2014/15 Premier League Season Review: Queens Park Rangers

Premier League Final Position: 20th

Review

Queens Park Rangers have suffered a terrible season and rightly finished bottom of the table. Easily the worst side the league, a lot is to be questioned how a club can fall so far off the required mark.

With an ageing squad that has the majority of their members past their prime, QPR are in desperate need of a restructuring in terms of their playing staff so they can rebuild an efficient squad.

Newly appointed full time boss Chris Ramsey now has the summer to improve the current playing squad and also ‘trim the fat’ as it were as a lot of high earners will be on their way out, we presume.

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Podcast Review

Best Moment
The 4-1 win against QPR was a standout in their battle to avoid the drop, as they went 3-0 up at halftime after a stunning display. The result lifted spirits among the camp that they could survive the drop.

Worst Moment

The 6-0 loss the Manchester City that sent the club down. To go down is one thing, but sealing your fate with a 6-0 loss is dreadful, regardless of opponent.

Player of the Year

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Charlie Austin – It has been well documented how good a season Austin has had. And with an incredible total of 18 goals, he was the shining light in a QPR side that still finished bottom.

Biggest Win

West Brom 1-4 QPR (April 4, 2015)

Biggest Defeat

Manchester City 6-0 QPR (May 10, 2015)

What to improve for the 2015 season…

Let’s be honest there is a lot to improve on. The priority has to be on provide a more dynamic and youthful side. They will be playing in the Championship so perhaps keeping a few of the ageing players may aid experience to the squad, and they need to focus on defending as they had the worst defence in the Premier League this year.

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Former Chelsea and Manchester City star free to complete MLS move

Former Chelsea and Manchester City star Shaun Wright-Phillips is free to join up with brother Bradley Wright-Phillips at New York Red Bulls following his release at Queens Park Rangers.

Wright-Phillips has endured a torrid time at QPR and only played 128 minutes in the Premier League this season; only managing one start.

As he heads towards the twilight years of his career, SWP may want to join his brother at the Red Bulls. They are currently in search for a natural winger to replace Thierry Henry on the left flank, after the Arsenal legend retired at the end of the 2014 MLS season.

Bradley Wright-Phillips has been sensational since moving to the States in 2013 and has an incredible goalscoring record of 33 goals in just 48 games for the Red Bulls.

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BWP, holder of the MLS Golden Boot award, has started the current season in form, already netting five goals in 11 appearances.

The addition of SWP would provide balance to the side as well as frightening pace on both flanks, with Lloyd Sam already playing from the right.

Having already played for top clubs in England like Manchester City, Chelsea and QPR; the winger has more than enough pedigree to perform in MLS.

Would Shaun Wright-Phillips benefit from a move to Major League Soccer?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Leicester City vs QPR

Competition: Premier League – Leicester City vs. Queens Park Rangers

Venue: King Power Stadium – Sunday, May 24 – 15:00 BST (10:00 ET)

Match Odds: Leicester 4/7 – Draw 100/30 – QPR 4/1

Match Preview

Leicester City cap off an unbelievable escape by hosting already relegated Queens Park Rangers.

With an impressive run of form, Nigel Pearson‘s side have managed to avoid the drop with a game to spare. Leicester have remarkably only lost one of the last eight matches, winning six of them.

After losing 3-2 in the reverse fixture, Leicester will be out for revenge and also to finish the season in style as they could surpass the magic 40 point marker with a win.

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Leicester’s survival has arguably been the best in the Premier League era. It is more special by the fact that they went on a 13-game winless run that lasted 96 days and have still managed to retain Premier League status.

Leicester City’s home record: P18 W6 D5 L7

QPR finish a dismal campaign with the visit to King Power Stadium, and they will be hopeful of a positive note as they prepare for life in the Championship.

Arguably the worst side in the top flight this season, QPR have just one win in six; a 2-1 victory over Newcastle. However, their away form has been abysmal.

They have picked up seven from a possible 54 this season away from home, and failing to pick up a single point against any of the top 12 sides in the league.

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It is very much the start of a new chapter for QPR as Chris Ramsey was announced as the boss on a permanent basis. But that does not negate from the fact they have been poor and deserve to go down.

QPR’s away record: P18 W2 D1 L15

Team News

Leicester City are without Matty James and David Nugent through injury. Riyad Mahrez is expected to play behind a forward pairing of Jamie Vardy and Leonardo Ulloa.

QPR are missing Alejandro Faurlin, Eduardo Vargas and Rob Green for the trip. Bobby Zamora, Mauricio Isla, Mauro Zarate and Armand Traore all face late tests. Charlie Austin is expected to play up front on his.

Key Points

Leicester City’s last five: W/L/W/W/D

QPR’s last five: L/D/L/L/W

Key Stat: Leicester have kept a clean sheet in five of their last six matches in the Premier League

Key Player: Charlie Austin – The England striker has been a sensation in a very boring team. With 17 goals in 34 games, Austin fully deserves the England call-up he received on Thursday.

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Score Prediction

Leicester City 1 – 1 QPR – With both sides having arguable nothing to play for, a score draw seems likely.

Should these two MLS strikers have joined United & Arsenal stars in England team?

England manager Roy Hodgson has just announced the squad for the upcoming international matches against Ireland in a friendly and Slovenia in the European Championship qualifier, but once again, no players from outside English football have been selected.

Charlie Austin of QPR and Jamie Vardy of Leicester City have both been included in the squad for the first time and complete the list of strikers alongside Manchester United and England captain Wayne Rooney, as well as Arsenal‘s Danny Welbeck.

But should Hodgson have looked further afield than just the Premier League? It’s unlikely that Rooney or Welbeck were going to be dropped, so how do Austin and Vardy’s performances this season compare to two Englishmen in MLS over the course of 2014 and 2015?

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New York Red BullsBradley Wright-Phillips and Sporting Kansas City‘s Dom Dwyer are two of the most prolific striker’s in MLS, so here is a breakdown of their numbers weighed up against Austin and Vardy’s:

Austin and Vardy vs BWP and Dwyer

Austin, Vardy, Wright-Phillips and Dwyer’s stats in 2014/15 (Stats via Squawka)

The stats show that Bradley Wright-Phillips has contributed to an incredible 0.85 goals-per-game, which is more than double the amount that Jamie Vardy has for Leicester.

Dom Dwyer also contributes to more goals-per-game than Vardy but isn’t quite as productive as Charlie Austin has been for QPR.

Many will point to the fact that MLS is arguably a weaker league than the Premier League but it’s worth noting that the quality of play in MLS has risen considerably in the last few years, therefore making Wright-Phillips’ and Dwyer’s achievements extremely impressive.

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The last time a player outside of the English football league system featured on international duty was when David Beckham played in a 3-0 win against Belarus in October 2009 while he was playing for LA Galaxy – also an MLS side.

Could the next player from outside English football to feature at international level also be from Major League Soccer?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: QPR vs Chelsea

Competition: Premier League – Queens Park Rangers vs. Chelsea

Venue: Loftus Road – Sunday, April 12th – 13:30 BST (08:30 ET)

Match Odds: QPR 15/2 – Draw 15/4 – Chelsea 4/11

Match Preview

Queens Park Rangers host Chelsea in this fiery West London derby clash which will surely see repercussions if one loses.

It was in this fixture back in October 2011 when Chelsea captain John Terry was accused of racially abusing former hoop Anton Ferdinand, whose brother Rio is now on the books at QPR and this is just the second Premier League fixture between the two since that game.

The match will be the second this week for QPR, after drawing 3-3 at relegation rivals Aston Villa on Tuesday, but this time Rangers will be back on home turf, and it’s at Loftus Road where they have picked up most of their 26 points this season.

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QPR will be feeling confident after what turned out to be a comfortable afternoon at the Hawthorns last weekend, beating West Brom 4-1. The R’s were 3-0 up at halftime in that game, and a fast start against the Blues on Sunday will put them in a good position to win.

QPR do have a good record against Chelsea at Loftus Road, winning twice, drawing twice and losing just once.

The Hoops are just two points adrift of Hull City in 17th, but the Tigers have played a game less and time is running out for QPR to retain their Premier League status going into next season.

Chelsea have been able to enjoy a bit more rest time as they haven’t played since last Saturday in that 2-1 home win against Stoke.

Jose Mourinho will have told his players that this match is a must win so they can try and wrap up the title sooner rather than later. Getting 15 more points will see Chelsea lift the title for the first time in five years and supporters will see an away trip to QPR as a winnable one.

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The match will be see Jose Mourinho manage against Queens Park Rangers for just the second time in the Premier League.

Chelsea can also take confidence from the fact that they have taken the lead in 12 of their last 15 matches and haven’t lost since January 1st against Tottenham Hotspur.

The return fixture saw Chelsea run out 2-1 winners at Stamford Bridge, with goals from Oscar and Eden Hazard for the Blues and Charlie Austin for QPR.

Team News

Queen’s Park Rangers will be without Eduardo Vargas, whose season ended last week at West Brom with a knee ligament injury. Richard Dunne and Leroy Fer will also miss out but are due back in training next week. The good news for QPR is that Darnell Furlong is due back after returning from his calf injury.

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For Chelsea, top scorer Diego Costa has been ruled out for two weeks with his latest hamstring injury setback that saw him have just 10 minutes of action last time out against Stoke City. Cesc Fabregas has been in Milan in the week to get a protective face mask after his broken nose sustained against the Potters but is expected to feature.

Key Points

Chelsea’s last five: W/D/W/D/W

QPR’s last five: L/L/L/W/D

Key Stat: If Eden Hazard starts it will be his 100th for Chelsea. He scored the winner at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season.

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Key Player: Charlie Austin – He scored in the reverse fixture and will be full of confidence after scoring two goals in his last two games.

Score Prediction

Queens Park Rangers 1-1 Chelsea – This derby should be tight despite the gulf in class and a draw looks the most likely result, although that won’t help Chelsea in their quest for the title or QPR in the bid to avoid relegation.

Did Charlie Austin and Danny Ings deserve an England call-up?

The England national team are set to take on Lithuania in a Euro 2016 qualifying match at Wembley on Friday night in a game where manager Roy Hodgson will be expecting his side to cruise to victory.

The Three Lions will then travel to Turin to take on Italy on Tuesday, March 31, where Hodgson could rotate a few players and trial any new ideas.

The England boss always faces a tough decision when it comes to team selection and he has undoubtedly left a few players disappointed at not being selected despite their valiant efforts this season.

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In terms of attacking options, here are the four strikers Hodgson has selected: Harry Kane, Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck.

The most notable attacking players to miss out are Charlie Austin, Danny Ings and Saido Berahino as all of them have had excellent season’s.

Danny Ings has been selected for under-21 action, as was Saido Berahino but the West Brom forward has since been removed after he suffered a foot injury at Manchester City on Saturday, so he will be unable to play anyway.

But how do the selected strikers compare statistically to those left out?

England strikers

English strikers in the 2014/15 Premier League season (stats via Squawka)

There is no doubting that Harry Kane is worth his selection as both his performances and statistics this season are second-to-none having scored more goals and contributed more goals-per-game than any other player.

Wayne Rooney is the country’s captain and therefore automatically fills a spot – that’s not to say that he isn’t worth his place as the Manchester United man has still contributed an impressive amount considering he’s been deployed in midfield for large periods of this season.

The man who will be most disappointed is QPR‘s Charlie Austin. The 25-year-old has contributed more goals than any other player besides Harry Kane, and has also got the best shooting accuracy out of anyone.

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With 15 goals in the Premier League this season at a club that looks set to be relegated, it’s an impressive achievement and he may have been expecting a phone call from Hodgson, but it wasn’t to be this time.

It’s worth pointing out that Austin has seen a dip in form in the last three months with just three goals in 11 appearances, which could be a crucial factor that’s affected his chances and something Hodgson will have noticed.

Danny Ings has performed similarly at Burnley and may feel slightly unfortunate not to get the nod having contributed more goals-per-game than both Sturridge and Welbeck.

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Saido Berahino is the weakest candidate statistically out of the three most notable absentees from the squad, but as previously mentioned, he would’ve been unavailable through injury in any case.

It appears that Hodgson has gone with the tried and trusted experienced players combined with new addition Harry Kane who he couldn’t leave out based on the Tottenham striker’s form this season.

Austin and Ings will continue to chomp at the bit and if they can fire either of their sides to safety then maybe they’ll get a chance next time round.

Michael Owen claims Crystal Palace duo are two of the best in the league – is he right?

Whilst commentating on the lunchtime kickoff between Crystal Palace and Queens Park Rangers, BT Sport commentator and pundit, Michael Owen made a bold statement regarding two of the Palace players.

During commentary, Owen stated that, in his opinion, Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha are “two of the better wingers in the Premier League”.

Regarding this comment, we take a look at stats and see whether the former England strikers is right.

Bolasie and Zaha have been important for Crystal Palace in recent weeks as they fight off relegation. Both were instrumental in the 3-1 win at home to QPR on Saturday, and are huge part of Alan Pardew’s plans going forward.

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But despite their solid form, there may be more effective wingers in the Premier League. Especially when you consider Palace are in the bottom half of the table.

The comment was made at a time when Palace were 3-0 up during the game and were dominating a defensively weak QPR side who are in the relegation zone. So are his comments justified?

From the statistics table we have created below (using the Squawka comparison matrix) you can see for yourself how the Palace duo compare to selected other star wide men.

Statistic Yannick Bolasie Wilfried Zaha Alexis Sanchez Eden Hazard Nacer Chadli Christian Eriksen Raheem Sterling Stewart Downing
Matches Played

25

22

25

27

25

28

26

27

Minutes Played

2005

1263

2089

2386

1637

2297

2239

2412

Goals 

2

1

13

10

8

9

6

5

Assists

6

2

7

6

5

2

7

8

Successful take ons (per game)

2.40

2.14

3.79

4.6

1.32

1.37

3.22

0.75

Chances Created (per game)

1.44

0.41

2.71

2.79

1.81

2.63

2.33

2.65

Key Passes (per game)

1.20

0.32

2.41

2.56

1.54

2.55

2.05

2.35

The table above can be misleading however. As a ‘winger’, Zaha and Bolasie do hold their width and rarely drift infield. Whereas, others like Christian Eriksen and Raheem Sterling do drift infield.

The main statistic that aids Owen’s argument is the successful take ons completed by the Palace duo. Both Zaha (2.14 successful take ons per game) and Bolasie (2.40 successful take ons per game) match up quite well with the elite wingers of the league.

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However, using the statistics, we can safely say that are better wingers in the Premier League than Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha in terms of productivity.

What do you make of Michael Owen’s comments? Who do you think is the best winger in the Premier League?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Crystal Palace vs QPR

Competition: Premier League – Crystal Palace vs. Queens Park Rangers

Venue: Selhurst Park – Saturday, March 14 – 12:45 GMT (08:45 ET)

Match Odds: Crystal Palace 7/10 – Draw 13/5 – QPR 4/1

Match Preview

Crystal Palace face QPR in a key London derby on Saturday lunchtime in the Premier League with both sides looking to get back to winning ways in the weekend’s opening fixture.

Palace lost their last game away at Southampton in the midweek matches just under a fortnight ago but they return to Selhurst Park for this one and have had a long time to prepare for the visit of QPR.

The Hoops took part in the only Premier League game last weekend but suffered a 2-1 defeat against Tottenham at Loftus Road and lost to Arsenal by the same scoreline three days earlier.

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QPR come into the game stuck in 18th place and are three points from safety with just ten games left this season and need to start picking up points quickly if they are to retain their Premier League status next year.

A short trip to Crystal Palace is a game they will see as a winnable one and their recent record against the Eagles should give QPR fans confidence as the R’s have not lost to Palace in their last seven meetings in all competitions.

Palace last beat QPR in 2007 but Alan Pardew has turned the club around since arriving in January and the Eagles have only lost three of their last ten in the league.

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The reverse fixture at the end of December saw the sides play out a goalless draw and QPR have lost seven of their last nine league games since.

Things aren’t looking good for Rangers and they can’t afford to lose another game with teams around them at the bottom only getting further away.

Team News

Palace have numerous absentees for the game on Saturday as Jordan Mutch (thigh), Jerome Thomas (muscular), Jonathan Williams (groin), Fraizer Campbell (hamstring) and Lee Chung-Yong (leg) all miss out through injury while Mile Jedinak is ruled out through suspension. Yaya Sanogo and Marouane Chamakh (both hamstring) could return while Glenn Murray will return after serving his suspension.

QPR will be without several players of their own as Alejandro Faurlin (knee), Richard Dunne (knee), Leroy Fer (knee) and Adel Taarabt (groin) will all miss the game through injury. Joey Barton remains out as he serves the final game of his three-match ban though Darnell Furlong could return after missing the loss to Spurs with a calf injury.

Key Points

Crystal Palace’s last five in the Premier League: W/D/L/W/L

QPR’s last five in the Premier League: L/W/L/L/L

Key Stat: QPR have lost 13 of their last 14 Premier League games and have scored just nine goals on the road this season.

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Key Player: Glenn Murray – The Crystal Palace forward has three in his last two for the Eagles but was sent off after netting twice in the 3-1 win at West Ham two weeks ago. He returns for this one and will look to pick up where he left off.

Score Prediction

Crystal Palace 2-1 QPR – The Hoops are in real trouble at the bottom of the table but have not beaten any of their London rivals this season and that doesn’t look like changing on Saturday, despite their good recent record against Palace. The Eagles are safe and are playing well so this should see them earn another three points as they look to confirm their safety.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: QPR vs Tottenham

Competition: Premier League – Queens Park Rangers vs Tottenham Hotspur

Venue: Loftus Road – Saturday, March 7th – 15:00 GMT (10:00 ET)

Match Odds: QPR 100/30  – Draw 14/5 – Tottenham Hotspur 3/4

Match Preview

Queens Park Rangers entertain Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday afternoon in the only Premier League fixture of the weekend.

QPR are still sitting in 18th after their midweek defeat to Arsenal, three points behind fellow strugglers Aston Villa, but with a game in hand over them and Burnley, who are sitting below them in 19th.

Tottenham Hotspur have fallen behind in the race for Champions League football, but if they can secure all three points in this tie they will be right back in the mix.

Spurs are six points behind Manchester United who are in that all important fourth spot, but the North Londoners do have this game in hand to make up the difference. The two sides face each other in their respective next fixtures after this game, so it is a huge chance for Spurs to gain ground.

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QPR’s spirited attempt of a comeback on Wednesday night gives them some hope for this tie and they always have the chance of causing an upset when playing at Loftus Road.

The managerial stand-in pair of Chris Ramsey and Kevin Bond, who were both previously with Spurs, are still with just one win in three games in charge and they are going to need to start picking up points, especially at home, if they are to stand any chance of avoiding the drop.

Tottenham thumped Queens Park Rangers 4-0 in the reverse fixture back in August and will be hoping they find a similarly high scoreline, as with the race for the top four so tight, goal difference could well play a part.

Team News

QPR will be without skipper Joey Barton who is serving the second of his three-match ban after his moment of madness at Hull City. Nedum Onuoha could also miss out due to the gash on his face suffered during a clash of heads on Wednesday. The Hoops will still be missing regulars Leroy Fer (knee), Richard Dunne (knee), and Alejandro Faurlin (knee).

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Tottenham Hotspur’s squad looks to be all in shape ahead of this tie and Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping his players will not be feeling the strain during this busy period. Squad rotation is key during the crunch point of the season and given how hard Spurs were made to work for their midweek win against Swansea and there could be some changes. Andros Townsend or Nacer Chadli could drop to the bench with Erik Lamela looking to force his way back into the first team.

Key Points

QPR’s last five in the Premier League: L/L/W/L/L

Tottenham Hotspur’s last five in the Premier League: W/W/L/D/W

Key Stat: Queens Park Rangers have won just one of the last seven meetings between the sides in the league.

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Key Player: Charlie Austin – The prolific goalscorer notched his 15th of the season on Wednesday and the focus of the game will be the comparison between him and fellow countryman, Harry Kane. QPR will desperately need their talisman to deliver if they are to take points from this tie.

Score Prediction

QPR 1-3 Tottenham Hotspur – The Spurs squad should be too strong for QPR, but this is a must win for both sides so despite a predicted two goal margin, this will be a close game.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: QPR vs Arsenal

Competition: Premier League – Queens Park Rangers vs Arsenal

Venue: Loftus Road – Wednesday, March 4th – 19:45 GMT (14:45 ET)

Match Odds: QPR 9/2 – Draw 100/30 – Arsenal 8/15

Match Preview

Queens Park Rangers welcome Arsenal to Loftus Road on Wednesday night for a London derby that has implications for both sides at opposite ends of the Premier League table.

QPR are currently 18th and positioned ominously in the relegation zone. However, they do have two games in hand over 17th placed Aston Villa and one game in hand over 19th placed Burnley as the battle for survival intensifies.

Arsenal recovered from last week’s devastating Champions League knockout round first-leg defeat at home to Monaco with a hard fought 2-0 win over Everton on Sunday as they look to keep on track for a top-four finish.

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Stand-in managerial team Chris Ramsey and Kevin Bond inspired QPR to an impressive 2-0 away win at Sunderland three weeks ago, but that’s the club’s only win in their last nine Premier League games (D2, L6). They also haven’t recorded a victory over any team in the top 12 this season.

The Hoops will be looking to take inspiration from their relatively good home form though, as 19 out of their 22 points have come when playing at Loftus Road.

Arsenal have been in good Premier League form with nine wins from their last 12 games, which has lifted them up to third place and the Gunners are now just four points behind Manchester City.

However, it’s still very tight and the chasing pack will be ready to pounce on any slip-ups with just seven points separating Arsene Wenger’s side and seventh-placed Tottenham who also have a game in hand.

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Goals from Alexis Sanchez and Tomas Rosicky helped Arsenal to a 2-1 win over QPR in the reverse fixture on Boxing Day, with Charlie Austin’s late penalty setting up a nervy finish, but the Gunners held on.

Loftus Road is one of the smaller pitches in the Premier League and QPR will try and make life difficult for Arsenal with a tight, compact performance, as they did back in March 2012 when a Samba Diakite strike helped them beat the Gunners 2-1.

Team News

QPR will be without skipper Joey Barton who is serving a three-match ban following his red card at Hull. Leroy Fer (knee), Richard Dunne (knee), and Alejandro Faurlin (knee) will all miss out through injury. Nedum Onuoha, Mauricio Isla, Niko Kranjcar and Sandro could return to the squad following injuries.

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Arsenal are still without the injured Mikel Arteta (ankle), Mathieu Debuchy (shoulder), Abou Diaby (calf), Mathieu Flamini (hamstring) and Jack Wilshere (ankle). Midfielder Aaron Ramsey will return to the squad following injury. Francis Coquelin took a knock to the face against Everton at the weekend and will be checked over by medical staff but will need to wear a protective face mask should he play.

Key Points

QPR’s last five in the Premier League: L/L/L/W/L

Arsenal’s last five in the Premier League: W/L/W/W/W

Key Stat: The last five Premier League games between QPR and Arsenal have finished 1-0 or 2-1 to either side, so we can expect a tight encounter.

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Key Player: Charlie Austin – The Englishman has notched 14 goals this season and QPR will need their free-scoring striker to be at his absolute best if they’re to get anything from the game. He can cause problems for any defence on his day so Arsenal will have to be wary of the threat Austin poses.

Score Prediction

QPR 1-2 Arsenal – This may not be a free-flowing classic and Arsenal may have to grind out a result against a QPR side fighting for their lives.