Showing posts with label QPR. Show all posts
Showing posts with label QPR. Show all posts

Friday 17 August 2012

Swansea City vs QPR: Against all odds!

Football returns!

Well, football never really left us this summer, but the competition that really matters to Swansea City fans is back! (... that's the Premier League if you were wondering)

Maybe it's not wise to get too excited - it's well noted that Swansea often lose the opening game of the season. It's also well noted that Swansea lose away to QPR. Meanwhile the Swans have failed to score in five of their last six visits to Loftus Road and OPR are unbeaten in their last six Premier League games there. So Saturday's game doesn't really have 'Swans win' written all over it...

Still, this is a new Swansea side with a lot to prove and, kicking off their centenary season, is it possible that the team can come back with all three points? It will be the first time we'll see the Swans play competitively under Michael Laudrup – without Joe Allen, Gylfi Sigurdsson and, possibly, Scott Sinclair, but with Michu, de Guzman and Flores.

Trying to break the pattern of an opening day loss will be eleven Swans players - but which starting eleven will feature isn't as easy to predict as last season, when the team wrote itself.

It's safe to say we'll see Michel Vorm in goals and a back four of Rangel, Williams, Flores and Taylor is pretty likely, even though Kyle Bartley has joined and raring to go.

In midfield Leon Britton will be the first picked, and I assume we'll see Jonathan de Guzman and Michu join him for their first competitive Swans matches. Nathan Dyer will feature on the wing from the start and it's likely we'll see Wayne Routledge on the opposite side, if Scott Sinclair has gone by then. Finally, scoring the goals up front on his own (hopefully) should be Danny Graham.

QPR are a team nobody seems to like - I can understand why, with a host of obnoxious players, including Jay Boooooothroyd and Joey Barton (who naturally won't feature on Saturday), along with Adel Taarabt who is confident of a QPR win. Annoyingly QPR are not a bad team, despite a relegation battle last season, and have certainly strengthened over the summer.

While QPR players aren't the nicest around, the fans aren't too bad and Rory Mosedale from QPR Report has kindly shared with us his thoughts on the clash:

On Swansea - It's been a summer of change at Swansea - losing a manager is always tough, especially when it's someone as good as Rodgers. Laudrup was an interesting appointment to me, unproven in the Premier League and hasn't experienced much success in La Liga but he does try and get his teams to play the right style of football. I've been quite impressed with your summer signings so far; Michu is a very good player and should fit in well with your style of play. Sinclair is a bit hit and miss for me so if you get a decent fee for him then it's good business. I think Swansea are a good club who are going about things the right way. It seems a lot of Swansea fans don't particularly like QPR and want us to go down but I think we'll both finish comfortably in mid table.

On QPR – It's been a very exciting summer for the R's. Having finally cleared out the deadwood in the squad we signed Ryan Nelsen, Robert Green, Andy Johnson, Samba Diakite, Fabio, Ji Sung Park and Junior Hoilett, with one or two more coming in over the next few weeks. Everyone is buzzing at QPR right now, something you'll hopefully see on Saturday. No bad injury problems going into the game, midfielder Ali Faurlin won't be fit enough to start but he may come on from the bench. Jamie Mackie and Diakite could miss out but will hopefully be ready for Saturday. Taarabt always enjoys playing against Swansea and he's been on fire in pre-season so you can expect a good game from our Moroccan Magician. Cisse has also been firing in the goals so be weary of him.

QPR's likely starting XI: Green, Onouha, Ferdinand, Hill, Fabio, Park, Diakite, Hoilett, Taarabt, Mackie, Cisse (4,2,3,1)

Rory's score prediction: Swansea have a very poor record at Loftus Road and our team is looking very good. Will have to go for 3-0 to QPR 

It seems Rory is pretty confident and I guess nobody can blame him with the Swans' record at Loftus Road. Is this the season that Swansea stick the middle finger up to both the Loftus Road record and the first game record? I say... maybe. I cautiously predict a break of all trends with a 1-1 draw. That wouldn't be a bad result, all things considered.

If you're after a bet and want to follow Rory's 3-0 to QPR prediction, you'll find odds of around 18/1. My prediction of 1-1 is a less generous 5/1, while Danny Graham to find the net first is 7/1.

Pointless bet of the week: Fede Bessone to score a hat-trick @ 500/1.

Now only another few hours to wait until football starts again!

Friday 13 April 2012

Swansea City vs Blackburn Rovers: five in a row?

Before a quick look forward to the Blackburn game, let's rewind to that one against QPR.

I've been relatively quiet about the farce on Wednesday evening. Many others have been very vocal. Some fans seem to be panicking, some seem to be angry and some seem to be angry that others are angry. It's all very confusing. What is pretty straightforward however, is that Swansea were very, very poor (compared to recent standards) and must get, at the very least, a point on Saturday. A loss will not do.

Before I start complaining about the drought of wins (or even goals) to celebrate, let's remember that this is still the debut Premier League season. Perhaps most of us (the team included) have jumped ahead of ourselves - enjoying the 'Swanselona' nicknames and superb passing/possession stats a little too much.

It's great to see, but Swansea are not Barcelona. The Swans are still a smallish club and even finishing 17th this season will be a good achievement (albeit a little damp considering the club had graced the top ten a few weeks ago).

So, looking ahead to Saturday and that single point needed to thrust Swansea into supposed mathematical safety is still at large. Unfortunately, playing a team like Blackburn, currently in the relegation zone, proves harder at this stage as they have so much to play for. Blackburn, too, have lost four in a row and know another loss will just increase the pressure.

That point we crave will not come easily. Lest we forget, Blackburn did a number on the Swans back in December (4-2) with Yakubu smashing them in from anywhere he chose. While I doubt it'll be the same scoreline this time around, even a team facing relegation can be a big threat (need I refer to QPR again?).

Who will start then? Rodgers has a full strength team (minus Kemy Agustien) to chose from, but it's the same eleven we are likely to see again in the Liberty Stadium this Saturday, as the quality of the reserves is not that inspiring at the moment. I do think Nathan Dyer needs to start after Wayne Routledge has shown some inconsistency recently after a few very good games, and looks to be lacking confidence.

Generally, the team need to keep on going about what they've been doing so well for the last few months, but with more confidence and a little enjoyment. Yes, it's hard to play with confidence and a smile when you're out of form, but if you dwell on it, it could become the start of a downwards fall that may see Cardiff welcome us back to the Championship next season.

Okay, that is an extreme example. If Swansea win on Saturday, safety is technically guaranteed. This should have happened a few weeks back, but it wouldn't be Swansea City without some unpredictable results and some nervous moments, would it!

It's hard to predict a score for this one. Swansea are favourites with the bookies (at evens or thereabouts), despite poor form, though the Liberty Stadium crowd will play a big part in lifting the team. I think Swansea will win, and will say 2-0 (at 9/1).

Wednesday 28 December 2011

Swansea 1 – 1 QPR: Fair

I have a mammoth Swansea City 2011 yearly review on its way in the next 24 hours, but I have taken time out of compiling that to write a few thoughts about Swansea vs QPR.

Football returned to the Liberty Stadium on 27th December for a very entertaining game between Swansea and QPR. Both promoted last season, both in need of a win to repair a slight dip in form. Both, probably, felt they would have won it on paper and should have won it at the end of the game. But they didn't – it was a draw, and a draw was a fair result.

Swansea deserved to win from their first half performance. Again, very slick, easy-on-the-eye passing which resulted in the opportunity and goal for Danny Graham. Was it a handball from the striker? To be honest, it looked like. Should it have been disallowed? Probably, but, as you know, the ref wasn't having the best of days.

Graham had a good game overall, as did Leon Britton, while Kemy Agustien was strong in the centre (until he moved to right back). Michel Vorm had a few good saves and Joe Allen looked good, if slightly flustered.

However, Neil Warnock seemed to transfer his anger to his players and the second half became QPR's to win. The point that turned Swansea from 'cruising' to 'stumbling through' appeared to be the joint substitution of Dyer and Moore for Rangel and Routledge. No sooner had this happened, a flick backwards from Britton saw Mackie outrun Williams and draw level. Swansea looked disjointed from this point onwards and QPR could well have scored another two.

A stonewall penalty appeal was turned down by Mr Probert, cancelling out his earlier mistake which allowed the Swans goal. Probert seemed to have an odd game. The ref is said to have done a good job when he tends to keep out of the limelight, but Probert was all over the place – frustrating both teams in equal measures. As mentioned, he allowed Graham to handball, but turned down a clear penalty. He wanted throw-ins retaken and allowed players to talk back too often. He even got in the way of a Joey Barton run, which nearly ended in a Swansea goal.

Though a point is obviously better than a loss, the game against QPR was one Swansea should've grabbed by the scruff and put away before half time. However, like we've seen a few times already this season, they've let the opposition get back into it. With Spurs rampant anything more than a loss on Saturday will be an exceptional result. Then again, Swansea seem to perform better when they are expected to lose, so a point or three isn't that unlikely.

At 14th in the Premier League table, Swansea are in a dangerous place, but it's not time for panicking yet. At halfway through the season they're looking like a team that are “almost there”. Some tweaking with the final third – maybe another capable striker – in the transfer window and I'm still confident of a top ten finish this season.