QPR scraped to Premier League safety on the final day of last season in 17th place. The champagne corked were only freshly popped when Mark Hughes proclaimed that the club would never again find themselves in such a position, certainly not while he was manager. The former Manchester City and Blackburn manager had been largely unable to put his own stamp on the squad having replaced the man that led then to promotion, Neil Warnock in January who was sacked after going eight games without a win.
In the end, it was home form that saved the club because away from home there was just 11 points accrued with the record of W3 D2 L14. The R’s won their last five home games, while simultaneously losing the five away games in between. There were a few scalps against big sides at Loftus Road – with victories over clubs such as Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs. Maintaining this form at home while improving their away form will be half the battle for the season ahead for QPR. Only the three clubs that were relegated last season, conceded more goals than Mark Hughes’ side’s 66 goals – they were also the fifth lowest scorers in the league with 43 goals, both of which will need to be addressed this season.
Hughes certainly looks to be true to his word when he said QPR won’t be battling with relegation on his watch and his summer buys are testament to that. To say the least, they are an eclectic bunch of players, between youth and Premier League experience, although, for experience, read over 30’s, but to Hughes’ credit they all have arrived for very small fees – Park Ji Sung (31), Ryan Nelsen (34), Andy Johnson (31) and Rob Green (32) have a combined age of 128 but with age comes hundreds upon hundreds of Premier League games under their belts. These signings are mixed with the permanent signing of Samba Diakite who was on loan last season, Fabio da Silva has arrived on loan from Manchester United while Junior Hoilett.
QPR will be hoping to get off to a much better start than they did last season, where they lost 4-0 in their opening game to Bolton. Mark Hughes has got his work cut out to make his squad into a cohesive unit ahead of the new season. More discipline will be needed, after the clubs players were shown a tally of nine read cards last season (Joey Barton and Djibril Cisse being sent off twice), this was four more than other team received in the Premier League last season.
Opening five fixtures: Swansea (H), Norwich (A), Manchester City (A), Chelsea (H) and Tottenham (A)