The Premier League is returning and although this may not be one of the standout fixtures, it will be a fascinating match as two of the most experienced English managers meet. At the start of the season, every Premier League team is dreaming about better things, but a good start is crucial, and managers know that. Last time QPR were at this level, they had an appalling season, finishing in 19th position. They will be hoping for better things this time around after changing the squad to get rid of a lot of the mercenaries and having Harry Redknapp for an entire campaign will surely have a positive effect. Meanwhile, Hull will be looking to consolidate in the division after a good first season back, but the Europa League could have a testing effect.
QPR are returning to the top flight after finishing 4th in the Championship and winning the play-offs. They underachieved to an extent, but they did enough to gain promotion. Their squad is one of Premier League quality, and they have made some great additions. Rio Ferdinand will provide experience, while the signing of Steven Caulker could see the two form a great partnership. Mauricio Isla and Jordan Mutch will provide genuine quality. They will not have the same problems they had two seasons ago in terms of motivation, the team should be very tough to play against. They are set for a comfortable mid-table finish, and if they keep Loic Remy, a push for the top half shouldn’t be ruled out.
Approaching their second season in the Premier League, Hull have been forgotten about in the media, with nobody mentioning them for relegation or a top half finish. It’s thought that Hull will be safe in mid table, but they do have the Europa League to contend with and the likes of Newcastle and Swansea will testify how difficult that can be to deal with. They are the only Premier League side to have already played competitive fixtures after beating Slovakian side Trencin 2-1 on aggregate after a late Sone Aluko goal at the KC Stadium. It’s great to see Hull in Europe, but it will have an affect on their league form, as their squad isn’t big enough to deal with the demands of the Europa League. Steve Bruce’s men could be closer to the bottom three than many think.
This match promises to be a close encounter as they are likely to be competing in similar positions this season. Neither look like they will be too threatened by relegation, but they both aren’t strong enough to push for European qualification through the league. QPR will be on a high from last season and the atmosphere promises to be excellent as the London side return to the top flight. It’s rumoured they will be playing 3-5-2 this season, a formation used a lot by Hull, so we could see two sides playing three at the back. The last time these two sides met was in the Championship at Loftus Road, it ended in a 1-1 draw, but both sides have changed a lot since then. Wayne Routledge scored for the home side, while David Amoo netted for Hull.
Last season, QPR won 62% of their matches last season with Charlie Austin in the side, but only 27% of the matches in which the forward didn’t play. This highlights how crucial the striker is to QPR.
Of the teams that stayed up last season, only Crystal Palace scored fewer goals than Hull City who scored 38 times, averaging just a goal per game. That is an area they will have to improve this campaign.
Despite making strides in the media in recent years, as a pundit on BT Sport and even with an appearance on Question Time this summer, Joey Barton remains a key player for QPR. He provides experience and bite to their central midfield. He will likely be used as part of the pivot, if Redknapp does opt for 3-5-2 as expected. Interestingly, Barton’s last appearance in the top flight was that match at City, in which he was sent-off after a crazy sequence of actions, that resulted in a 12 match ban. He returned last season and was very professional, which impressed Redknapp and he is now a key part of QPR’s plans for this season. Last season, he scored three times and contributed with three assists. Although these figures aren’t great, he was utilised in a deeper position and his passing range allowed him to play a key part in launching attacks. His disciplinary record showed he still gets on the wrong side of the ref, picking up 12 yellow cards and one red card.
This season is a massive one for Tom Huddlestone, not only will he be relied on by Hull as he has the most natural ability in the squad, but with Steven Gerrard’s international retirement, there is an opportunity for a player like the Hull midfielder to get into the England squad. His incredible passing ability, especially long balls, make him one of the most like for like replacements that Roy Hodgson has available, but Huddlestone would feel more at home in the deeper role than Gerrard ever did. Last season he impressed for Hull, with some even suggesting he should have been on the plane to Brazil after he enjoyed a full campaign without any serious injuries. He showed his quality across the pitch, winning 64.89% of his 94 tackles, creating 59 chances, two of which led to a goal and scoring three. This season could be even better for Huddlestone after getting one full season under his belt for the first time in a long time. He has always had lots of potential, now it’s time to become a consistent Premier League midfielder.
You can have a bet on Joey Barton committing more fouls than Tom Huddlestone with Tailorbet here at odds of 1.59. This may appear a safe bet considering Barton’s disciplinary record of the past. The QPR man attempted a tackle every 30 minutes in his last season in the Premier League in 2011/12, while Huddlestone made a tackle every 33 minutes last season, showing the two are similar. Barton picked up ten yellows and two reds in that campaign, while Huddlestone only accrued 5 yellow cards and one red last season. The evidence suggests Barton will make more fouls this weekend, especially when you consider that he will be keen to assert his presence back in the top flight.
QPR have no injuries going into the season, which will be a boost as Redknapp will be able to select his full strength team as Rangers make their return to the top flight. The only doubt is over Loic Remy and Adel Taarabt, who may feature, but their futures at Loftus Road are far from certain. New signings Steven Caulker, Mauricio Isla, Rio Ferdinand and Jordan Mutch could make their debuts for the club. It is expected that QPR will line up with a 3-5-2 formation.
Like their opponents, Hull have no injuries going into the new campaign, but it’s unlikely Shane Long will feature as the Irishman moves closer to joining Southampton for £12m. It’s an incredible deal for Hull, who make a £5m profit within seven months. Hull could give debuts to Robert Snodgrass, Tom Ince, Harry Maguire and Andy Robertson, while Jake Livermore will be available after making his loan move permanent.
It will be an interesting match as both sides will be competing in mid table, but as the home side, QPR have to be considered favourites. If Loic Remy plays, they will have quality throughout the team and a genuine goal threat, something Hull doesn’t have. I wouldn’t expect too many goals as Hull were always strong at the back, while the acquisitions of Ferdinand and Caulker should mean QPR don’t leak as many goals as they did last time. Last season QPR were strong at home, while Hull struggled on their travels.
QPR 1-0 Hull City