Swansea City begin their second successive Premier League season at QPR this weekend as they look to prove that they’re not just a one hit wonder in the English top flight.
Former manager Brendan Rodgers heads for a new challenge at Liverpool while Swans fans debate whether or not another managerial change will benefit them. Some believe we will because we`ll the potential predictability that Rodgers could have brought this year due to a lack of a Plan B, while others wonder if Laudrup can do the business in a League that he lacks experience in.
Although the Swans have lost their manager Brendan Rodgers and two influential midfielders – Gylfi Sigurdsson and Joe Allen, the club seem to have a natural habit and quality of being able to replace lost assets, as the majority of supporters remain upbeat about their chances of clearly avoiding a stressful relegation battle. Laudrup was arguably the most talented man linked with the job, and he has replaced the two departed players with last season’s highest scoring midfielder in La Liga – Michu, plus the talented de Guzman on loan. We also can’t forget loanee Steven Caulker, who returns to Spurs and has been replaced by Chico – a solid centre back who looks like forming a good defensive partnership with Ashley Williams.
QPR and their wealthy owners will be looking to establish themselves, like Swansea, as a recognised Premier League outfit and they’ll be hoping for a much improved season compared to the last, when they just survived relegation following the sacking of Neil Warnock and the arrival of Mark Hughes. Surely Rangers will have ambitions of a top half finish as they look far more equipped this year, with some well known Premier League players in their squad including Park Ji Sung, Bobby Zamora and Andy Johnson, plus their talisman Taraabt. They’ll also hope striker Cisse can curb his discipline problems of last season as he fired in 6 goals in 8 games but got sent off twice in 4 matches
Swansea Manager, Michael Laudrup:
‘This will be a great example of what we will face in a lot of games ? especially against teams in ‘our league’,’
‘We will probably have more of the ball than them ? that will probably be the case even in our away games.
‘And I think we can learn a lot from the game there last season, which I have watched a couple of times.
‘In the first half of the game Swansea had something like 65 per cent of the ball. It seemed quite easy, but suddenly in the 44th minute QPR scored after a free-kick and around 60 minutes it was 3-0 and all over.
‘Sometimes it’s the small details that count in games, and we have to learn that.
‘This team will leave the ball for us, but when they get it they will be dangerous in the transition. We have to cope when we do lose the ball.’
Talking about the opposition, Laudrup added:
‘They have signed some good players, but I think their style will remain the same,’
‘They are a solid team, a really strong team with quite a direct style.
‘They also know, like us, that they need to get most of their points at home.’
QPR Team News:
Courtesy of Vital QPR:
Samba Diakite faces a late fitness test tomorrow. Diakite has a slight knock on knee which could keep him out of tomorrow`s game. Bobby Zamora and Armand Traore are also doubts with knee and ankle injuries respectively. Park Ji-Sung, Ryan Nelsen, Fabio, Rob Green and Junior Hoilett are set for their debuts.
Possible line up:
Onuoha – Nelsen – Ferdinand – Fabio
Mackie – Park – Derry – Taarabt
Player to watch: Park Ji Sung
QPR picked up a bargain this Summer with the £2m signing of former Manchester United midfielder. Sung has experience of playing for one of the best teams in the country, his hard work, dedication, energy and overall ability in the middle third will be key to QPR`s season.
Swansea City Team News:
Michael Laudrup will assess whether or not to start want-away winger Scott Sinclair who has rejected a new contract at the club. Wayne Routledge will fancy his chances of a starting place on the left side of midfield.
With Steven Caulker returning to Spurs after his loan, Sigurddson joining him too after rejecting a chance to stay with Swansea, plus the sale of Joe Allen to Liverpool, there`ll be at least three changes to the typical starting eleven of last season.
There`ll be one change at the back, with Chico partnering Ashley Williams in the centre of defence. In midfield, loanee Jonathan de Guzman and new signing Michu look likely to start alongside Leon Britton, with Graham leading the line up front.
Player to watch: Danny Graham
The striker has been in good goalscoring form throughout pre-season and manager Michael Laudrup believes he has the potential to score 15-20 goals this year if he can avoid injuries.
Match Facts & Stats
Swansea City are looking to win their first ever match at Loftus Road.
Swansea City haven’t won their opening game of the season since 2005.
League Head to Head:
14 QPR wins, 12 Draw, 8 Swansea Wins.
Swansea City’s last win against QPR was at home in the Championship in 2009, a 2-0 victory.
QPR narrowly avoided relegation last season, finishing a point clear of the bottom three in 17th place, compared to Swansea’s solid 11th place.
Last season’s match at Loftus Road saw Swansea’s worst performance of the season, as QPR won comfortably 3-0.
Swansea City have a poor record in their opening games of the season, and with a change in manager, plus some new players, it may take a few games for Laudrup’s team to get into full flow in the Premier League.
QPR, with player changes, also face a similar test of adjustment, but they should win this with the home advantage on their side.
PREDICTION: QPR 2-0 Swansea City.
Predict the score in our new 2012/13 Prediction League here
With 21 predictions so far, there are 8 each for a QPR and Swansea City win respectively, with the remaining 5 being for a draw.
Most popular score predictions are 2-2 draw and 2-1 QPR win.
Swansea City face West Ham United at home next on Saturday 25th August, 12:45pm.