The 2014/15 Premier League season is shaping up to be one of the most competitive yet. As Queens Park Rangers prepare to make a return to the top flight, however, does Harry Redknapp’s side have enough to avoid relegation come next May?
Having bounced straight back from their relegation from the top flight 2 seasons ago, Rangers will be looking to learn from their past mistakes, and to make an improvement on the two year spell in the league that they managed last time. In truth, the Hoops only narrowly avoided the drop in the 2011/12 season, so they will be searching for a more comfortable ‘end of season finale’ this time around.
The club was heavily criticised last time they were promoted for buying big-name players without due thought or care. Rangers are fairly wealthy as far as newly-promoted sides go, but they do not have a good recent history of spending their money wisely. This year, with Harry Redknapp at the helm, the Rs look to have performed a little better in the transfer window.
The signings of Rio Ferdinand and Steven Caulker are arguably the most significant that the London club have made so far. On the one hand, Redknapp has at his disposal one of the most experienced centre-backs in the whole of world football. On the other, the manager can call upon one of the most exciting emerging talents in this country at present. The contrasting combination looks likely to work wonders for QPR, as both new faces appear equally exciting and appropriate.
With Mauricio Isla and Jordon Mutch also being added to the roster, Rangers look a bigger threat going forward. Isla will bring a wealth of knowledge and versatility into the side from Inter Milan, whilst Mutch proved himself to be one of the brighter lights in Cardiff City’s otherwise dismal season last year. He and Caulker will of course no one another, so it shouldn’t take too long for either to settle in.
The indications are that QPR have not finished in the transfer market either, and should Redknapp play up to his usual reputation, then supporters might expect at least a small flurry of activity on the last day of the summer. However, even if the club do decide to shut up their stall as of now, they might not be entering into next season in especially bad shape.
In goal they have England’s forgotten man, Rob Green. The former West Ham and Norwich number one still has plenty of talent to showcase, and he will need it next year. The likes of Clint Hill, Charlie Austin and Junior Hoilett are also expected to perform well next season – and if they do, then Rangers could be difficult to beat.
There is a core group of players at Loftus Road who are hungry to succeed at the second time of asking. There are some exciting new recruits coming into the set-up, and there is a vastly experienced manager to guide them all through it. Redknapp does not have a spotless record when it comes to relegation scraps and surviving them, but he could be a good bet to survive his next one. Such is the quality at QPR, they might not even find themselves especially involved!
Rangers are still amongst those sides who are expected to struggle next season, but perhaps only because of their status as ‘newly promoted’. Yes, they needed the play-offs to get back into the big time, but they look likely to prove a difficult team to overcome next year. Scoring goals could be there shortfall, but they are a balanced side, and will prove tricky to break down.
Can Queens Park Rangers avoid relegation? Yes. Yes they can.