Two teams with very contrasting seasons so far meet on Saturday, in the Liberty Stadium.
Back in August, When Swansea travelled to Loftus Road and came out 5-0 winners. But, much has changed since then, at least for one of the teams.
After that match on the 18th of August, QPR have spent around £35million on new players (£12million in summer, after 18th August and the rest in January). A club record £12.5million signing of SambaNot to mentioned free transfers of Júlio César, Jermain Jenas and Tel Ben Haim, and a new manager in Harry Redknapp. Only four out of the eleven players who featured in the first match of the season started in last week’s match against Norwich. This is enough to underline the turmoil which the Loftus Road outfit is facing.
On the other hand, the welsh team were unbeaten in seven matches until they lost to West Ham last week (2 wins, 5 draws which include matches against league leaders United and a hefty Everton side). They have managed to secure points in 9 of the 11 matches they have played at home. With just two points shy of seventh place Liverpool and when you add the League Cup Final coming up in two weeks’ time, Swansea are having a great season so far.
There has been some confusion on the Remy front, with some sources saying he is out for more than two months, but this news broke out a little which ago, ‘French striker Loic Remy ‘close’ to returning to action, Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp tells a fans’ forum’. If he does come back, it will be a huge boost for the team who have just scored twice since the turn of the year. Jose Bosingwa (back), Junior Hoilett (hamstring), Adam Johnson (knee), Nedum Onuoha (knock) are long term absentees.
Michel Vorm (knee), Neil Taylor (ankle) and Kemy Agustien (ankle) are missing for the Welsh team. Leon Britton may face a late fitness test. With the League Cup final around the corner, Laudrup may as well play it safe.
Ones to Watch
Goal have dried up for Swansea, and they have failed to score in 5 of their last 6 matches in all competitions. It has been around 600 minutes, since Swansea’s top goal scorer Michu has found the back of the net, after his simple tap in against United before Christmas. Previously, Michu has failed to score in two patches of three games each. That says, he has been fairly consistent throughout the season, which has been quite evident as well. But 6 games, is a big time and Michu must be getting frustrated with this dry patch of sorts. de Guzman scored two in the 3-1 win over Stoke. And Danny Graham has popped in a couple of goals recently.
QPR looked determined to say the least, a five match unbeaten streak must have their confidence bubbling. A win at Stamford Bridge to start off the new year and then not allowing the defending champions a chance to score. QPR’s defence seem to move on from the 5-0 drubbing they got in the reverse fixture. The addition of Samba has only done more good to the defense, and he looked assured and confident in the match against Norwich last week. Taarabt has been one constant going forward. He needs to have proper support from the players around him if QPR want to convert draws into wins.
Given that Harry has earned 13 of QPR’s 17 points this season. It is a sure thing that he is doing at least a few things right. As mentioned, the match at Loftus Road ended 5-0 in favour of Swansea. Quite surprisingly QPR had more shots on target (21) than Swansea (13). Nathan Dyer and Michu both scored braces.
This time, it looks to be a different affair, with QPR’s solid defence and Swansea’s lack of goals. QPR have 7 points in 2013 so far, while Swansea have 6. QPR must be desperate for some goals and 3 points will do a lot of good for them. While, Swansea can put the pressure on Liverpool (who face WBA at home) and can also build up for their big game at Wembley. So, the ultimate question that remains is which of these two team will score.