Hughes looking to improve QPR

A slow start to the transfer window might be starting to pick up the pace with QPR and Mark Hughes finally getting somewhere. They had been in talks with a lot of players and clubs to bring players in but finally they got in Taye Taiwo, a left back from AC Milan who has been linked to Arsenal and Newcastle in this transfer window.

The 26 year old has only played four league games for Milan but he was a very good full back for his previous club Marseille and was rated as one of the best in Europe at one point. QPR fans will be hoping he can rediscover this type of form and can aid them in their quest to stay in the Premier League.

No offence to the current left backs at the club but that is where they are the weakest and obviously Mark Hughes has identified this quickly. In his first two games he played Clint Hill in that position and although he is a very steady player in the Championship he is not good enough for the Premier League and left back isn’t even his best position as I believe he does a better job at centre back. The other left back in the squad is Armand Traore who is 22 and does seem to have some potential which former manager Neil Warnock spotted but against the better side he looks poor when defending and not very effective going forward with wayward passes and awful crosses. Which was shown mostly in his last game for Arsenal when they shipped eight at Old Trafford and then proved once again that he is a liability in one of his first games for QPR when he was branded a disgrace by Warnock for his sending off in the game against Aston Villa.

Hughes obviously wants to improve the defence with QPR being linked to players such as Chris Samba and Wayne Bridge. However, both of these look unlikely as Blackburn are reluctant to let Samba go and if they do Tottenham seem very interested and will probably be a better destination for the centre back. Wayne Bridge is a strange one for me as he doesn’t seem interested to leave Manchester City even though he gets nowhere near the first team, he just seems to want to pick up his wages and sit in the reserves. I hope I am wrong about him because to me he has been the second best England left back for years and if it wasn’t for Ashley Cole, he would have been first choice. I also feel sorry for him because he always joins a club with a lot of money and potential and then gets replaced, at Chelsea with Ashley Cole and now at City firstly with Kolarov and now Clichy. They are also in talks with Nedum Onuoha who may be a good signing as he did look promising for City.

QPR need to focus on improving their strike force though if they have realistic ambitions of staying in the league because Jay Bothroyd, DJ Campbell (although he was impressive for Blackpool last season), Rob Hulse and Federico Macheda they are not going to score a lot of goals. I would have put Heidar Helguson in that list but so far he has done the business somewhat surprisingly but I don’t think he alone will score enough goals to keep them up.

They also need a goal scoring midfielder but they aren’t easy to find so they may just be hoping that when Taarabt comes back from the Africa Cup of Nations he will live up to his potential because I was expecting a lot more from him but he has been unable to step up to the plate.

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The fight for survival

Blackburn showed they have enough team spirit and determination about them to successfully battle against relegation this season.

They have beaten Manchester United at Old Trafford and now without their best centre back Chris Samba who looks like he could be leaving in the transfer window they beat Fulham at home 3-1. Adding to this, their top scorer Yakubu got sent off which must have left the Blackburn fans with the sinking feeling of here we go again. But the team pulled through and beat a Fulham side who had been on a decent run themselves and in their last league game came from behind to beat Arsenal.

It shouldn’t be all doom and gloom at Blackburn, yes the board made a terrible decision in sacking Sam Allardyce and maybe Steve Kean should have been sacked but there is definitely quality in this Rovers side and this includes some good young promising players.

Martin Olsson at left back is only 23 and is a very capable player and I wouldn’t be surprised if he played for a top team in the league because he adds a lot going forward with his pace and also his defending is improving as he is getting more experienced. Grant Hanley, the player that scored the winning goal at Old Trafford reminds me of Phil Jones and he could be set to follow in his footsteps and leave the club for a very good price. Although this isn’t what the fans want, if the club sell some of their young assets they can add experience to the squad which would help the team in their scrap at the bottom.

Players that are experienced players in the squad such as Morten Gamst Pedersen and David Dunn are very good players and could fit into most sides that are in the bottom half of the Premier League. They both scored in the win over Fulham and they could have a big say in whether Blackburn are playing in the Premier League or Championship next season.

Up front they do look lightweight with only Yakubu scoring the goals for them but Ruben Rochina who is only 20 has provided real moments of quality at times this season but probably because he is only young he has been inconsistent however I see a bright future in the game for him. He possesses a rocket of a left foot and looks very good on the ball therefore he will surprise a few defenders this season. They also have David Goodwillie who has not acclimitised to the Premier League yet but if he can reproduce some of his form from his days in the SPL then he may be a good addition to the squad. His goal against Newcastle in the FA cup would have done him the world of good.

The most promising player at the club is Junior Hoilett and the proof of this is that he is linked to some of the best clubs in the Premier League, most noticeably Tottenham. His pace and trickery are his main assets but the reason why Blackburn have to keep him is that he is very unpredictable and is the only player in the squad that can really make the Ewood Park faithful get up of their seats. If Blackburn are to stay up this year, they need to keep hold of their 21 year old winger.

They think it’s all over…. Not yet for Kean

Well I was going to write about a comfortable victory for Manchester United and talk about how impressive it is that they have scored 1500 goals in the Premier League which they did through Dimitar Berbatov but there is an even better story coming out of Old Trafford today.

Blackburn beating United 3-2 and in all honesty probably deserved a result because of their commitment to their manager. Steve Kean deserves a huge round of applause because he has kept his team focused and they all seem to be playing for him which hasn’t been the case at other clubs over the years. One of the most memorable is Craig Bellamy’s public falling out with Graeme Souness while at Newcastle United. But the Blackburn players have stood by their manager when it seems every fan is slamming him.

With a point at Anfield and a win at Old Trafford surely the fans will lay off Kean now because he deserves a break and if he keeps Blackburn in the Premier League it will be a great achievement. The fans are supposed to be the 12th man at every club, but at Ewood Park it seemed like the players lost confidence because of their fans, therefore it’s not surprising that the team are finding solace away from home.

Yakubu looks like a fantastic signing and guess who signed him from Everton? Yes that’s right it was Steve Kean and he has arguably been the signing of the season alongside Demba Ba of Newcastle. It is hard to pick a man of the match for any away team that wins at Old Trafford but for me it is a straight up battle between the striker and the powerful centre back Chris Samba.

How he hasn’t been signed for one of the big clubs I will never know because he is a fantastic defender and also offers a lot in the opposition box, winning the penalty today. If Arsene Wenger has seen this performance he must be tempted to put a bid in for him in the January transfer window.

Steve Kean deserves a medal for what he has had to put up with this season from the Blackburn fans so hopefully this result will get them off his back even if it is only for a short while.

Finally, I would just like to praise the performance of the referee, even though on the whole Mike Dean was pretty poor and gave some interesting decisions, he was a lot stronger than most at Old Trafford. He gave the penalty which was quite blatant but time and time again we have seen those waved away and he could have also called for a foul on the hapless David De Gea for the winner as he came for a corner and got nowhere near it.

So a big well done to Mike Dean but even more so to Steve Kean.