QPR go into the new season in the Championship as clear favourites, for some reason. The squad is good enough to get them back but is the team? The strength in depth is there, the manager is there, the new turf looks gorgeous, even the kit looks nice for once but that’s not always enough. When the team sheet came out I have to admit I was a bit surprised with some of what was going on, and so was Twitter. Most QPR fans on Twitter were predicting with Karl Henry and Joey Barton on the same pitch in the same team that it would result in bloodshed, chaos and just basically the end of the world. Joey Barton in the team at all surprised a few people with him not playing any pre-season games and with him clearly not wanting to play for QPR anyway; but like it or not Joey Barton is a good footballer, luckily for him. Richard Dunne wasn’t fully fit and Harry felt that he wanted the little and large pairing of Zamora and Andy Johnson to start the game leaving new signing and new number 9 Charlie Austin (3:16) on the bench.
So it began, after the panic of finding an online stream with English commentary passed I started to feel nervous. QPR looked hungry, fit and up for it. Hoilett looked good on the ball and the defence looked solid(ish). We were creating chances, forcing Sheffield Wednesday hat-wearing goalie Chris Kirkland into some good saves early on. Then Sheffield Wednesday started to get into it, new signing and all round massive bloke Adthe Huhiu was winning headers and looking dangerous. Then it happened, QPR were punished for letting Wednesday into the game and not putting away the couple of good chances they’d created when Huhiu put one away from just outside the box with a scrambling Robert Green cursing his own footwork as he gets a hand to the shot but can’t deflect it wide. The QPR Twitter community started to moan again, it suddenly looked really bleak and we might as well play plan for League 1 next season; getting up Google maps and seeing how easy it would be to get to Rotherham. There was no need to panic, QPR still looked comfortable on the ball, Karl Henry was quietly going about his business, Faurlin looked every bit the player we all know him to be and AJ was chasing every loose ball. It paid off on the 40 minute mark with a stray Hoilett shot being turned in by Nedum Onuoha and three minutes later a Joey Barton header that was saved by Kirkland fell to the feet of Andy Johnson who rifled it home.
QPR faded a bit in the second half with Michail Antonio missing an absolute sitter and Joey Barton starting to mis-time a few tackles and shouldn’t had a penalty decision given against him for bumbling over Jacques Maghoma, with Maghoma actually getting booked for diving. In the end I think QPR showed their quality with holding on, the strength in depth was evident with the likes of Austin, Wright-Phillips and Jenas all coming on and it ended 2-1 to the Superhoops.
All in all a good day for QPR, anything would be better than the shambles that was last season I’m sure fans would tell you. I think we learned a lot from this performance, of how QPR will line up and the fact that their quality in the squad may shine through in a lot of games and grab them results. There’s still a lot to be decided before the transfer window shuts. Joey Barton still wants to play in France, in-demand keeper Julio Cesar wasn’t in the squad, neither was Ji-Sung Park, Adel Taarabt or Newcastle-bound Loic Remy. They’ll all be decided in the coming weeks with I’m sure a couple more additions to the squad; Matty Phillips from Blackpool being one of them if we’re to believe reports. Personally I’m just looking forward to actually winning a couple of games to be honest.