QPR in the Championship

QPR finished bottom of the Premier League and this was very unexpected after once again spending a lot of money in the transfer windows.

But, the players they brought in clearly did not care for the club and only joined to make a lot of money very quickly. Not every single one of them was a mercenary but they just had too many problems to be successful and Mark Hughes might be the one to blame but the board and the owners need to take a look at themselves and learn from their mistakes. Harry Redknapp is now the man in charge and to me it looks like he might be looking for the first opportunity to leave the club but if they can convince to him stay for at least one season they may just be able to bounce back at the first attempt. He has a lot of things to sort out over the summer and will need to make a lot of changes as there will be quite a lot of players that do not want to play in the Championship and will most likely go abroad. There are still some positives for the club but they need a quick start next season.

Robert Green in goal could be crucial because it wasn’t long ago that many people wanted him to be England’s number one and is still a good goalkeeper but can be a little error prone from time to time. In front of him is where they have more of a problem because they made a lot of mistakes and were nowhere near consistent enough. It looks as though they may have to rely on Clint Hill once again to try and lead them to promotion but I think they need to keep hold of Nedum Onuoha as he had a lot of potential and he is certainly good enough for the Championship.

A lot of money was spent in the midfield positions and it is looking likely that their best one Adel Taarabt is going to leave so they will lose a lot of creativity. But Jermaine Jenas is someone that I feel will do brilliantly in the Championship and may even add a few goals to his game. I think the most important player though could be Junior Hoilett because he did not show the QPR fans his true potential and owes them something next season.

In attack they may not lose too much because none of them performed that well apart from Loic Remy who will not want to play in the Championship at all. So I do not see many clubs wanting to sign Bobby Zamora or Jay Bothroyd. The one player that I did like was Jamie Mackie but unfortunately he only got two goals and I don’t think any Premier League teams will be willing to take a chance on him. Finally, Andrew Johnson will be hoping to get over his injury problems and score the goals and get the club back into the Premier League.

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Will Ricardo Carvalho and Michael Dawson be the right options for QPR?

QPR manager Mark Hughes is reacting quickly to his side’s 5-0 defeat against Swansea City on the opening day of the season by trying to recruit some new defenders.

I was really surprised that Hughes didn’t try and strengthen the defence to begin with as they already had a decent enough strike force with Bobby Zamora and Djibril Cisse as well as the always unpredictable Adel Taarabt. Just look at the defence that started on the opening day, Fabio, Clint Hill, Anton Ferdinand and Nedum Onuoha with Ryan Nelsen on the bench. Fabio is only young and could improve but he is not the best at defending yet and looks better going forward. Anton Ferdinand has never been more than an average centre back in the Premier League and if he is first choice your team will mostly finish in the bottom half closer to relegation. Onuoha, just simply hasn’t lived up to his potential when he first came through at Manchester City and it could be a long season for him. Finally, Clint Hill, how on earth is he a Premier League? Yes, first season up leave him in there, but now the ambitions have changed and surely someone better should have came in.

QPR have bid for Michael Dawson and he has been a fantastic centre back for Spurs over the years, although he can be a little injury prone. But, he is exactly what the team needs, he isn’t afraid to put his head in where it hurts and just seems to want to block every shot and will throw his body in the way. He has played 242 times for Tottenham and this Premier League experience will be invaluable to QPR and he would play like a leader on the pitch whether he is given the captain’s armband or not. Now that it is known that he is available there may be other offers from clubs but I think realistically he will join QPR if he leaves Spurs because it means he can stay in London and they will surely offer him a very good contract with a high wage.

Dawson has four caps for England

Next, Ricardo Carvalho is reportedly close to joining the club on a season long loan from Real Madrid and even though he is 34, I think he is one of the best centre backs to have ever played in the Premier League. He made John Terry look like a great defender as Carvalho’s positioning got him out of a lot of bad situations and to me it is not coincidence that Terry has looked a shadow of his former self since the departure of Carvalho. He played 210 times for the London club but the only problem is that he only played 13 times for Real Madrid last season so there will be question marks over his fitness and form.

Carvalho has played 75 times for Portugal

These are the sort of signings Mark Hughes should have been making from the beginning but unfortunately it seems like he currently has 11 individuals on the pitch rather than a team and if he doesn’t sort that out soon then a relegation battle will be on his hand yet again.

Who will Sebastien Bassong play for next season?

Sebastien Bassong has had a tough time since joining the Premier League but will he get another chance to show he has enough quality to stay in England?

The central defender is currently at Tottenham Hotspur but it looks as though his time at the club is coming to end after being shipped out on loan to Wolves for the second half of last season. In his three seasons at White Hart Lane he has only played 44 league games and has had to settle for a place on the bench a lot of the time with manager Harry Redknapp preferring others like Ledley King, Michael Dawson, William Gallas and Younes Kaboul. The 25 year old does have time on his hands but he hasn’t quite lived up to the potential he showed at Newcastle United where in his only season there, he was voted their player of the season, however this was in their relegation season and nobody performed that well and it can’t have been such an honour to win the award. In his loan spell at Wolves he also suffered relegation and did not perform that well, although he cannot be blamed for their relegation, he still has to take some of the blame as he did not look good enough for the Premier League.

So will anyone in the Premier League take him on or will he have to go back abroad or into the Championship? I think any of the three promoted teams should have a look at him as they all lack a little bit of experience in that area. West Ham currently have James Tomkins and Winston Reid as their starting pair but after releasing Abdoulaye Faye, they will need some competition and cover. Reading are also suffering from a lack of experience in that area with both Alex Pearce and Kaspars Gorkss hardly kicking a ball in the Premier League so Bassong would at least have a little more knowledge, and personally I think he is slightly better than Gorkss. Southampton have two good centre backs in Jose Fonte and Jos Hooiveld but they do lack cover so they will need to bring in someone so why not Bassong, I cannot imagine Spurs wanting a big transfer fee for him but his wages maybe a stumbling block.

Other teams that are already in the Premier League may also like the look of him because of how well he did at Newcastle and the talent he has shown at times at Spurs. Stoke City may be interested in signing him as he will add a slightly better ball playing defender to their team. With Matthew Upson and Jonathon Woodgate not exactly performing as well as manager Tony Pulis expected he may be in the market for another defender.

Finally, I believe QPR should be looking at him as they struggled terribly at the back at times this season and he is a much better player than Clint Hill and is arguably better than Anton Ferdinand so I believe he would walk into their team.

Who will be relegated from the Premier League?

The battle at the bottom is going to be one of the best ever with five teams all struggling to string together a set of results that will pull them away from the danger zone.

Wigan Athletic, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, QPR and Wolves are the five teams and it will probably go to the last day to decide who is going to play Championship football next season. With only four points separating them, it could even be decided by goal difference. So who is the most likely to stay up.

Let’s start with bottom of the table Wigan. Out of the five teams they are the favourites to go down because they are the smallest club and have always struggled in the Premier League. However, this could work to their advantage as some teams may not take them as seriously as they should. They also have some good players and have been in this situation before and survived, it was only a few seasons ago they stayed up on the last day which shows when it comes down to it they can hold their nerve. They have a good goalkeeper in Ali Al-Habsi and he should be playing for a better team as he has performed brilliantly for the club and it wouldn’t surprise me if he left in the summer even if they did stay up. Wigan play some good football and probably only need a proven goal scorer but these are difficult to find. Hugo Rodallega is a decent player but he will not score enough goals, Victor Moses, another very good player but he will not be a consistent goal scorer.

Blackburn have just beaten Wolves and this shows that when it comes down to it, they are up for the fight. Their manager Steve Kean has been written off multiple times this season but the players seem to be playing for him and are very much behind him. They also have some very good players and what maybe the other teams don’t have is a proven goal scorer. Yakubu has arguably been the signing of the season and if they stay up he should receive a lot of praise. They also have Morten Gamst Pedersen and Junior Hoilett in their midfield and these two can change a game in the blink of an eye, they both have fantastic technique and have also got a few goals in them.

Bolton also secured a massive three points when they beat QPR with a very late goal from Ivan Klasnic. They shouldn’t really be in this position but most teams in the league will struggle when they have their two best players out injured for most of the season. Lee Chung Yong and Stuart Holden give the team so much quality and it would be difficult to replace them especially when they don’t have the biggest budgets. However, they do have Nigel Reo Coker and Mark Davies in their midfield and if Bolton go down then surely these two will still be Premier League players after the summer because they can control a game from the middle of the park.

Wolves are in real danger in my opinion because they have given Terry Connor the responsibility of guiding the club away from the danger zone. I am not slating him but in a situation like this you want a manger with experience. Also, putting in the assistant to me is a bad choice because it is like the old regime is still in the club and maybe something new would have given everyone a lift. Steven Fletcher has had a good season for the club but he has lacked the support, Kevin Doyle works hard but has not scored enough goals, and Sylvain Ebanks Blake is not a Premier League striker at all. The problem with Wolves is that they cannot defend and concede some very sloppy goals, Wayne Hennessey deserves praise this season because he has gained the team points and also kept the score lines down which could prove vital at the end of the season.

QPR have a good team, a good manger and the backing of the board so it seems that everything should be going well at the club but for some reason it hasn’t actually worked out. If QPR do go down there will be a lot of what ifs asked, for example what if Warnock stayed in charge would we have stayed up? The signings they made in January should have kept them up safely with Djibril Cisse and Bobby Zamora coming in to provide some much needed firepower. The defence is still a worry though as Clint Hill is still first choice, and he is not a Premier League defender. In the Bolton game they didn’t have much luck but you don’t get much at the bottom anyway.

I am not sure on who will go down and my opinion will change now on a weekly basis, but looking at QPR’s fixture list they seem to be in a lot of trouble but football is a strange game and anything can happen so it will be enjoyable for all the neutrals but for the fans involved it will be agony.

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.