CaughtOffside 2012/13 Report: QPR – Season Review, Best Player, Worst Player & Grade

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A look back at the 2012/13 season for Queens Park Rangers.

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After somewhat fortuitously clinching survival on the final day of the season in 2011/12, Queens Park Rangers were expected to do much better this year with a host of big signings made by manager Mark Hughes in the summer.

Club owner Tony Fernandes provided Hughes with the funds to bring in as many as ten big signings in the transfer window, which most nostably saw Park Ji-Sung brought in from Manchester United, Julio Cesar from Inter Milan, Esteban Granero from Real Madrid, Junior Hoilett from Blackburn, Stephane Mbia from Marseille, and the free transfer of Jose Bosingwa, who had just won the Champions League with Chelsea. Brazilian full-back Fabio was also brought in on loan from Manchester United.

This ambitious spending filled the club with optimism, and many thought they may be challengers for a top four place, with new goalkeeper Cesar even admitting he felt they could compete for the title, but they were brought quickly down to earth after the opening day of the season, where they were totally outplayed and humiliated 5-0 at home to Swansea. £2million Spanish striker Michu introduced himself to the Premier League with two fine goals, and would go on to be one of the buys of the season, showing Rangers that it’s not always about how much money you spend, but about who you spend it on.

They faced some difficult early fixtures, losing 3-1 to Manchester City, but picking up a bit with a well-earned 0-0 draw at home to in-form Chelsea. They were then beaten 2-1 in a close game against Tottenham at White Hart Lane, but would have expected to start picking up points in their next games.

However, they lost 2-1 at home to newly-promoted West Ham and then 3-2 away to West Brom. They were unfortunate to lose to a late goal against Arsenal, but the pressure was really starting to mount on Hughes as it was clear that his expensively-assembled team were simply not gelling and not performing to anywhere near the required standards, as they maintained their winless start with a draw against Reading and a defeat to Stoke.

QPR Tony Fernandes Mark Hughes

A 3-1 home defeat to Southampton was the final straw and Hughes was sacked with his side languishing at the bottom of the table after the worst start imaginable. The club did however manage something of a coup with his replacement, hiring recently-sacked Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp as their new manager for the rest of the season.

Redknapp watched his first game from the stands as Rangers were beaten 3-1 by Manchester United at Old Trafford, and took charge of the team for the first time in a 0-0 draw with Sunderland. Things picked up as they drew their next two games with Aston Villa and Wigan, but the club’s first league win of the season finally came on the 15th of December with a 2-1 win over Fulham at Loftus Road, with Adel Taarabt proving the hero with both goals.

However, there was still plenty of work to be done as QPR then lost three games in a row against Newcastle, West Brom and Liverpool. They then pulled off one of the shocks of the season with a hard-fought 1-0 win against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, with Shaun Wright-Phillips firing a late winner for Redknapp’s side. This was the start of one of their best runs of the season, as they went unbeaten for five games, though the other four games were draws and were not doing enough to help the club climb the table, despite impressively holding Tottenham and Manchester City to 0-0 draws at Loftus Road.

Redknapp, as expected, spent big in the January transfer window to try and boost the club’s fortunes. QPR beat off competition from the likes of Newcastle and Arsenal for the signing of Marseille striker Loic Remy, and he was joined by Christopher Samba and Jermaine Jenas, as well as Andros Townsend on loan from Spurs.

However, in this time they were victims of a shock in the FA Cup, as visitors Milton Keynes Dons knocked them out with a 4-2 win. They were then comfortably beaten by Swansea and Manchester United, though in March they managed consecutive victories for the only time this season with back-to-back wins over Southampton and Sunderland. This gave their season some hope, though it was short-lived as they would not win again all season losing seven out of their final nine games and getting relegated with three games to spare after a 0-0 draw with Reading, which also confirmed their opponents as joining them in the Championship next season.

They gave a decent account of themselves in their final three games, losing by close scorelines to Arsenal, Newcastle and Liverpool, but that could not stop them from finishing bottom of the table with a very poor total of only 25 points, with just four wins and 30 goals scored all season.

Julio Cesar

Best player: Julio Cesar

The Brazilian goalkeeper alone could not save them, but he proved a good signing from Inter Milan with some impressive displays for much of the season, keeping QPR in some games that would otherwise have finished as complete thrashings. His form has attracted strong interest from Arsenal as he will surely find himself back in the Premier League next season. Special mention as well for Loic Remy and Andros Townsend, who did their best to lift the team with some fine form despite only arriving in January.

Worst player: Park Ji-Sung

There are almost too many to choose from, but Park Ji-Sung was a big disappointment after arriving from Manchester United. Many were surprised to see this key player sold by United, but he contributed nothing to Rangers’ cause despite being made captain with glittering career and experience of winning. Christopher Samba was also surprisingly bad after his big-money move in January.

Final grade: F

Definitely the worst team in the Premier League this season, deservedly finishing bottom after never truly looking like a team, merely a collection of over-paid players that had been thrown together by Hughes and Redknapp. They will surely lose many of their big names now that they’re in the Championship, though it’s hard to see who would want a lot of them given their displays this season.

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