Despite it still being early days in the new Premier League season, you could be forgiven for thinking Queens Park Rangers are a near certainty to be playing Championship football next term, as they hover dangerously above the drop zone with the worst goal difference in the league, minus 8 after only 4 games. They are a favourite with the bookies to take the plunge. It is clear they have serious problems to address, yet despite all of their issues, I still trust that Harry Redknapp will work his magic and Rangers will live to fight another day in the top tier.
The fundamental problems at Loftus Road are clear from their statistics so far this season. With their average possession below 40%, conceding an average of 16 shots per game and scoring only 1 goal in 4 league games these figures don’t make happy reading; not to mention the League Cup defeat to Burton Albion.
Despite these concerns, there is certainly hope and undoubtedly a route to freedom from the clutches of relegation. Firstly, QPR’s squad is superior to those clubs around them. Harry Redknapp has created a real backbone in the form of Steven Caulker, Joey Barton and Charlie Austin. The squad is set up to survive with it being stronger and with greater depth than teams around them. The summer signings of Sandro, Leroy Fer and Jordon Mutch will give Rangers a real boost, not to mention the addition of the experienced Rio Ferdinand and the bonus of holding onto Adel Taarabt.
QPR’s goals will come from last season’s top scorer, Charlie Austin. The 25-year-old goal machine is already off the mark in the top tier after scoring the winner in QPR’s 1-0 victory over Sunderland. If they want to survive, Rangers will need to replicate victories akin to that one. The emphasis must be on winning games against similar opposition, particularly at Loftus Road. Heavy defeats, like those suffered against Tottenham and Manchester united should not worry Harry and his team too much.
In addition, 9 players still remain from the squad that narrowly survived the drop under Mark Hughes in 2012. Their experience of what it takes to remain in the top tier will be invaluable for the R’s this season. Their previous escape will also give them a psychological advantage later on in the season.
If the Super Hoops are to survive it will no doubt be in part thanks to the team in charge of the club. Harry Redknapp and Tony Fernandes’ partnership is a perfect example of how the chairman and manager can work side by side successfully. Redknapp is no stranger to being in this position, as he managed a great escape with Portsmouth in 2006, which earned him the nickname of ‘Harry Houdini.’ The manager’s experience of this position, combined with the chairman’s love for the club and his spending power will put Rangers in with a great chance of beating the drop.
Ultimately, Queens Park Rangers’ strong squad, excellent manager and previous experience of survival will carry them through to return next August as a Premier League team.