Friday, 26 June 2009

QPR Story: 5th season: Still up there!

It has been a while since I last posted, and in the 15 games in between, a lot of good things have happened to QPR. Take a look at our results:

15 games. 8 wins. 5 draws. 2 losses. A very good return from my team, and as 3 draws and 1 loss came from the FA Cup and UEFA Cup, our return in the Premier League is even better. Particularly good results came against Tottenham, Shakhtar, Rangers, Aston Villa and Arsenal (even though it was a draw). We are out of the FA Cup unfortunately, but we are in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup against Sampdoria! I firmly believe that our team can beat them, so hopefully the semi-finals beckon for us for the first time since God knows when! We only have the UEFA Cup and Premier League to worry about now, so the players can not complain from tiredness if I play them consistently these last few games. I played the reserve team in the FA Cup, and the second legs of Shakhtar and Rangers. I plan to rotate a little in our last games, against lower placed teams, but I will definately not turn into Rafa Benitez! Now onto the league table, here you are:

As you can see, we are still flying high in 5th position, and 2 games in hand on 4th means we should be able to get into that Champions League spot. Whether we shall stay there until the end of the season remains to be seen, but I am very hopeful. We at least will get into the UEFA Cup via the league for the first time in my career, which is always good. We are also in touching distance of Manchester City in 3rd place; if we win our game in hand we will be just 2 points behind them, with 8 games remaining. It certainly is a very exciting period for our team.

Now onto player ratings. Top scorer is still Marius Niculae, with 20 goals in 30 starts. Second place is Ashley Young with 13, and Jack Wilshere completes the top 3 with 11 goals. Top assister goes to Ashley Young with an impressive 18. Second place is Chris Burke with 13 and Georginio Wijnaldum comes 3rd with 10. Best ratings go to Ashley Young with 7.30, Antonio Barragan with 7.26 and Franco Zuculini with 7.22. Impressive scores all round, with Ashley Young again being our best player. We just can't do without the guy!

Anyway, that is it for this week, so I wish you all the best and thank you for reading. Comments appreciated!

Friday, 19 June 2009

QPR Story: 5th season: Half way stage

Hello everyone. Now in my last post, we were 4th in the league, with a game in hand on the top 3. Our form has dipped ever so slightly, but we are thankfully still in a great position in the league. But first, our results:

Out of 15 games (12 in the league) we have achieved 7 wins, 4 draws and 4 losses. Particularly pleasing results came at home to Manchester United, at home to Newcastle, away to Dinamo Bucharest and of course the 5-0 home demolition of Blackburn Rovers. Disappointing results were Aston Villa, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea and Reading. Now let's see where this puts us in the league and UEFA Cup tables:

So we are 6th in the league, 2 points away from 3rd. This is massively encouraging as this is not just the early stages now, this is more than half way through the season! If we can keep this run going then who knows what hights we can reach! As for the UEFA Cup group, we qualified from it with relative ease, the only 2 defeats being 2-1 at the hands of Atletico Madrid. We have been drawn against Shakhtar of Ukraine for the 1st knockout round, and if we get past them we will play either Rangers or Club Brugge. I firmly believe we can get past Shakhtar, and I think we have a better squad than both Rangers and Club Brugge. If we do get past both rounds, we shall be in the Quarter-Finals, which will be very hard to progress from, but I am hopeful of going all the way to the Semi's.

Anyway, onto current January transfers. I will not post a screenshot, because there are too few names to warrant the use of one. I got in 2 players in January: Sebastian Dupont from Reading for £10.25m and Kieran Roberts from Aston Villa for £2m. Dupont is a 21 year old regen right back from Reading, and he is much better than current right back Antonio Barragan. My coaches tell me that he will become a leading Premier League right back in the future. At £10.25m though, he is a bit of a gamble, but one which I was willing to take, and as he scored in his debut game, I am confident he will do well for us. Kieran Roberts is a wonderkid AMR, who at just 18 years of age will become a star in my team in the future. I tried to loan him out to Championship side and affliated club Plymouth, but he refused to go unfortunately.

The only player I sold was back up right back Peter Ramage for £3.5m. As I had brought in Dupont, and Barragan was already better than him, I felt that he would not get a game here, so I sold him to Fulham. This is a significant transfer because he was the last link to the previous manager of QPR, the only player in my team that I had not bought. Now it is totally my team, and I can have no excuses from past managers faults now. Also, this sums up the need to give real managers time to build their own squad, as it takes up to 4 or 5 years to get a team that they really want! Of course some FM players can do it in less, but the whole, sell all the team, buy 18 players just doesn't work in real life.

Finally some player ratings, and here is a screenshot of peoples performances over the course of the season:

Some very interesting statistics there, including the fantastic form of Marius Niculae! 18 goals in 26 appearances is absolutely fantastic, and he is the second top scorer in the Premier League, with 15. Ashley Young is top assister with 14, and he has 10 goals as well to make him surely one of our key players. Antonio Barragan has been very good this season, contributing 5 goals to the cause, but he just doesn't have enough quality for me, so that's why Dupont had to be brought in. Barragan will obviously still get his fair share of games, but it's unlikely that he will start most of them.

Anyway, that's it for this post, next one coming up soon. Take care!

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

QPR Story: 5th season: Very good start!

Hello readers, hope you are well. Now in my last post we had just completed a thoroughly encouraging pre-season, and now I am pleased to report that the form and momentum has carried onto our first 14 games. Take a look:

Some great results there, 9 wins out of 14, with the other 5 games being losses. Results against Fulham, Portsmouth, West Ham, Everton and FC Twente really highlighted our improvement since last season. A last gasp win against Dinamo Bucharest was also pleasing, which leaves us in a good position to qualify from our UEFA Cup group. Disappointing results were few and far between, but a last minute winner from Atletico Madrid and a terrible defence of our League Cup trophy against Southampton did not make me happy whatsoever. But there may be other ways we can get into Europe, if you look at the tables... Take a look:

So 4th in the league, with a game in hand on 3rd and second. I was frankly astonished when I was taking the screenshots for this post, because I had only checked it after the Portsmouth game, when we were 9th. My centre back pairing of Papastathopoulos and Rusol have been the main reason for our success, and with Joe Mattock and Antonio Barragan being the wing-backs, our defence has been very solid. Marius Niculae upfront has been a revelation this season, topping our scoring charts, but the player ratings will come later. I am definately not thinking about top 4, but I am definately expecting us to finish in the top 10, and I think that we have a chance of snatching 6th with a few decent January signings. Hopefully we can do better in the FA and UEFA Cups than the League Cup though!

Now onto player ratings. Marius Niculae surprisingly leads our scoring charts, with a fantastic 11 in 12 appearances (10 starts), with Kevin Doyle following on 6, and 3 players including central defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos tied on 4. Assist wise, Ashley Young leads on 9, with Jack Wilshere and Kevin Doyle on 5 and 4 respectively. Best ratings are Niculae (7.41), Young (7.32) and Papastathopoulos (7.28). God that name is hard to spell!

Anyway, that is it for this post, next one coming up soon.

Friday, 12 June 2009

QPR Story: 5th season: Summer transfers!

Hello everyone, hope you are all well. Now in my last post we had finished a very credible 10th, but quite far away from 9th place Chelsea, 13 points away to be exact. I went into the summer window knowing that 5 positions needed to be filled (after quite a few fringe players were let go). These were: a back-up keeper, a top class striker, a top class centreback, a top class AMC and a back-up left back. I am happy to say that I filled all of these positions. Take a look:

 I am quite proud of these transfers, although they were very expensive, £42m! Wijnaldum is a fantastic AMC with bags of potential, and if I had signed him just 2 years previous, I would have had to pay only £3m. Ah well. Papastathopoulos (commentators nightmare!) is a top class centre back who was the shining light of Genoa, which is why I had to pay so much for him. Keirrison is a Brazilian striker who will surely bag me lots of goals. He will be my first choice striker alongside Kevin Doyle. Marius Niculae will have to warm the bench! Finally, Martin Fulop is a solid back up keeper, and on a free as well! You may have noticed that I have not signed a left back as I intended, but that's ok because I called up January signing Andrew Flynn to the first team squad. He can play RB and LB so I am sure he will be an integral part of my team in the next few years. He is only 19 years old though, and has a lot to learn. Anyway, onto the out section:

As you can see, I made the tough decision to let dependable Glauber, a fan favourite, go to Siena on a free. I could have squeezed £1m or so for him, but I chose not to because of his great 4 years of service to our club. He will be missed. Also, January signing Rafael Van Der Vaart had to go because he just wasn't up to the grade for where we want to be (in Europe). At £5.75m, I am laughing all the way to the bank, despite making a £750k loss. Back-up keeper Bogdan Lobont went to Valencia for £3m, Mourad Meghni to Ankaragucu for £1m and finally Damien Delaney, one of the 2 remaining players from before I took over alongside Peter Ramage, to Birmingham for £875k. I also released a lot of reserve players for free, as they were only projected to be decent Championship standard, which would send out the wrong message to the first team squad. Now onto my pre-season results, and the next few fixtures ahead:

Not the same kind of pre-season as last season, but a very solid start so far, results aganist Valencia and Zagreb being particular highlights. Liverpool is definately not a game I expect to win, but out of the first 5 games I would expect a win against Fulham and Leeds, with a point against Portsmouth. If that happens then I am happy.

Ok that is it for this post, next post coming up soon!

Saturday, 6 June 2009

QPR Story: 4th season: End of 4th season!

Hello everyone. Now in my last post we were 11th after having a terrible run of games, which was only brightened up by the League Cup victory. I am pleased to announce that we steadied the ship for the final 11 games, and had some good results. Have a look:

Some decent results there. The Portsmouth game was the most pleasing for me, purely because it was our first win in 9 games! Apart from that, Middlesbrough and West Brom were good away wins, and our last win was a demolition of Wigan, with Rafael Van Der Vaart grabbing 2 goals. Unfortunately I already accepted a £5.75m bid for his services from Werder Bremen so I would not witness him taking apart a record setting relegation team again. Somehow I am not too unhappy. Disapponting results included Reading at home, Chelsea at home (we beat them 5-1 in the reverse!) and the 4-1 beating at the hands of Newcastle. Liverpool was a vastly encouraging game, seeing as we scored 4 against a top team. Defence is definately an issue I intend to sort out in the summer, and along with a striker and an AMC, we should really become a great team for next season. Moving on, here is the league table, and it certainly is a position I am very happy with:

Surprise surprise, Arsenal win the league again! Wigan, Hull and Birmingham all go down, no major surprises there either. In between, on the other hand, there are a few surprising names. Recently relegated (in real life) Newcastle hold the 5th spot, Chelsea have dropped down to 9th, Wolves and West Brom are comfortably above the relegation places, and my QPR team are 10th! Another surprise is that table toppers Arsenal have actually been pushed hard this season, Liverpool breathing down their necks, and in the end only 2 points away. No such luck for the 2 Manchester clubs, being 9 and 11 points off 1st place respectively.

Now onto player ratings for the season. Top scorer is Kevin Doyle with an impressive 26. Second place goes to Marius Niculae with 13 and Ashley Young with 9*. Top assister is Ashley Young with 22*, Chris Burke and Hobbit Bermudez both grabbing 17. Top 3 ratings go like this; Chris Burke leading with 7.31, Joe Mattock and Ashley Young both getting an impressive 7.24.(*Ashley Young has been injured for 10 games out of our 11)

Before I leave you, I bring news from my Ivory Coast sideshow. My first 4 results have all brought comprehensive wins, although they were all against international minnows. We have a very weak World Cup qualifying group, and I fully expect us to win every game. There is one concern however; we have no goalkeeper. Now this is not a joke, I actually have no proper goalkeeper. Not even in the reserves or the U-18's. Thankfully we have a defender with a goalkeeper rating of 2, but this really worries me as we will not be able to progress very far in the World Cup itself with no registered goalie! Hopefully until then one will pop up from the U-18's or something, because otherwise I am pretty much screwed!

Anyway, this is where I leave you, so thanks for reading and a new post will be coming soon!