following and publicity through his regular updates.

Professional footballers on twitter has been refreshing because it put fans back in touch with their lives that had previously been sheltered off in a celebrity and rich lifestyle.

It’s especially nice when Footballers are tweeting honest opinions and I suppose Joey Barton was an advocate of this. However, with Barton it grew to a point that needed filtering.

Barton only made a handful of decent performances for QPR last season, the rest were poor and sometimes abysmal. Fans took to Twitter to let him know, he took the bait and barked back, often tweeting about his love and loss of Newcastle and playing for them.

Its clear Barton did not want to leave Newcastle, but they had a policy in place and did not want to sign players over 28 on large contracts which saw Barton and others, like Kevin Nolan shipped out.

In hindsight, it is probably no wonder that Barton’s time at Loftus Road did not go well. If a player does not really want to play for the club then it must have an effect on performances and form.

To be fair, he did try but sometimes when you force yourself to do something you don’t get a good result. His season form was summed up with his sending off in the last game at Manchester City, a former club.

His antics caused all his haters to say “I told you so” to anyone that believed he had turned over a new leaf and would let football do the talking.

Looking back on the incident, he was unfair at the start of it all to be punished. As replays show it was Carlos Tevez who lashed out with an arm as Barton had tracked his run. The Argentinean then conned Barton with receiving an elbow and the ref showed red.

It wasn’t the first time Barton had been conned into being sent off, earlier in the season at home to Norwich it was the same result, except this time Joey did not react by attacking the opposition.

I do believe he was trying to get other City players to retaliate but it does not make it right. That’s the exact opionion I had when reading through articles on his own website, that he had set up during the summer.

Some of his articles are quite insightful, however reading the ones on the incidents with former City teammates Ousmane Dabo and Jamie Tandy is a step too far in terms of honesty.

There are always two sides to a story and I accept that Barton has a right to give his side, however his side appears to lack sincerity and regret in his actions.

The same thing can be said for his retort on his sending off against City. Yes, he did apologise for these incidents but there’s a difference in saying sorry and being sorry.

Even after the City incident, I was prepared to give him another chance with Rangers whilst many fans called for him to be sacked immediately. The player had been conned into getting sent off, reacted in an unacceptable manner and deserves his 12-match ban. However, with his given history and trouble with anger, it was almost expected that a personality like Barton’s would react that way, given the high tensions of that particular game.

Twitter has massaged the ego of Barton for the worse, rather than for better. The best and mature way to answer his critics but more importantly his own demons is to be reserved and let positive actions do the talking.

His use of the social media site and his website over the summer had left me sighing. In the last week, his comments on Twitter have broke any chances or hope I had in wanting him to come back and do well at QPR.

In pre-season he was sent to Fleetwood Town to train whilst the senior squad went on a tour of Asia and Germany. At first his thoughts on Twitter were humble, he had accepted the ban and  was determined to come back and fight for his place in the first team.

But this past week has seen Barton show his true colours. The colours that lie underneath the surface of the Socialist-Nietszche-quoting-Smiths fan show immaturity.

A long read of his tweeter feed reveals how volatile his personality is, sometimes he can be philosophical other times he can be aggressive or other emotions are that are running his mind at that point.

Before the Swansea game on the 18th he had tweeted:

“1 down, 11 to go after today. Absolutely gutted to be missing out today. Good luck to all the QPR boys. Big season ahead #urssss

It was nice to show he still cared but all of that was turned on its head when he tweeted in the evening after the 5-0 defeat to Swansea:

 “F*cling hell where’s Greens hands… Not like Mackie to miss them he’s usual brilliant in that position”

There’s a difference to a fan tweeting this than a player tweeting it to millions of followers. If Barton had said that in his private fair enough, but to be public with them lacks humility.

On Sunday Barton was in need of that filter once again with this passage of comments on his Twitter profile:

“Marseille won again as well. Allez les Marseillais. Maybe I’ll see you all this week?

hopefully that things will be sorted out soon. Other clubs are in but I only want to play in Marseille. This is the place for me…

Hopefully, QPR and Marseille can finalise the deal in the next few days. My heart is already in the Vélodrome…

Not gonna cry about it. Maybe it’s just time to move on. I enjoyed parts of last season and believe I am more than capable of playing this

..year. But the manager doesn’t. Such is life. I have no problem with this as its my fault I am banned for 12(10 now) games. When a person

…a decision he has to stand by that. I respect Hughes for this. I don’t agree but accept his decision. I am not the type of player to

…sit on the sidelines and take the cash. It’s not me. I could do that for the next 3 years but it’s not me. I want to play football.

Hopefully, the QPR fans will accept that. I offered to resign from the club/contract when I got my ban. @tonyfernandes @Amit_Bhatia99 will

…testify that I am telling the truth. I accepted my punishment from the FA and the club for my behaviour against Man City like a man.

I could of appealed as is my right. I choose not to out of respect. But when I returned to the club. I am forced to train away from the 1st

team. I am stripped of the captaincy. Then, made to train at 3pm Then, I am hawked around on loan.

Then, I have my shirt number taken without any notice. Then, I read I wouldn’t of been signed had the current regime been in place.

I accepted all this. I never once spoke out of turn or angrily towards anybody. I am a man. I can only take so much. I want to leave.

I hope to move on with my career, with my life. If that is in France, so be it. I don’t want to be disrespectful to QPR but enough is enough”

The next day he tweeted that he had been sent to train with the youth team and the rest of the “Taliban” at QPR. In another tweet he tagged R’s owner Tony Fernandes that his match ban is now 9 games.

Publicly tweeting the owners made me realise that despite the Man he’s tried to become and what he thinks he has become, he is not. Having an opinion and being public is one thing, but there’s just some things you just don’t do.

Today Barton flew to Marseille to discuss talks with a move before the transfer window shuts and I only have one opinion on that myself, it’s one that has only developed recently but one the majority of QPR fans feel and that is GOODBYE AND GOOD RIDDANCE.

 

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The R’s slowly changing fortunes with a Draw & Win

 

That was a big sigh of relief. Not only did we go to Carrow Road and not get anyone sent off, we also came back with a point which is delightful, especially as we really did not deserve it. To make it even better, we even hosted lower league opposition at Loftus Road last night and come away 3-0 winners. Unbelievable Jeff!

The 1-1 draw at Norwich City was extremely fortunate, just like plenty of other supporting club friends pointed out to me. The penalty that Djibril Cisse won against Sebastian Bassong was fortunate only for the Frenchman to miss and Bobby Zamora placing the ball in the back of the net on the rebound.

The replay showed Zamora was well inside the box before the kick was taken, but so were about 7 other players. What was more shocking however was that R’s goalkeeper, Rob Green handled the ball outside of his area after a major lack of communication and confidence with teammate Nedum Onuoha. Nothing was given and Rangers got away with it again.

Green made some good saves in the game and a clean sheet at home last night against Walsall will hopefully build up his confidence. Although if rumours are to be believed, we’re in talks with Brazilian keeper Julio Cesar, who could replace Green in goal come the Man City game.

I don’t think Mark Hughes had much choice to not play a strong side against Walsall last night. Had we won our first two League games, I’m pretty sure we would’ve seen the likes of Hogan Ephraim, Max Ehmer and Michael Doughty get a game.

However, it appears Hughes treated this game to build some confidence in his new look side. There were changes, with Ryan Nelsen, Jose Bosingwa and Andy Johnson all making their home debuts.

With the R’s side so strong, I suppose the Rangers hoodoo with the League Cup was kept at bay. It must’ve been because Shaun Wright-Phillips scored his first goal for the club since signing a year ago.

Bobby Zamora got his 2nd goal in 4 days and Jose Bosingwa got the third goal – without celebrating apparently. I can’t comment until I see the highlights tonight.

I’m disappointed the club didn’t make this game £5 all ticket as I’m sure we would have got at least 15,000 in Loftus Road. Some of you might think what’s the difference between 5 quid and 15 quid? To me it’s a lot and the 15 quid price plus travel put me off attending. If it was 5 quid, I would’ve been there in a shot.

Hopefully we’re able to draw lower league opposition again in the next round of the Cup which can be used to breed confidence in this new team. I know we have the impossible task of going to Manchester City on Saturday and getting anything out of the game, but at least we go there with some hope now.

COME ON YOU R’s

 

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Match Preview: “The 5-0 Derby” Norwich VS QPR

 

Tomorrow sees our beloved Queens Park Rangers travel to Norfolk for the second Premier League fixture of the 2012/2013 season. The R’s will be looking to show character and recovery from the shock 5-0 defeat on the opening day of the season to Swansea, but it wasn’t just Rangers who suffered a humiliating defeat in West London last Saturday.

Norwich City also went down 5-0 away to Fulham, who are still annoyingly good, with or without Clint Dempsey. An away thrashing is more forgivable than one on your own turf, but it’s the Canaries who have home advantage tomorrow afternoon.

It’s a game of contrasts and similarities, both teams suffering heavy defeats but one with a brand new manager Chris Houghton, the successor to Paul Lambert who’d lead Norwich back to the promise land. Houghton has big shoes to fill. On the flip side, Rangers have a host of new players to get used to despite signing 8 players in the summer, only 4 debuted against Swansea, but I expect more to debut tomorrow.

Jose Bosingwa and Ryan Nelsen could be given a start if Mark Hughes decides to change the defence who took the brunt of criticism last weekend. Despite rumours linking the club to new defenders and goalkeepers all week, no new players have officially signed with 1 more week to go before the transfer deadline hits.

Hughes has commented today on the Michael Dawson deal from Spurs, falling through because of ‘personal terms’ after the clubs allegedly agreed on a £7.5 Million fee. I suspect Dawson does not want to take a wage cut coming to Loftus Road and considering the club only made him captain recently, he must be on over 50k a week.

The opposition will have a new signing debuting tomorrow, with Sebastian Bassong signing from Spurs, who was very close to signing for QPR last season.

The R’s have sold two players this week with Matt Connolly and Tommy Smith joining Heidur Helguson at Cardiff City. There’s a superb article over at Loft For Words about Connolly, which I agree and advise you read. Smith was a versatile player and perhaps an unsung hero in our promotion season in 2010/2011 as well as chipping in with a few goals last season, the winner at Everton especially.

Defeat for either teams tomorrow will be a disaster, which makes me think we could be in for a nervy draw, which given our recent visits to Norwich, would be kind. As long as we keep 11 men on the pitch this time, will be an achievement.

If I was in charge of the team talk tomorrow, I’d tell the boys the story of Ray Jones. Tomorrow marks the 5th anniversary of his tragic death back in 2007, and if the squad need any inspiration and encouragement then it would be do it for Ray.

The next 3 League games after this are tough, with Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur away, and the visit of our nemesis Chelsea at Loftus Road.  We need to take a good result into those games, especially as we have our annual Cup defeat to lower league opposition on Tuesday. This year it is the turn of Walsall. Unfortunately due to lack of funds, I won’t be attending.

Seeing as my last prediction was so wrong, I was thinking of going for a 0-0 and play it safe. However, both teams showed they can’t defend last weekend so I’ll be wild and say it will end in a 3-3 thriller, although a solid win for the Super Hoops would be very much welcome.

COME ON YOU R’s

 

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FIVE Things We Learnt – QPR 0-5 Swansea

 

Where is the reset button? If you have it, please set it back to yesterday at 12 noon, back when pre-season signings had made all QPR fans hopelessly drunk on optimism and excitement for the new season ahead.

Maybe we should all eat humble pie; us the fans, the players, the boardroom because no one expected murder on the football pitch at Loftus Road yesterday, especially not this new look Queens Park Rangers side.

Despite finishing 17th last season, 8 new signings in the summer with the fact that manager Mark Hughes finally gets his pre-season to gel the squad together, which he always argued he never had last season after becoming manager in January.

Pre-season brought a lot of buoyancy; players praised the new arrivals and said the squad was looking much stronger. Mark Hughes went on record to say that this season will not be another fight for survival like the last campaign.

Yesterday he was left choking on his words as he watched 4 of his new signings start the game and let down by a defensive performance so bad, I demand that the players are fined a week’s wages that will go towards the Alan McDonald trust. Not only was the performance a disappointment to supporters, it was disrespectful to Macca.

Our defence was always the main cause for concern last season but somehow Hughes got us playing in a rigid and hard to beat set-up that saw us win our last several home games.

Yesterday, the squad went back to a disjointed and uncommitted performance. Defensively we were a total shambles at Augsburg so maybe Hughes and the team should have learnt from that.

Many in the camp said these heavy results will never happen again, like the drubbing at a Fulham, now everyone associated with QPR has egg on their faces and a bitter pill to swallow.

Letting the animosity slide, let’s look at 5 things we learnt from the game yesterday

1)   Defence is the best form of attack

Mark Hughes’ sides as manager are always hard to beat, from Blackburn to City to Fulham. He took awhile to get going last season with the R’s but he made us hard to beat. We needed to approach the game like we did against Arsenal and Spurs last campaign. Yesterday these principles were missing. What the hell have the squad been working on in training?

2)   We can’t just keep throwing money at the problem

The solution on most QPR fans lips yesterday seemed to be Christopher Samba. Whilst I rate the central defender, I don’t think putting him in the squad would’ve made a huge difference. I was surprised Nelsen didn’t start yesterday but maybe MH paid loyalty to Clint Hill’s performances at the back end of last season. Hughes, Bowen or whoever does the defensive coaching has a lot of work to do.

3)   The stats tell a different story

The score line yesterday makes us all embarrassed but perhaps we were even more unlucky than that Bolton game this time last year. Yesterday whilst we only had 38% of possession, we managed 20 shots on goal to Swansea’s 12, with 11 on target for us and only 8 for them.  The fact we managed shots on goal is the only minor positive.

4)   Blessing in Disguise

If we’d won 5-0 yesterday, most of us would’ve expected it and our optimism would have been rewarded. However, this defeat was always going to be in this squad, now it has happened with 37 games to go means that there’s more time to improve on it and learn. I expect the game at Norwich next week will be like a relegation scrap already. Both sets of fans will be demanding 110% after 5-0 drubbings.

5)   Paddy Kenny isn’t to blame and Nedum Onuoha apologises

Yesterday from R’s keeper Paddy Kenny twisted the knife in the wound with his tweeting. He defended it as friendly banter but plenty of QPR fans took exception and sent abuse. But Kenny isn’t to blame, don’t project your anger at the team’s performance on others.

Nedum Onouha took to Twitter to apologise to fans and was critical of his own performance, which I accept. I just wish other players did the same.

Conclusions…

The club probably regret the open training day this coming Monday, where fans can go to Loftus Road and watch the team do, whatever they do in training, not defending obviously. I’m surprised if it’s still going to be open, given the amount of angry Rangers fans that it could attract. Even I want to go down and give some players a kick up the back side and I’m usually mild-mannered.

Yesterday’s result was a big fat reality check, but football is back and a win next week at Norwich will make us forget quicker. Keep the faith, keep believing.

COME ON YOU R’S

 

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Match Preview: QUEENS PARK RANGERS VS SWANSEA CITY

So it’s that time of year again, we’re only 24 hours away from the first game of the 2012/2013 season as we play host to Swansea at Loftus Road. This time last year we had Bolton Wanderers come visit us and run away 4-0 winners but I can’t see more than two of the 11 players that started that game for the R’s, starting on Saturday afternoon.

News has broke this morning that Mark Hughes could name signing number 8 of the Summer Transfer Window with rumours linking Jose Bosingwa from Chelsea.

It’s a welcome signing as I felt we were lacking depth in the right-back area. The Portuguese international has got his critics after some poor performances for Chelsea, but I’d still take him. He may have lost his ability to perform at the top but I think he’s another player with quality and experience to add to the squad.

The Club announced the official squad numbers yesterday, with Ryan Nelsen taking over Joey Barton’s 17 shirt, Rob Green predictably takes Number 1 with Park and Johnson taking 7 and 8. Interestingly number 13 and 14 are both vacant which could mean two more signings to come in before the window shuts?

Everyone will be anticipating the R’s starting XI for tomorrow, who has impressed Hughes enough in pre-season and training this week to get the nod? It’s hard to say with a great strength in-depth that our squad desperately lacked last season.

How will the new players blend in with the rest of the squad, who haven’t been here that long themselves excluding the likes of Hill, Derry and Mackie.

I feel the most likely line-up for tomorrow will be the following:

Subs: Cerny, Hill, Traore, Derry, Mackie, Johnson, Hoilett

I feel we will line-up in a 4-2-3-1 come 4-3-3 formation, that will be very rigid in defence but expressive in attack. Predicting a Captain is difficult because there’s so many candidates, so I don’t actually care who’s wearing the armband come tomorrow, knowing there’s more than one leader on the pitch is most satisfying.

Diakite and Park will both hold in the middle of the pitch with SWP or Taarabt in front of them pulling the strings, with Cisse out wide and Zamora as the target man up front.

Despite the Swans losing manager Brendan Rodgers and midfielder Joe Allen, they’ve appointed a manager in Michael Laudrup who’ll continue the ‘total football’ emphasis.

Maybe Hughes might put Derry in the midfield with Park and Diakite in place of SWP, so we can stop the Swans in their passing game.

Going forward, Djibril Cisse looks on form in pre-season and feel he’s going to score tomorrow, maybe even grabbing a brace.

Of course, Taarabt likes playing Swansea at Loftus Road and feel he’ll be on the score sheet too.

My prediction will be a 3-1 victory to the R’s. The Swans won’t be beaten as easily as they were last season but I feel with home advantage we will be too strong and come out winners.

COYR’s 

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The question every Queens Park Rangers fan has been asking…

 

In under two weeks, the R’s will take to the Loftus Road field to play Swansea City in the first Premier League game of the 2012/2013 Season. It’s almost hard to believe when I think back to last season, the despair of being hammered by Foolham at the Cottage, the poor run of form that saw Neil Warnock sacked and the slow, slow turn around under new boss Mark Hughes.

A point is all that matters in the end but since that crazy last game of the season at Manchester City, we’ve been distracted. If it wasn’t the European Championships then it was the Olympic fever, however even the biggest sporting event in the World cannot divert the attention of a QPR fan away from the start of the new season.

Especially when we’ve made 7 new quality signings over the summer: Ryan Nelsen, Andy Johnson, Rob Green, Fabio, Samba Diakite, Ji Sung Park, Junior Hoilett.

The R’s drew 1-1 in Germany against Turkish side Trabzonspor where Shaun Wright-Phillips got on the score sheet again. The R’s boss MH says that the players confidence is back again and he’s a different player from last season, and hopefully so.

But even if SWP is back to the form in which we had signed him for, where will he fit in this side and it’s not just SWP, what about the seven new signings I mentioned above? Let’s not forget the likes of Bobby Zamora and Djibril Cisse who came in last January, as well as the old guard of Jamie Mackie, Clint Hill and Shaun Derry.

How will our new strength in depth squad fit into the 25-man-squad rule of the Premier League?

  1. Rob Green
  2. Radek Cerny
  3. Brian Murphy
  4. Anton Ferdinand
  5. Matt Connolly
  6. Clint Hill
  7. Ryan Nelsen
  8. Fabio Da Silva (Loan)
  9. Nedum Onuoha
  10. Armand Traore
  11. Samba Diakite
  12. Shaun Derry
  13. Alejandro Faurlin
  14. Ji Sung Park
  15. Adel Taarabt
  16. Shaun Wright-Phillips
  17. Jamie Mackie
  18. Andrew Johnson
  19. Djibril Cisse
  20. Bobby Zamora
  21. David or is it Junior? Hoilett
  22. Hogan Ephraim
  23. Jay Bothroyd
  24. Joey Barton or Kieron Dyer?
  25. Luke Young or DJ Campbell etc. or A New Signing?

(Players under 21 are not included in the 25 squad rule)

The big question is the last spot in the squad list after the likes of Luke Young, DJ Campbell, Tommy Smith and Rob Hulse are all on the verge of leaving the club.

The club hasn’t ruled out signing more players, with every QPR fan hoping that Chris Samba will join although I think it’ll more likely to happen in the January transfer window.

Plus there’s the Joey Barton debacle. Will he even be included in this 25 squad list? It’s hard to say but the player who’s currently training with Fleetwood Town looks like a punishment by Hughes and the club for the player, but whilst they also want him to get fit.

The press went mad with this story saying that QPR are loaning him out to Fleetwood which would make his 12-match ban end 6 weeks quicker than it would if he was sitting in the QPR reserves.

However there’s been no official confirmation that it is a loan move and at the moment he’s just training. Much like Owen Hargreaves, the Canadian-Englishman who’s had more injury trouble than Darren Anderton is now training with the QPR squad but no news about him becoming a permanent member of the squad.

I feel that Joey Barton could feature for us this season depending on Alejandro Faurlin and his recovery from the bad knee injury he picked up in January. However, if the club is doing well and the midfield stay injury/suspension free Barton could find himself leaving by January.

What will be the likely line-up to play Swansea City on the 18th August?

GK: Rob Green
RB: Nedum Onuoha
CB: Anton Ferdinand
CB: Ryan Nelsen
LB: Fabio
CM: Samba Diakite
CM: Park Ji-Sung
CAM: Adel Taarabt
RW: Djibril Cisse
LW: Jamie Mackie
ST: Bobby Zamora

Subs: Murphy, SWP, Traore, Hoilett , Derry, Johnson, Hill

It’s hard to pick a line-up but I can’t say I remember the last time it became hard to pick a QPR starting 11. I wanted to start with Clint Hill at the back after his impressive form in the last half of the season but I can’t see Hughes not playing his buddy Nelsen.

Plus, I can’t imagine Mackie starting the game either and think SWP will get the nod, only to be replaced by Mackie in the 2nd half. The thought of Park and Diakite giving us energy in the middle of the field is exciting and add the creativity and flair of Taarabt, this could be a great team.

It remains to be seen how quickly the squad have gelled together and we remember the opening game last season, a 4-0 defeat to Bolton. I can’t imagine the Swansea game being anything like that and I think with the roar of the Loftus Road crowd, we’ll storm the Swans.

COME ON YOU R’S! 

 

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