April 25, 2012
With so much attention being paid to other teams results and where it will leave the club, Queens Park Rangers have to focus on the only thing they can control - how they play for the next three matches.
The final stages of the Premier League marathon will be no easy sprint; QPR have to secure enough points to survive against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Stoke at Loftus Road and Manchester City at the Ethiad Stadium. If you told supporters a month ago that their club would dispatch Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham during the run-in after losing to Wolves, Blackburn and Bolton, they'd have called for the jackets that fasten in the back and a comfortably padded room. But here they sit, precariously close to the drop but with a legitimate chance to survive against the odds.
The work is by no means done, but with the form they've displayed of late, this team cannot be counted out.
April 18, 2012
The only way through for QPR now is the hard way. After failing to earn points on the road trip to West Brom and Wigan's upset over Arsenal, the R's remain in the relegation fight. Fellow cellar dwellers Bolton have two games in hand and QPR face three of the top six teams in their remaining four games.
Despite the difficulties and the gloom hanging in the air, this is the time to get behind the squad and push through to another year in the top flight. Tottenham are coming to Loftus Road Saturday, and it will need to be a fortress once again if the Hoops are to stay up. Here's a quick preview of the match this weekend.
April 3, 2012
Queens Park Rangers rallied in the face of adversity this weekend, beating Arsenal with their best performance of the new year to climb out of the relegation zone.
On the strength of a tremendous effort from Adel Taraabt and a resolute team performance, the R's made the most of their home stand to gut out a difficult win in comprehensive fashion. With points at a premium this late in the season, they stepped up marvelously and turned in a thriller to overcome an in-form Gunners squad.
With a trip to Old Trafford up next, they need to keep on believing and playing like the team they can be when firing on all cylinders. The run-in hasn't gotten any easier, but there are enough opportunities left for this QPR side to earn survival to next year if they can repeat the quality they displayed this weekend.
March 30, 2012
Despite a thrilling comeback against Liverpool, Queens Park Rangers slid back into the relegation zone with a disappointing performance at Sunderland last week. With time running out and Arsenal coming to Loftus Road, they'll need to reach deep into the well to avoid another disaster this weekend.
With the deck stacked against them, the question looms - can they survive against such tough odds? Certainly the prognosis is grim, between the stiff opposition from which they must take points in the final run-in, and the combination of poor form and appalling discipline the squad have displayed this season.
The opportunity to escape the danger zone still exists, but QPR desperately need to scratch out some points or they will be playing Championship football next year.
March 19, 2012
As Queens Park Rangers plot their escape from the relegation zone, they would do well to remember their Bonfire Night performance against Manchester City.
The R's nearly shocked the league leaders, fighting to a 3-2 defeat that at the time seemed to signal a promising Premier League campaign. Little has gone right for the Hoops since that fateful night, but it should serve as inspiration for what they can do against any club.
With Liverpool visiting Loftus Road this week, here's a useful history lesson.
March 6, 2012
Queens Park Rangers came within a whisker of three points for the first time in months against Everton, executing a solid game on the strength of a resolute and creative midfield that put the visitors on the back foot for much of the match.
A few unlucky breaks and a groaning whiff in front of net by Akos Buzsaky limited the result to a draw, but the improvements were a welcome relief to the beleaguered supporters who have been waiting for January's big money investments to pay off.
The R's need to build on this performance as they travel to Bolton for a crucial match against the fellow relegation candidates. With the return of Djibril Cisse and Heidar Helguson and the raised level of the midfield, things may finally be looking their way.
February 23, 2012
Queens Park Rangers have their backs against the wall and it's only February. Can they turn things around in time to stave off relegation?
The mood in W12 was buoyed by the flurry of new arrivals in the January transfer window, breathing life into a club that was slipping down the table as the year drew to a close. With a new manager appointed and headline grabbing players acquired, Hoops supporters were flying high with dreams of an instant turn around. But inconsistent play and an inability to hold leads have left the club foundering in recent weeks. From conceding a two goal advantage to Aston Villa, to the last abominable performance at Blackburn, Rangers have looked out of sorts and unprepared. The expected change in preparation and focus that was supposed to flow from the managerial change hasn't materialised, and the squad still struggles to keep its shape or properly mark opponents, let alone put ninety minutes of cohesive football together.
There is talent enough in the team sheet to keep them up, but games aren't won on paper. There is a missing element in the squad - one they had in the Championship run last season - an intangible that doesn't register in statistics or match facts. A less talented QPR team played as one unit a year ago, but now all the new faces can't seem to get together to force a victory. They need to regain that spirit of unity if they hope to avoid making the return to the Premier League a one-and-done affair.
January 17, 2012
The magnitude of the challenge Mark Hughes faces was laid bare this weekend as Queens Park Rangers failed to translate a strong away performance into points, losing 1-0 to Newcastle.
With the transfer window rolling along and the roster in flux, Hughes has his work cut out for him if he hopes to fulfil his ambition to stave off relegation and turn the R's fortunes around this season. But there is reason for hope, as QPR have targeted Sao Paolo striker Henrique to fill the goal-scoring void.
Owner Tony Fernandes and the rest of the management team were keen to underline that the process of strengthening and building at QPR would not be an immediate overhaul, but they are laying the careful brickwork necessary to do more than just escape the drop in 2012. The lofty goals of creating a first class training ground, developing a modern stadium in West London and bringing in young talent to start a new movement are hopeful signs that the club is heading in a brighter direction.
January 12, 2012
Mark Hughes has his work cut out for him if he hopes to keep QPR in the Premier League next season.
His surprise arrival this week has put players on notice that change has come and the overhaul of the lineup is already underway. Reports of Tony Fernandes and Amit Bhatia handing him large pound sign marked satchels have sent the columnists scribbling, and the club has been linked with a dozen new names in the past twenty four hours.
"Sparky" has the backing of the ownership and some money to spend. With the transfer window clock ticking, there are some crucial holes to plug:
January 10, 2012
Manager Neil Warnock carved his name into Queens Park Rangers history with a thrilling Championship campaign last year, but his tenure is over after a difficult run in the Premier League left the club dangerously close to relegation.
New owner Tony Fernandes will now put his own choice in charge, bringing in former Blackburn, Manchester City and Fulham boss Mark Hughes. QPR's survival in the league is very questionable at this stage, but this change signifies the owner's willingness to make the hard choices necessary to succeed.
No matter what happens with the remainder of the season, Warnock earned a fond place in the memories of the club's faithful, as the man who took them from the threat of relegation to League One back up to the Premier League for the first time in fifteen years. He deserved more resources and more time, but managing is a cruel mistress. Now his replacement faces a huge challenge in continuing the team's success and maintaining their place in the top flight.
January 3, 2012
The Football Association rejected Queens Park Rangers appeal of the red card handed down to Joey Barton against Norwich City, choosing rigid defence of their referee over a fair evaluation of the facts at hand.
The spectacle that unfolded at Loftus Road Monday was an demonstration of the worst kind of refereeing imaginable - a combustible mix of wanton fouls ignored, slight touches chastised and an unseen event that was heavily lobbied to get a player sent off. There is a human element to officiating that has and will always be part of the game, but the after-action review by the FA and its decision to uphold a phantom foul is a poor reflection on the body's ability to objectively judge contentious events in the game.
January 1, 2012
2011 couldn't end soon enough for Queens Park Rangers as they dropped a tight contest at Arsenal, falling 1-0 as Robin Van Persie scored his league-leading 17th goal of the season.
Stronger play from the midfield and some creative moments gave QPR real chances against the Gunners, but it was not enough to overcome Arsenal's relentless attack, and the R's suspect defence once again threatened to turn a close match into a cringe worthy hiding. Misfires by RVP and two Theo Walcott blunders saved the Hoops greater damage to their horrific goal differential, but they now sit just two points above the drop as they enter the make-or-break period of their schedule.
The next two months will decide their fate in the Premier League, and with the transfer window open, the club's New Year's resolutions are clear: find someone who can score, and stop the other side from doing it so easily.
November 15, 2011
Given Stoke City's poor run over the past few weeks, it would be easy to view this weekend's match as a ripe opportunity for QPR to nab three points, but this clash represents another tough test for the Hoops. The question is - are they up to the task?
After a strong start to the season, Tony Pulis' team have suffered a string of defeats against Arsenal, Liverpool (Carling Cup), Newcastle, and most notably a 5-0 drubbing against Bolton two weeks ago. That last collapse against a lesser club put an exclamation point on a rough two weeks that saw the Potters outscored 14-5 on aggregate, with the lone bright spot being victories over Maccabi Tel-Aviv in the Europa League to put them through to the next stage.
Despite their recent struggles, Stoke remain a dangerous team at home, and coming off the international break, QPR are visiting at a moment when they're rested and looking to regroup in the Premier League. Expect a spirited fixture on Saturday.
October 22, 2011
Ah the majesty of an intra-city rivalry; one club with a proud tradition that's gone through relegation and had to claw its way back to the top flight, the other a perennial European presence and league champion contender; the local legends versus the noisy upstarts down the road.
We must be talking about the most interesting Derby of the week - QPR vs Chelsea!
Queens Park Rangers face their toughest challenge yet since winning promotion to the Premier League, and have to perform better in their second London Derby than the dreadful result against Fulham. Their recent run of matches have been a bit disconcerting for the faithful, and it will take a monumental performance to take anything positive from the match. But they do hold one advantage this week - playing in front of the Loftus Road crowd. Is there any group of supporters as riled up and ready to give voice to their team than the Ranger's boys this week? Expect a loud day as R's fans cheer on the Super Hoops to trump their neighbors.
October 13, 2011
Queens Park Rangers need a win to shake off their Fulham hangover, and Blackburn present the perfect opportunity to do that on Saturday. Following the punishing loss at Fulham, the R's return to Loftus Road seeking their first home win of the season against a struggling Rovers side that has only won once this season.
Some fans laughed off suggestions this week that this is a "must-win" game so early in the season, noting that this year's goal is purely survival and the club has plenty of time to secure the necessary points. Looking down the barrel of Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Stoke on the horizon, I beg to differ.
Given the thrashing taken at Craven Cottage, I would wager that the season hinges on how this game plays out. A win will restore the pride and ambition that the team had a fortnight ago. A loss, particularly with a continuation of the poor form shown in the last match, and tough results may continue for weeks, putting QPR in a hole that may be too deep to claw their way out of.
September 29, 2011
The first of QPR's West London Derbies is set for Sunday, and the squad have been in good nick the past few games. So what's to worry about, against the cellar dwellers from Craven Cottage? Plenty.
At first blush this fixture seems like a good opportunity for QPR to put three points on the table, but Fulham may be the best club they've faced all year, albeit of their current place on the cusp of the bottom three. Regardless of what they've done so far, Fulham are a dangerous club with a new manager and have started to turn things around after a sluggish start. This weekend's fixture will be the opening in a series of tough tests for the Super Hoops.
Here are three reasons to be concerned about the upcoming match:
September 23, 2011
Coming off two strong performances, the question facing QPR now is - are they for real?
Following a strong showing at home against Newcastle and a dominant performance at Wolverhampton, the fresh faces at the club have improved QPR's form and rallied the fan base. Now they are set to welcome an Aston Villa team that has drawn four times against only one victory in the league this year. Ambitions are running high, but QPR need to avoid the hangover of success, as demonstrated last month when they came off an upset victory at Everton only to flop against a lesser opponent at Wigan.
Given what we've seen so far, QPR are capable of winning this game, if they can maintain their pace and defensive discipline. Aston Villa are a proud club, and despite their struggles, this will be a test of the quality Warnock's men can produce week in and week out. If they continue to play with the urgency and focus that they brought to the pitch against Newcastle and Wolves, three points should come on Sunday. If they're complacent, or thinking about the fixtures against some of the league's best that loom just ahead, this has the danger of becoming a trap game and a missed opportunity.
September 1, 2011
The QPR revolution kept rolling on Deadline Day, headlined by the signing of Shaun Wright-Philips to a four year deal. He leads a band of fresh faces in the door at W12 who will strengthen Neil Warnock's campaign to forge a place in the Premier League this season.
Credit the new leadership for a broad and ambitious transfer strategy. In less than a fortnight owner Tony Fernandes and Board members Amit Bhatia and Philip Beard launched bids on very good players across the country, and their wide net hauled in quite a bit of talent for what seems a reasonable bit of spending. They remade every area of the team with the exception of keeper, adding quality players with loads of Premier League experience.
Unfortunately this renaissance comes at a cost - namely the lads who brought the club up in the first place. While fans are delighted to see the likes of Joey Barton and Shaun Wright-Philips in blue and white Hoops, it must be acknowledged that the Championship side that led us back to the top flight are being pushed to the periphery. It is unpleasant work and supporters owe them for getting the club this far. But this is an unforgiving business to footballers, and if the Super Hoops were to continue their success, improvements were necessary.
August 26, 2011
Queens Park Rangers needed a special signing at this moment in the club's history. Not just a bit-part player, not just another fill-in to add depth to the squad. They needed a physical and emotional leader to draw the attention of opponents. They needed an instigator. Into that void steps Joseph Anthony Barton.
Neil Warnock often talked up the Bosmans he brought in this summer, under the Eccelstone Austerity Program, as men "with something to prove." Can anyone say that Barton doesn't fit this category as well? The man who once described himself as the "best midfielder in England" has had a difficult summer at St James' park, sparring with his club and ultimately being let go on a free transfer. Is there anyone else you'd rather have playing for you when he's out to prove that cutting him loose was a colossal mistake?
August 17, 2011
Neil Warnock vowed to press on with the campaign following the thrashing handed to his QPR squad on opening day.
QPR's fans may not have expected to see the Barclay's Cup and fireworks at Loftus Road come May, but the disastrous first game was still a shock to the home crowd. While it was only 90 minutes of football, it seemed to mock their heady notions of promotion and survival, growing worse as the moments and Wanderer's goals ticked by.
At his post-game press interview, Warnock was more sanguine than his frustrated supporters. The Hoop's boss told reporters following the match:
"It was disappointing how we capitulated at 2-0 and we are going to have to learn lessons quickly.We defended poorly and got punished, which is what happens in the Premier League. I am not happy we lost 4-0, but sometimes you have to smile through adversity."
His cool, detached demeanor post-game was a bit of a surprise from the usually fiery coach. He seemed to be taking in the monumental task set before him, but not ready to make excuses and whine over missed opportunities. Warnock's steady hand will be a crucial component to the fate of Queens Park Rangers this season.
August 11, 2011
One of the keys to Queens Park Rangers incredible run in 2010-11 was the impressive start to the season the club enjoyed. Through the last week of November, the team had not known defeat, winning eleven times and drawing nine. While success on that level will be impossible to repeat in the Premier League, it is vital that QPR get off to a strong start, given the way the match ups they face unfold.
Four of the first six matches will be against opponents who narrowly avoided the drop last year, and securing early points there will be crucial to establishing some comfort in the table.
Ali Faurlin and QPR have to hit the ground running
August 1, 2011
Queens Park Rangers put on a good display for prospective new owner Tony Fernandes, who was on hand in Italy this weekend to see them win the Bortolotti Trofeo tournament.
More important than winning the brief, three-team weekend tournament, multiple outlets are that Formula One team owner Tony Fernandes was in the stands with current majority shareholder Bernie Eccelstone and his partner, Flavio Briatore.
Hoops manager Neil Warnock told the Daily Mail:
"Myself, Flavio and Tony all had a positive chat after the match on Saturday.
"We've already spoken about possible targets and he is a very positive chap."
July 29, 2011
Multiple sources are reporting tonight that Air Asia tycoon and Formula 1 Team Lotus owner Tony Fernandes is poised to buy a majority share of Queens Park Rangers.
Supporters have been bracing for news of an ownership change since Thursday, when the club's official website and twitter feed carried a story announcing that the club were in discussions with a "new party" regarding an ownership takeover. Majority Shareholder Bernie Eccelstone had previously offered his 62% holding in the team for £100m pounds but an earlier deal, believed to have involved former Vice-Chairman Amit Bhatia and minority Shareholder Lakshmi Mittal, fell through.
Fernandes previously failed in a bid to purchase West Ham in 2010.