Archive for the ‘QPR’ Category

Carlos Tevez, Brazilian centre back Alex and David Beckham are just some of the players that QPR have been linked with since Mark Hughes took over Neil Warnock’s soap opera. All these players are at a different level to current crop of Rangers ‘stars’ so it definitely gives us an insight into what the desired next step for the Premier League new boys is and what their owners hope to achieve under Sparky’s tenure.

There is no denying these are exciting times for QPR but whether it be the fact I’m 21 going on 50 or the fact I’ve picked up paper after paper over the years and continually read about the most preposterous of rumours, that I can’t help but have a air of cynicism about the gossip QPR is creating.

The QPR hierarchy has come out this week via every form of social media they possibly could to announce that there is money to be spent at Loftus Road (£20 million is believed to be figure). Mark Hughes must be squirming in the dugout every time he says another comment from the board because how can he expect to sign to anyone for market value when Fernandes et al are telling the selling clubs that the former Fulham manager has a wod of fifties in his back pocket, teams will see QPR coming and try and sting them for every penny. How can a manager expect to do good and sensible business for his club under those circumstances?

You never see the likes of David Gill or Stan Kroenke yelling from the top of their teams respective home grounds about how much money Fergie and Wenger have to spend (In Arsenal’s case I don’t think they even remember whose face is on the money its been that long since it was seen being used). They conduct their business quietly and in an orderly fashion (an orderly fashion isn’t 140 characters long, Mr Fernandes).

This all rings too similar to the Notts County saga a couple of years back, you know the one when Sven Goran Eriksson was to lead the revolution, Sol Campbell left after one game and Christian Vieri was the Swede’s number one transfer target. I understand the gulf in the divisions and finances needs to be taken into consideration but you have to remember this is the same Fernandes that was seen as nothing short of a joke by West Ham’s current owners David Gold and David Sullivan when the owner of Air Asia tried to by the club for “two bob”.

Mark Hughes style of management is calm,calculated and sensible something that QPR need to prevent the big whigs upstairs turning The Hoops into a Twitter drama but in a era of football that has well and truly seen football transformed from a sport to a business, I reckon the former Blackburn Rovers manager will also be the former Queens Park Rangers manager in twelve months time.

Be careful, Sparky and good luck.

Have your say on my article or just let me know Lionel Messi has been seen at Loftus Road on Twitter @DanielTBlazer

You know those pages on Facebook that clog up your news feeds? Annoying aren’t they. Usually pointless advertising and spamming of my own personal social media space (an oxymoron if ever there was one), however in amongst the adverts making me feel inadequate about my manhood (why these are on a Fifa banter page, god only knows) but one fan asked a question that got me thinking, ‘Who is the best left back in the Premier League?’

Firstly let me say, Ashley Cole is not going to be considered because my twenty year plan to make Cheryl Cole/Tweedy my wife will be ruined if she reads this article about what a wonderful left back he is/was.

Jose Enrique appears to be one of the bargains of the season so far at £6 million, with the Spaniard being key in Liverpool only conceding 18 Premier League goals this season, which is only bettered by Manchester City (16). The former Newcastle United player has defended with maturity and attacked with force, encompassing everything the modern day full back is about, however Enrique is yet to make his international debut which is surprising given his form and Spain’s supposed shortage at left back.

Leighton Baines, arguably the most consistent left back over the last two years or so which has started to earn the defender recognition at international level. The former Wigan Athletic man has an attribute that hasn’t been seen in a left back since Roberto Carlos and that is his ability from dead ball situations, which has proved invaluable to Everton with the likes of Louis Saha making Emile Heskey look prolific.

Neil Taylor has been one of several positives from the Premier League new boys Swansea this year, the Welsh outfit have been a great addition to the world’s best league. The Wales international has it all, the pace, the calmness when under pressure and the attacking tendencies; admittedly at 22 the former Wrexham defender isn’t the complete package but given a season or two at the top level and rumours such as the ones linking him with Arsenal will, no doubt be a common occurrence.

Admittedly I started this article thinking there were going to be five or six decent left backs but clearly I’m mistaken.

Overall, you can’t overlook consistency and Baines has been a solid performer for two seasons now. Although the Englishman may not have the Spanish flair or the ability to reach the levels Neil Taylor can, at the moment you can’t look past the Everton man.

Let me know who you think is the best or just give me advice on how to make Cheryl Cole mine on Twitter @DanielTBlazer

Loan signings are cheating.  I mean how can Emmanuel Adebayor transform Tottenham Hotspur’s season and perhaps in the long run cost his parent club Manchester City the Premier League title?

For all of the praise the Premier League receives for being the best league in the world, it is fundamentally flawed in that it allows loan deals internally within the same league.

Jamie O’Hara last season joined Wolverhampton Wanderers on loan from Spurs and was a major influence in keeping Wolves in the Premier League. When the tenacious centre midfielder joined Mick McCarthy’s side were languishing in 19th position and eventually avoided relegation by one place and one point. Although you can’t say single handedly that the Englishman pulled Wolves from the brink but you could definitely argue that would have David Edwards and Karl Henry impacted as much in the middle of the park as O’Hara did?

Birmingham City were the team to take the unwanted final place back in the Championship but not because Wolves squad was better than theirs it was because Tottenham Hotspur’s reserves were. How can Spurs influence both ends of the table?

If you can’t loan out players between one Premiership team and another, then league’s such as the Championship are the next best option. The benefits of sending the likes of Adebayor, Jamie O’Hara and Yossi Benayoun out on loan to the lower leagues of English football are huge. Players of clubs such as Cardiff, Bristol City and Watford would learn and gain so much from having players who have Champions League, Premier League and World Cup experience within their team.

At a time where the gulf between Premier League and the Championship is currently criticised as being too big of a step up, surely an influx of experienced international footballer’s within the lesser ranks of English football will help bridge that ever increasing gap?

If we ban in the Premier League surely you’d have to prevent loan deals to teams with the same tournaments too? Adebayor couldn’t join Real Madrid, Quaresma couldn’t join Chelsea and Tevez couldn’t join AC Milan on loan (If the rumours are true). However we would expect Andy Carroll to score for Liverpool before we see a swift decision made by the footballing bodies.

The conflict of interests between loan deals is massive and yet in an era that has seen Serie A basically closed down due to match fixing, the most obvious form of ‘influencing’ games is a legitimate rule within football.

Overall if the rules were to change and internal loans were banned, the team that would benefit the most is Sunderland…as they’d get to send Nicklas Bendtner back.

It is that horrible time of year again, when us football fans try to find something to entertain ourselves with for a couple of months while the players have a ‘well deserved’ rest. The transfer window has now kindly reopened in order to give the fans something to talk about down the pub and no doubt there will be ridiculous rumours, surprising signings and barbaric amounts of money spent. However in amongst the forever changing stories, there will be a few things that will no doubt remain, but what are they?

Robbie Keane joins dream team

The Republic of Ireland left Spurs because “Joining Liverpool is a lifelong dream of mine and one I couldn’t let pass me by.” and after rejoining Spurs left again, stating “It’s a dream come true” and This is the reason why I’ve always wanted to come to Celtic.”

So where will the former Inter Milan striker be living the dream after this transfer window?

Harry Redknapp linked with everyone

The Spurs man has a bit of a reputation as a successful ‘wheeler-dealer’ in the transfer market, but also has a reputation that he can’t refuse a ‘bargain’. It is such opinions on ‘Arry that will no doubt, like every transfer window that has gone before, see the Englishman linked with every player including a surprising double swoop for Dion Dublin and Dean Windass.

Arsenal won’t sign anyone…worthwhile

“We have to strengthen the squad where it needs and make the right decision on that front. It is always on my mind, every day. Don’t think it’s not on my mind.” This was Wenger talking on the 26th April of this year, sound familiar? It should do because for the last couple of years the Frenchman has been saying this and as of yet the Arsenal fans have seen several Sebastien Squillaci’s come and go for minimal transfer fees, hardly a signing that will allow a team to win a Quadruple.

 

English talent will move for inflated prices

The rumours have already started surrounding the Three Lions talent, Gary Cahill valued at £15-20 million, Ashley Young £20 million and no doubt the same sort of prices for Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing and Phil Jones. Are these prices really representative of what these players have achieved or can offer a side? Especially when you consider Connor Wickham of Ipswich is valued at £15 million just because ‘he may become a star in the future’, it is ridiculous but with the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea willing to spend, no doubt these players will move for inflated rates.

Fabregas saga

With each transfer window that passes the ‘Fabregas to Barcelona transfer’ becomes more and more like an Eastenders storyline. Tiresome to say the least, but this episode will no doubt carry on this summer but will it finally end or will it end with ‘continued next time’?

Promoted teams linked with experience

The promoted teams always look to sign much needed experience, usually players who have plied their trade in the Premier League for years and are now looking for a couple of ‘easier’ years. This transfer window could see Joe Cole move to QPR epitomising such a deal.

Absurd transfer rumours

It is dubbed the silly season so you can’t blame the newspapers linking Barcelona’s ‘holy trinity’ with a move to Portman Road. It is just annoying because us naïve and excited fans believe the stories and already plan what our team’s shirt will look like with ‘Messi’ on the back.

Manchester City will buy everyone

Roberto Mancini has come out this week and said he feels he will need to make five big name signings…FIVE! Absolutely crazy claims when you consider the wealth of talent at Eastlands already, but no doubt it will happen, especially when you consider they paid over £20 million for Joleon Lescott.

Always that one surprising deal

Despite all the media coverage there is always one deal that escapes the rumour mill and then BAM, at two minutes to deadline it is announced and the world of football is rocked. I remember it happening with Ashley Cole’s move to Arsenal and last year it was Rafael Van Der Vaart’s move to Spurs for a mere £8 million, I wonder who will surprise us this window?

Liverpool will sign an expensive flop

It is usually around the £20 million region, first Robbie Keane and then there was Alberto Aquilani…whose next?

This season, like every Premier League campaign, saw the emergence of world class players, that the season before were just up and coming hot prospects; Jack Wilshere is this season’s stand out example. The Arsenal’s ace rise to prominence, has already got me thinking what talent will be uncovered next season, Manchester United’s ‘kids’ emphatically won the FA Youth Cup in recent days so it is only a matter of time before they begin making a push for the first team and Liverpool have reaped the rewards of their youth set up this season, and no doubt will again next campaign. But who will be the ones to watch next season?

Manchester United

Ryan Tunnicliffe is a central midfielder, who has already earned comparisons to United legend Roy Keane, for his powerful midfield performances. In January 2010 the Englishman signed a three year contract with the Red Devils, a huge show of faith from Sir Alex Ferguson and his staff, that they think the midfielder has what it takes.

Chelsea

Gael Kakuta is an attacking winger, signed illegally by Chelsea, however with such reviews as “Perhaps one criticism was that he didn’t try very hard sometimes in training – because he didn’t need to! He could already do everything.” (Lens Scout) who can blame them? Very much of the Florent Malouda mould and with Malouda rumoured to be part of the reported squad overhaul at Stamford Bridge this summer, the Frenchman could add considerably to his appearance tally of six.

Manchester City

Alex Tchuimeni-Nimely, commentators everywhere will be hoping I am wrong about this City striker as his name is impossible to pronounce. However the twenty year old is rated highly by the staff at Eastlands. Having progressed well in the reserves, with ten goals in all competitions Tchuimeni-Nimely was awarded a four year contract in April of 2010, and went on to make his first team debut the same season. Sadly this season the bright star was lost in and amongst all the pound signs, however with Manchester City having bigger aspirations than the League Cup now, next season may see the forward make a name for himself.

Arsenal

Ryo Miyaichi signed for Arsenal in January of this year and was instantly loaned out to Feyenoord, twelve games and three goals later, the Japanese forward has earnt the nickname ‘Ryodinho’. Enough said.

Tottenham Hotspur

Danny Rose exploded onto the footballing scene with that wonder goal against bitter rivals Arsenal, and after a few loan spells, Rose has returned to the Lilywhites first team squad towards the end of this season, and has put in some assured and comfortable performances. With vital experience under his belt, the midfielder could become an integral part of Redknapp’s side with Niko Kranjcar, Jermaine Jenas and Wilson Palacios, among others rumoured to be on their way out.

Liverpool

Conor Coady will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of John Flanagan and Jack Robinson this season. The Liverpool youngster who has represented England at various levels and can play either centre back or centre midfield, is regarded by the Liverpool staff as an ideal future captain, high praise indeed.

Everton

Jose Baxter can play any attacking position and has been at The Toffees since he was just six years old. The Englishman has made several appearances in an Everton shirt and has broken records along the way, becoming Everton’s youngest ever first team player at just 16 years and 191 days old. Baxter is a player of immense natural talent, this talent saw him named as this season’s reserve player of the season; maybe next season he will be first team player of the season.

Fulham

Matthew Briggs made his Fulham debut at the age of 16 years and 65 days, making him the youngest player ever to play in the Premier League. The defender has captained the England Under 19 side and has made a couple of appearances this season. With Fulham not having the biggest squad, the Englishman could very well become a permanent fixture in Mark Hughes’ back four next season.

Aston Villa

Jonathan Hogg, was widely tipped to join the likes of Ciaran Clark and Marc Albrighton in making the breakthrough into the first team, however the midfielder didn’t. However after an impressive loan spell at Portsmouth, the Englishman no doubt next season will stake a claim for first team football.

Sunderland

Billy Knott was signed by Sunderland after his release from Chelsea and made an instant impact in the reserves with five goals in his first eight games. The creative wingers good form caught the eye of Steve Bruce and was drafted into the first team squad in February, with Sunderland losing Bolo Zenden and Sulley Muntari there is definitely room in the midfield next season for the former Chelsea trainee.

West Brom

James Hurst progressed through the Baggies academy set up and then joined Portsmouth at 16, however two years later he was back at The Hawthorns. The defender has made his debuts’ in the league, Carling Cup and FA Cup this season, and impressed greatly, so much so that in January West Brom offered the Englishman an improved two and a half year contract.

Newcastle United

Sam Ameobi, third Ameobi to play at Newcastle United, made his Premier League debut in the recent 2-2 draw with Chelsea this season. Much like his brother, the striker poses an aerial threat and with Newcastle needing a target man after the sale of Andy Carroll, could the Nigerian be that man next season?

Stoke City

Ben Marshall is a nineteen year old striker who has spent the season at Northampton Town, earning valuable experience at a competitive level. The Englishman impressed Stoke City’s staff is the pre season before this current campaign and will no doubt be used in the up and coming pre season, and if Marshall continues to impress, next season could be a big one for the striker.

Bolton Wanderers

Temitope Obadeyi is (according to Bolton’s official website) “an exciting young striker with a bright future in the game”. Having gained vital first team experience on loan at Swindon and Rochdale, the big forward has started to break through into the first team squad as has come off the subs bench on a couple of occasions, but with Daniel Sturridge returning to Chelsea and Johan Elmander’s leaving the club, the English striker could get his chance next season as a regular.

Blackburn Rovers

Grant Hanley made his PL debut on the final day of the 09/10 season and this season the defender has made seven appearances in all competitions. With Chris Samba constantly linked with a move away, the Scottish Under 21 player could very well become a prominent fixture in Steve Kean’s side next season.

Wigan Athletic

Victor Moses has spent most of his fledgling Latics career coming off the bench, but despite this the former Crystal Palace man has showcased his talents enough for me to be excited about him next season. Lightening speed, quick feet and excellent finishing, all traits we love to witness and see in a player. The Englishman can play on the wings or up front, and after finishing 16th in the league this season, what has Roberto Martinez got to lose in using Moses more frequently?

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing has earnt a reputation as an accomplished midfielder who has an eye for goal. The Englishman has made a handful of pre season appearances for Wolves but in his first competitive match in the Carling Cup against Swindon for Wolves, he secured the Man of the Match award. Mendez-Laing has been on loan at Peterborough this season making nearly forty appearances and notching five goals.

With regards to the promoted teams, I have decided to choose three players that will excel beyond expectation, such as Charlie Adam of Blackpool this season.

QPR

Throughout this season, I have continually said that Adel Taarabt has just found his level at the Championship, but after watching a Youtube compilation of the Moroccan’s best bits, I now understand that it is a bit more than media hyperbole. The former Spurs man is a joy to behold on the ball and the Premier League is in for a real treat.

Norwich

This season the Canaries forward Grant Holt has been stealing all the headlines at Carrow Road, however for me it will be Wesley Hoolahan who makes a name for himself in England’s highest tier of football. Used predominantly at the tip of a diamond formation, just behind the strikers, the Republic of Ireland international has an eye for goal and is very much the ‘heartbeat’ of Norwich City’s attacking play.

Swansea

I wanted to avoid going for the obvious answer of Scott Sinclair but having just watched the former Chelsea man score a hat trick at Wembley in the play-off final, I cannot wait to see him in the Premier League. Skilful, pacey and prolific in front of goal, a neutrals dream player when watching Match of the Day.

Yet again the Premier League gave us footy fans a season with triumphs, heartbreak and entertainment. In amongst all the emotions and money, players became cult heroes, teams over achieved and managers came and went. Javier Hernandez was arguably the bargain of the season, but does this mean he will improve next season? Tottenham Hotspur missed out on Champions League qualification; will they regain a top four berth in the coming campaign? Already we all cannot wait for the next season to get up and running and we all have our predictions on who will achieve and who will fall through the Premier League’s trapdoor; here are mine.

Luis Suarez for player of the season- Harry Redknapp reportedly turned down the chance to sign the former Ajax man in the recent transfer window, how he must be cursing that decision now. Suarez has injected energy, desire and flair into Liverpool, and has been a major influence on the Merseyside club’s climb up the table. The Uruguayan has turned in numerous Man of the Match performances, most notably in Liverpool’s 3-1 win over bitter rivals Manchester United, where he single-handedly terrorised the entire defence. It’s those sort of performances that make me think the Liverpool ace will collect Barclay’s Player of the Season for 2011/12.

QPR in dreamland- Every season needs a ‘fairytale’ and for me I think it will be that QPR will be in the Champion League places at Christmas. I don’t for a second think they will stay there, but West Brom were up there this season and Ipswich in the past nearly achieved the unthinkable. QPR’s return to the top flight of English football may well be ‘the stuff dreams are made of’.

Norwich will be relegated with five games still to play- This season’s relegation battle has gone right down to the wire, with the first confirmed relegation only happening on the penultimate fixture. It has been entertaining down the bottom of the league, with no team standing out as the ‘whipping boys’. However, for me, I think this will change, with Norwich City’s return to the top flight being short lived.

Torres will be the highest scorer in the league- There is only so much criticism a man can take before he bites back, and next season, I believe the former Liverpool man will take up the mantle of Chelsea’s main man.

Robert Huth will score 15 goals- His scoring ratio, for a defender, is amazing, with 9 goals in all competitions this season. It would be a brave man betting against the Stoke defender breaking into double figures next season

Newcastle will sack Alan Pardew before Christmas- Mike Ashley doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to managers and Pardew, as of yet, hasn’t won over all the St James Park faithful. Newcastle will no doubt soon want to challenge for the European places again and I don’t think the former West Ham manager is the right guy to do it.

Everton will be relegated- Admittedly, the Toffees have turned their season around in the second half but at the beginning of the season it was looking bleak for David Moyes’ side. With reported debts of up to £45 million, Everton will have to look to sell the likes of Jack Rodwell and Leighton Baines. Unless Moyes can pull off another signing that has the impact of Tim Cahill, for minimum expenditure, I fear for Everton’s Premier League survival.

Owen Coyle will win manager of the season- I’m not quite sure what Coyle will achieve to warrant such an award, but this season I have been very impressed with the Bolton manager. The former Burnley man has transformed their style of play and Bolton even threatened to break into the Europa League places earlier in the season. Next season could really see Coyle take his management to the next level.

Arsenal will win something- Surely they have got to?

Manchester United will beat there 29 match unbeaten run- They play poorly, they get criticised and yet they still grind out results to win the Premier League title, and very convincingly in the end. Sir Alex Ferguson instils an incredible self belief into his side, and assuming the Premier League’s most successful manager is still around next season, then who knows what can be achieved.

Tottenham Hotspur will finish as the League’s highest scorers- Funny old game is football, so with the constant criticism the Lilywhites strike force has received this season, with Crouch, Defoe and Pavlyuchenko failing to score 20 league goals between them, it is written in the script for Spurs to dominate the scoring charts next season.

Sunderland will finish in the top eight- Steve Bruce’s side had a superb start to this current season, and although injuries are expected in the game, Sunderland had more than their fair share, with eleven first players being out injured at one point. A couple of signings to replace the returning loanees’ Danny Welbeck and Sulley Muntari and Sunderland will be in and around the top half come the final whistle of next season.

Roy Hodgson will achieve some unimagineable feat- Hodgson has a knack for working miracles with the ‘lesser’ clubs, ignoring his disaster stint on Anfied, the Blackburn manager lead Fulham to a Europa League final last season and turned West Brom from relegation candidates to a comfortable mid table posititon. I’m not saying West Brom for the title but they will achieve something.

Wigan Athletic will get relegated- The only reason Wigan stayed in the Premier League was Birmingham’s inability to score (37 goals in 38 games). Wigan’s final two fixture victories was their first back to back wins since Roberto Martinez took over in 2009, and that is not the sort of ‘achievement’ a side in the the a world’s ‘greatest’ league, should be achieving.

Aston Villa will contain moving backwards if Houiller stays in charge- Despite being controversial, Martin O’Neill had the Villians dreaming of Champions League football. One season after his departure, Villa only secured their Premier League survival in the penultimate league fixture. Randy Lerner needs to hire a young visionary of a manager or Villa’s decline will continue.

Blackburn Rovers will sack Steve Kean- The new owners Venky’s showed there policy on managers for the inexplicable sacking of Sam Allardyce in December. Steve Kean still gets the odd chant of “Who?” and it wont be long before he heads for the exit door after failing to build on Allardyce’s top ten finish last season.

Karl Henry will recieve the most red cards- I love a commited, strong and passionate slide tackle as much as the next football fan, but a few times this season the tenacious Wolves centre midfielder has escaped punishment, but next next season he may not be so lucky.

Fulham will be last in the fairplay table- There are a few suggestions that the Cottagers would miss out on Europa league via the fairplay league after Zoltan Gera’s sending off on the final day of the season, their first red of the season. Football loves irony, and although Fulham should be alright this season in securing their Europa cup spot, next season they will probably end up postoponing a game because Fulham had five men sent off.

Manchester City will fail to finish in the top four- Yes this season looks impressive with an FA Cup final win and finishing third in the Premier League, but Manchester City have hardly looked a fluid unit this season, and if we are all honest the only reason they qualified automatically for the Champions League this season, was because of Arsenal and Tottenham’s massive dip in form, not due to their own skill and effort. Furthermore with Carlos Tevez reportedly readying his suitcase and Edin Dzeko looking about as useful as Emile Heskey, will they really push the ‘big boys’ again?

Depending on who gets promoted:

Scott Sinclair will win a transfer to a ‘bigger’ club in January- If it wasn’t for Adel Taarabt’s performances the former Chelsea man would be getting more of the limelight. Sinclair has had a phenomenal season in front of goal and setting up goals, combined with his pace and flair, it won’t be long before the Premier League vultures straight circling around Liberty Stadium.

Shane Long will score ten goals in the League by Christmas but finish the season with only 11- So many times we have seen players fail to live up to the Premier League standard despite impressing in the Championship. Reading’s Shane long could very well be the next Dave Nugent.