It has been 96 days since the final whistle blew a close to the 2011-12 EPL season – not that we are counting. More importantly, it is less than 1 day till the commencement of the 2012-13 season – the 21st since the establishment of the Premier League. And like the lead up to a massive 21st birthday bash anticipation is high and speculation rife.
Thankfully The Blog FC is here to give you a comprehensive guide to each of the teams competing in this seasons Premier League, covering all the transfer news, strategic analysis and final predictions. Have a read, give us your thoughts and impress your friends with more interesting EPL facts than you can poke a stick at.
Man U |
West Ham |
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 preference.
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. Whilst all are on the wrong side of thirty, Green, Nelson, Park and Johnson each provide cover/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, whilst 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, whenever Manchester United 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 avidness of his countrymen supporting him.
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.