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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Game, Team and Player of the Weekend

The Premier League kicked off this weekend and there is a lot to talk about but as from now after every weekend, I am going to decide on my game, team and player of the weekend. It will be difficult to narrow it down but I will try.

So onto the first thing, team of the weekend. This could go quite a few ways, should I give it to Swansea City under new manager Michael Laudrup, who destroyed QPR away from home 5-0 after being tipped as one of the teams to struggle this year (although it has only been one game and that may still be the case). Maybe, Fulham deserve it as they also won 5-0 against Norwich City, under difficult circumstances with their main man from last season Clint Dempsey not wanting to play. Although impressive, I have decided to go with Everton as they performed wonderfully and beat Manchester United 1-0. Everyone in their team played their part with Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin phenomenal at the back, Steven Pienaar and Marouane Fellaini causing problems from midfield and up front Nikica Jelavic worked his socks off. They may not have scored as many as the others but they certainly created a lot of chances and even hit the bar a couple of times. Defensively they didn’t put a foot wrong and each one of them, Jagielka, Distin, Baines and Hibbert all get at least nine out of 10 from me. It is a great start to the season for them but they must play like this in every game if they want to finish in the top six.

Player of the weekend is another tough one to choose as all of the teams that were in contention for team of the weekend obviously had stand out players. Michu obviously grabbed the headlines for Swansea and rightfully so, I don’t even think in his or his manager’s dreams his debut would have went that well. He grabbed two goals, one with a little assistance from QPR goalkeeper Robert Green and the other a fantastic finish. Mladen Petric also had a debut to remember by also scoring two goals but one of these took a massive deflection, however he has opened his account for the team so that will give him the confidence to push on and get more. He showed nice touches round the edge of the box and looks like he can create goals for others too. Hatem Ben Arfa of Newcastle United deserves a mention because he won the game for his team by winning and scoring a penalty, but he offered a lot more than just that with many mazy runs and great skills which forced the Tottenham players to bring him down. Yet another Premier League debutant is also a contender in Eden Hazard who in the first seven minutes of Chelsea’s game with Wigan Athletic showed why most clubs in Europe wanted him. Hopefully, he will show a lot more of that in the future. But, the winner for me has to be Marouane Fellaini who scored the winner for Everton, as I have already mentioned the whole of the backline got 9’s but this guy got a 10 and was fantastic from start to finish. He won everything in the air against both Michael Carrick and Nemanja Vidic, and was simply unplayable at times and he is definitely looking like he could have his best season yet in an Everton shirt. I prefer him to play in a more attacking role so he can do exactly what he did against Manchester United.

Game of the weekend isn’t quite as tough I don’t think, because 5-0’s are good but I would like a game to be less one sided and as I have said Everton played fantastically but Manchester United definitely weren’t great and couldn’t get out of first gear. So, my game of the weekend is Manchester City versus Southampton. The away side almost came away with a very unlikely win never mind just a point, after going 2-1 up but unfortunately couldn’t hold onto their lead and ended up losing 3-2. Both teams played the game in the right way and kept the ball on the floor and tried to pass through the opposition. When Carlos Tevez was brought down in the box for a penalty, I thought that was it for Southampton but Kelvin Davis managed to save David Siva’s penalty and there was renewed optimism, however, this didn’t last long as Tevez then did put City ahead. Game over? Not quite as sub Rickie Lambert scored with a fantastic finish and all of a sudden the momentum switched, and when fellow sub Steven Davis put them 2-1 up with an equally good finish, there was a feeling of worry growing round the stadium. But, just as he did against QPR on the last day of last season Edin Dzeko managed to get an equaliser, leaving enough time for Samir Nasri to fire home the winner. Good start from both teams but I think Nigel Adkins will be the happier of the two managers.

Which teams, players and games impressed you this weekend? How did your team do, were there any standout players?

Who will Rob Green sign for?

Robert Green looks set to leave West Ham United this summer after they failed to agree a new contract.

Rob Green played over 200 games for both Norwich City and West Ham

The Hammers have moved quickly to sign a new goalkeeper and it seems as though they will sign Jussi Jaaskelainen as their number one next season. Green is currently away with the England squad as back up to Joe Hart which does show that he is still a very good goalkeeper and at the age of 32 has a lot of years left. In his last five seasons he has played over 40 games which also shows he is not very injury prone and will be able to play most games for his new club. The former Norwich City stopper had helped West Ham return to the Premier League with a string of fine saves against Blackpool in the playoff final and this made everyone think that he would stay at the club and sign a new contract but he must have set his sight higher and believe West Ham could be in a relegation battle this season and wanted better.

There have been rumours he could move abroad in particular Malaga but I personally do not think he will because even if he plays well he may get ignored by the England manager as Joe Cole has found this season. However, he could make the move abroad and not really care because he knows it is very unlikely he will add to his 12 England caps if Joe Hart stays fit, or if he does it will only be in friendlies or unimportant games.

So where in England will he end up? This could seriously backfire on him though as a lot of the Premier League teams already have their number ones set and if he joins a team that has just been promoted to the Premier League then you have to wonder why he left West Ham. I could see Reading being interested in him as Adam Federici is very good in the Championship but he has very limited experience in the Premier League so he would give them that but I don’t see it happening and I think Brian McDermott will keep Federici as his number one.

Firstly, I believe he would be a very good signing for Sunderland as they have at times look a little shaky at the back and a more experienced keeper could help them in that department. Simon Mignolet is a very good goalkeeper but he is only 23 and does make the odd mistake and also with Craig Gordon looking like he is going to leave they at least need two goalkeepers battling for the shirt.

QPR could also be interested in Green’s services as yet again they have had problems in that position and Paddy Kenny hasn’t quite lived up to expectations in the Premier League and if Mark Hughes wants a replacement for him then Green should be his first option. Plus, wages shouldn’t be a problem and they can offer him a good enough wage to join the club.

The options for Green are now limited which is why it is so surprising to me that he has left West Ham and personally I think they will have an ok season next year and not even be near a relegation battle. This could be his last chance on playing in the Premier League so the keeper that started the 2010 World Cup needs to make sure he chooses the right team.

Stuart Pearce’s first England squad

So Stuart Pearce has selected his first and possibly only England squad and the main surprises are the inclusion of Frazier Campbell and Tom Cleverley.

He knows both these players well from their time in the under 21s and will obviously feel they have the potential to step up and make a big impact on the international stage. However, both these players are just coming back from injury and although they have performed quite well, particularly, Campbell it does show a lack of experience and quality from Pearce. Surely they won’t be 100% at the minute so what is the point of taking them just to sit on the bench or not even be included in the squad. Pearce did comment saying that Campbell was a very good squad player and was a big character in the dressing room when he was in the under 21 squad. If the caretaker England manager believes that he will have the same effect in the full squad then he is sadly mistaken because no offence to the Sunderland striker but there are better players than him in the squad and I cannot imagine high profile players will have much time for him if he tries to take control of the group. The experienced players like Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney will take control and tell him what is expected and he will have to listen to them whereas in the under 21s there will not be as many big characters so he could control the group.

So maybe he has got a few selections wrong but at least he has brought Micah Richards back into the squad as he has been the best right back in the league and should have been our right back for years. I don’t think we have looked solid in that position since Gary Neville retired and Richards should have filled his boots but Capello obviously didn’t fancy him and preferred playing Glen Johnson who looks good going forward but is a very average defender. In the midfield he has basically done what all England managers have done and selected who he is expected to with him leaving out exciting players like Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and leaving the inconsistent Theo Walcott in his side. However, he has dropped Frank Lampard which to most England fans should be a fantastic thing because he has never really performed when it mattered and has been terrible at big tournaments. Add this to the fact that when he plays Steven Gerrard also underperforms, you have to wonder why he hasn’t been dropped sooner, maybe Andre Villas Boas has done England a favour by leaving him out of the Chelsea side.

In attack he has probably chose the right options with Rooney, Bent, Sturridge and Welbeck as they are the most in form and should probably be the four that go to the Euros. It will be interesting to see if he plays two up front because he will have to consider what he will do in the first two games of the Euros when Rooney is suspended.

The most worrying part about the England squad is the goalkeepers, if Joe Hart gets injured, England are struggling, Robert Green and Scott Carson are good enough for the bench but in a big tournament I would not trust them. All in all Pearce has not done what we expected, I was hoping he would bring in a lot of youth but no he has stuck with the players that have failed over and over again.

Finally Capello does something good for England

The news that Fabio Capello has left England is probably one of the best bits of news England fans have had for years especially after the disaster of the last World Cup. He decided to stand by John Terry and what an awful decision that was, I don’t think he realised the seriousness of the situation. How many chances was he going to give Terry, he has had the captaincy taken off him once so surely he should never have given him it back.

But let’s not focus on the reason why he left but what he did while he was in charge. When he first took charge there was an air of optimism among the supporters as he came with a very good reputation and had won a lot of trophies as a club manager. However, on the other side of this most would have preferred an English manager and Capello didn’t help the situation by not even learning the language properly, once claiming that he only needed 100 words of English to tell his players what to do which surely shows that he did not even put his all into the job. When you get a big job in a new country the first thing you have to do is learn the language and connect with the fans.

He made a strange start to his managerial career at England by deciding to choose a different captain in his first few games. Why do this? Surely it would have been better and more decisive to name a captain and stick to it but no Capello wasn’t decisive so why did he do it? Was it to show that he was the boss and nobody can cross him, well it didn’t work and his players got away with a lot during his time and he at times didn’t know what to do at all.

In his first qualifying campaign, it was quite impressive by England winning all their games apart from a defeat away to Ukraine, including a 4-1 win away to Croatia with Theo Walcott scoring a hatrick. But this is when it all started going wrong when England played a pre World Cup game against Japan and only won because of two own goals which was an embarrassment because of how bad they played. Then we all know things got worse with a 1-1 draw against the United States after a mistake from Robert Green who Capello had chosen as number one for the tournament. I think he made another mistake here because he should have kept faith with Green or played David James in all the games, it just showed that he knew he made a mistake but then blamed the ball for the error saying it was impossible to control. A 0-0 draw against Algeria is one of the worst results in England’s history. The Germany game was a disgrace, yes Frank Lampard’s ‘goal’ should have been given but England deserved to go out and the 4-4-2 formation was not working yet, Capello didn’t change and playing Steven Gerrard on the left wing angered everyone.

He should have gone after the tournament but he stayed and in fairness to him, England have qualified for Euro 2012 although the group wasn’t the hardest. And he also led England to a 1-0 win over Spain but it was very lucky and England didn’t deserve the win.

So, Capello was getting paid £6 million a year and he has basically left us in the same position as when he was appointed, so he could be seen as the worst England manager in recent years. At least Steve McClaren was a cheap option. He had a win record of 66.67% but this isn’t saying a lot as in qualifying England played some terrible teams and not even fully professional teams so therefore it isn’t a fair reflection.

Let’s just get Harry Redknapp in and forget about these last few years. And let’s hope that John Terry does not get on that plane to the Euros.