We continue SB Nation Soccer's preview of the 2011/12 Premier League season by taking a look at last year's nPower Championship winners, Queens Park Rangers. Guiding us through the wonderful world of QPR is Jocelyn Becker of LAG Confidential, SB Nation's Los Angeles Galaxy blog.
Queen's Park Rangers have returned to the Premier League. One of the Premier League's founding members and the top London club in 1992-93, QPR fans remember fondly the days of Les Ferdinand, and hope to return to that form once again.
The first thing any newly promoted club needs to do is to start spending like a premier league club, dumping old weight and bringing on some PL ready players. Using free transfers they've brought in Kieron Dyer and Danny Gabbidon from newly relegated West Ham United. Dyer was West Ham's top earner in the 09-10 season, despite only making 22 appearances and never playing the full 90. He never scored for West Ham, despite 23 goals in his time at Newcastle.
Danny Gabbidon also struggled at West Ham, but hopefully the new environs will return the players to former form. They also brought in Jay Bothroyd and Brian Murphy from League One clubs Cardiff City and Ipswich Town respectively. Bothroyd scored 41 goals in his four years at Cardiff. Coming up through the Arsenal Academy, the 28 year old is a fantastic get for QPR, capable of some remarkable goals. The final addition is D. J. Campbell, who scored 13 goals for Blackpool last season, the Seasiders' top scorer.
The players QPR have shed are all off to clubs not in the Premier League, same goes for the players they've loaned out. It's hard to make anything out of the preseason, as most of their matches were against the likes of Harrow Borough and Tavistock (the latter they defeated 13-0). They did partake in an Italian tournament known as the Trofeo Bortolotti. In this triangular tournament, matches only last 45 mins, and QPR ended up winning on penalties.
The top goal scorers from last year, Adel Taarabt (19) and Heidar Helguson (13) both return to the team. The midfielder Taarabat also led the team in assists last year with 16. The Morocan team captain tried to break in with Newcastle, but got loaned out to QPR which quickly bought his contract and brought him on.
Queens' Park Rangers were in first for all but two weeks last year, and boasted a nineteen game unbeaten streak, so it'll be interesting to see how they adjust to things in the premier league. They stick with the same manager, Neil Warnock, who won Manager of the Month twice last year. They still have Paddy Kennedy, the best keeper in the Championsip last year.
QPR enter the Carling Cup in the second round, as one of the Premier League teams not involved in European competition. If I were Neil Warnock, I'd take this tournament quite seriously, as it's QPR's best chance of getting involved in European competition right away. Last year, Port Vale embarrassingly took out QPR in the first round. The focus of the team was just getting to the premier league, as
they also played just one game in the FA Cup as well. Now they're in the PL, should have the talent to stay up, and should make tournaments a priority.
While the unrest in London leaves their opener against Bolton in some doubt, they do have the benefit of not facing one of the big four until October. With four home matches and away games at Wigan and at Fulham, four or five wins going into the match against Chelsea is not unreasonable.
This is not a team built to just taste the Premier League for a season. This is a team which has bought their way into being a respectable London side. The Hoops will be looking to make a big splash in their first top league season since 1996.