Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Queens Park Rangers Back in the P.L.: QPR Retro Match of the Day

 So what for the Npower Championship winners 2011, Queens Park Rangers?  This time last year, hardly any pundits were tipping the R’s for promotion, highlighting the competitive nature of the football league. The team came out of the traps flying, winning 9 of their first 11 games to claim 1st place, scoring a hatful of goals in the process.  After this point, they were never out of the automatic promotion places. Only for two weeks of the season did they lose top spot.  They finished on a total of 88 points, 8 points above 3rd placed Cardiff City. Matters on the field went just about as well as they could, with highly experienced manager Neil Warnock turning the team into a well oiled machine, packed with attacking flair but equally as strong at the back. The team lost only 6 games all season. Off the field however, problems surrounding the signing of Alejandro Faurlin threatened to blow their season apart.  A points deduction was a real possibility, and only on the final weekend of the season was their promotion confirmed.  The club were fined £875,000 and warned as to their future conduct after being found guilty of two of the seven charges they faced over the transfer. Rangers star man last season was without doubt, Moroccan international Adel Tarrabt.  Tarrabt, 22, who first came to English football as a teenager at Tottenham Hotspur had a simply sensational season.  He was the club’s top scorer in the league with 19 goals, and his all round skill proving a class above in the Championship.  

Other notable signings in the summer of 2010 were vital in helping Rangers secure promotion.  Warnock recruited goalkeeper Paddy Kenny,  Crystal Palace pair Shaun Derry and Clint Hill all of whom were almost ever present throughout the season.  The loan market was also well utilised, as the club brought in highly rated fullback Kyle Walker from Tottenham, and Newcastle winger Wayne Routledge. So what can QPR fans expect in the coming season?  For any club coming into the league, the target for the first season will be simply to survive.  Anything higher than a 17th placed finish should be viewed as a bonus.  QPR would do well to take inspiration from West Bromich Albion, who came up to the premier league a year ago on a limited budget and finished in 11th place. Yesterday, Rangers fans received possibly the best bit of news they will hear all summer as majority shareholders Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore announced categorically that star man Tarrabt will not be sold under any circumstances. ‘We are pleased to confirm that Adel Taarabt will be staying at QPR this summer.  Despite receiving a substantial bid for our Moroccan international, we rebuffed all approaches and indeed, we are keen to build for the future in the Barclays Premier League, and not sell one of our prized assets.” While this is great news for the club, it’s clear that new faces are needed to add some much needed premier league experience to the ranks.

 The club has already made some moves in the transfer market by adding West Ham flop Kieron Dyer, and Cardiff forward Jay Bothroyd to the squad.  Both have unquestionable ability, but there are question marks over their fitness and temperament respectively.  They also have Welsh international defender Danny Gabbidon on trial, after his contract at West Ham expired and are looking to tie up a deal in the next week or so.  The owners have also promised to that more signings will be made before the end of the transfer window. Whatever happens between now and May, it’s safe to say that all R’s fans will enjoy the ride.  The premier league can be brutal at times, and there may be some dark days but I feel the club has a good chance of survival.  With Neil Warnock at the helm, you know that his team will certainly match up to the physical requirements that the league demands.  They need to make Loftus road a difficult place for teams to come and play, by closing down quickly and not allowing opposition players too much time on the ball. If they can make themselves hard to beat, you feel that with a player such as Adel Tarrabt in the team, they will certainly create chances.  As we know in the premier league, it’s taking those chances that really matters and looking at the squad you feel that a new striker with premier league experience is a must.  If they can do that, then I think come August 2012 – QPR will still be a Premier League team. (footballfansonline.net)

Match of the Day

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 Queens Park Rangers are back in the Premier League after a 15-year absence. The West London club - founder members of the Premier League in 1992 - clinched promotion back to the top flight by winning 2-0 at Watford to seal the Championship. Their place at the top table has now been ratified by the FA. Although QPR were found guilty of two of the seven charges they faced over the registration of Argentinian midfielder Alejandro Faurlin, the club will not be docked points. It means Neil Warnock's men will be back in the Premier League after leading the Championship for virtually the entire campaign. Fired by the exciting skills of Moroccan midfielder Adel Taarabt, the Hoops took a stranglehold on the division from the off, winning their first three fixtures with nine goals scored and none conceded.
They then drew 2-2 at Derby County before winning their next four fixtures with an 11-0 aggregate. That put them six points clear of nearest challengers Cardiff City and provided the momentum for a strong campaign which always looked destined to end with promotion. The Shepherd's Bush side lost some ground in October with four successive draws which allowed the Bluebirds to overhaul them. But they quickly recovered, going unbeaten through November - a run which included home wins over promotion rivals Reading and Cardiff. Successive defeats by Watford and Leeds United proved only a minor hiccup as they bounced back with a 4-0 win over high-flying Swansea City. The turn of the year saw them string together an 11-match unbeaten run and Warnock's men have come on strongly in the run-in. A goalless draw at home to Derby County on 18th April moved them to within three points of automatic promotion. They edged closer by twice coming from behind to draw 2-2 at promotion rivals Cardiff City and fans thought the task had been completed with a 1-1 draw at home to Hull City.
The celebrations were in full swing when Norwich City's injury-time winner left Warnock's men technically still needing one more point, despite the cushion of a superior goal difference. However the 2-0 win at Watford was enough to put them out of reach of their rivals. They did it in some style too, with former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Taarabt pulling the strings and also providing some spectacular goals. Wayne Routledge, on loan from Newcastle United, was rejuvenated on the wing to provide the ammunition for the likes of Heidar Helguson, Jamie Mackie and Taarabt to score the goals. At the other end, former Sheffield United keeper Paddy Kenny proved tough to beat as Rangers secured a return to the top level for the first time since 1996.  




- Neil Warnock saw his QPR side clinch the npower Championship title - and dubbed it his 'finest moment' in football management.
- In a match of very few clear-cut chances, a stalemate beckoned with Watford before goals from Adel Taarabt and Tommy Smith ensured the Championship trophy will now head to Loftus Road.
- Moments after the final whistle, an emotional Warnock told www.qpr.co.uk: "I'm elated. It's a wonderful feeling to finish as Champions. We've deserved it.
- "We've had such a turnaround in 13 months and I'm so proud of my players.
- "I told them at half-time that we're 45 minutes away from remembering something for the rest of our lives.
- "I thought it epitomised our whole season today.
- "We lost Paddy Kenny in the warm-up, Fitz Hall went off injured and Clint Hill's ankle was in pieces so he couldn't make it.
- "But other lads came in and you saw how much of a group we were today.
- "We've been a great group and have got some character - the bread and butter players and then we've got some quality as well.
- "We've been magnificent. That's 25 clean sheets. It takes some beating.
- "We came under a bit of pressure in the second half but instead of being negative, we decided to leave Adel Taarabt on.
- "It's always a difficult game at Watford. But we were superb. We had to hang on in there but then took the opportunities to win the match."
- Warnock added: "It's been a fantastic season for me. I've never enjoyed myself as much in my life.
- "It's my finest moment. There's no comparison with the other promotions that I've won in my managerial career.
- "I thought I'd be retired by now. Instead, I've got the best team that I've ever had and I've loved it.
- "I've always wanted to manage a team that can go anywhere and win. That's why I've always envied people like Sir Alex Ferguson.
- "The fans and everyone behind the scenes at the Club have been fantastic.
- "Everyone has been really supportive and it's nice to repay that by getting them to where they want to be.
- "Times like this don't happen very often in football and you have to savour every minute."

Caps





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