Queens Park Rangers did a great job last year by cementing their place in England`s top flight for another year and now manager Mark Hughes looks to bolster his squad options during the summer. The club have been linked with many players since the end of the season with many players heading in and out of Loftus Road.
One departure which will not be shock for anyone is the proposed switch of Joey Barton to Sheffield United as manager Dave Jones is said to be extremely keen on bringing Barton into his squad for the upcoming season. Barton has been in the middle of much controversy during the course of last season none more so than the horrible scenes at Eastlands on the last day of the season where he was sent off for a flailing arm which hit Carlos Tevez and then his knee to the back on Sergio Aguero. Mark Hughes is thought to have had enough of his former captain and now wishes to offload the player with the likely destination being with the blades.
Hughes has done great work so far this season with none so astounding as him bringing in former Manchester United midfielder Park Ji Sung after the player had found opportunities for first team football few and far between at Old Trafford. Park who had been at Old Trafford ever since he signed back in 2005 had a great run at united winning eleven trophies during his time with the former champions but as he found it hard to nail down a place in the starting eleven Hughes quickly swooped in and managed to secure the players services for the upcoming season.
QPR fans will again be boosted by the commitment of the Moroccan international Adel Taarbat as the player has now ended all speculation of him leaving the club by choosing to sign a new one year extension to his current contract. Many clubs including mega rich Paris St Germain had been interested in signing the player as his future was not certain but now with this new contract he looks all set to remain at Loftus Road for the foreseeable future.
On the way out of the club is Paddy Kenny who has been QPR`s outstanding goal keeper for many years after the player enjoyed interest from Leeds United who he has just signed a new three year contract with. Hughes is said to have grown less confident in the keepers abilities as of late and this has prompted the keeper to search for a regular place elsewhere.
Teemu Pukki scored twice as Norwich extended their lead at the top of the Championship with a delightful performance that was marred only by a late red card for Emi Buendia
Teemu Pukki bagged a brace as 10-man Norwich cruised to a 4-0 win over managerless QPR at Carrow Road to take another giant step towards a return to the Premier League.
The Canaries were in a different class to a ragged visiting side and could easily have won a one-sided encounter by a bigger margin, despite having Emi Buendia sent off midway through the second period for a badly-mistimed challenge.
That’s it for today’s blog. Thanks for your company, and thanks to Norwich for 90 minutes of sheer delightful football. Bye!
There are some big Championship games this afternoon, including Birmingham v Leeds and Preston v Sheffield United. You can follow those and more with Ben Fisher.
Peep peep! That was a charming performance from Norwich, who passed a lumbering QPR side to death and all but secured an eighth consecutive win in the first 12 minutes. The only downside was a needless red card for the brilliant Emi Buendia, but that aside they were a pleasure to watch.
89 min Another Norwich change: Tom Trybull is replaced by Jordan Rhodes.
88 min Osayi-Samuel misses a good chance for a consolation goal, splashing a half-volley high and wide from the corner of the six-yard box.
87 min Teemu Pukki walks off to an ovation, with Moritz Leitner replacing him. Pukki scored twice and played superbly.
Teemu Pukki gives Norwich fans a happy ending. Zimmermann scooped a ball forward from inside his own half, Hernandez blocked the covering defender Lynch and that allowed Pukki to surge through and ram the ball high into the net.
83 min Norwich are working so hard to keep their clean sheet, and if anything their intensity has increased since Buendia was sent off.
80 min A Norwich change: the superb Marco Stiepermann is replaced by Todd Cantwell.
79 min Leistner rakes a fantastic long pass to Osayi-Samuel, who zips into the area before being dispossessed by the tireless Pukki.
76 min The substitute Osayi-Samuel beats Aarons with a stepover and drives a low shot that slithers through the hands of Krul, who is fortunate to claim the ball at the second attempt.
75 min Another QPR challenge: Bright Osayi-Samuel replaces Pawel Wszolek.
73 min That’s a real shame for Buendia, who scored one, made two and was the best player on the pitch.
72 min I thought Buendia’s tackle was pretty similar to Leistner’s challenge on him a few moments earlier, more scissor than two-footed. Leistner wasn’t booked; Buendia was sent off. That said, I haven’t seen a replay yet so it may have been more dangerous.
71 min There are boos all round the ground and Buendia looks shocked. It was a zealous challenge on Scowen with both feet off the ground and, though I thought it only merited a yellow card, it was a stupid and unnecessary tackle.
71 min “Rob,” says JJ. “Could I just weigh in on the not-the-answer question? As a Spurs fan, I don’t think Sherwood has had the word ‘tactics’ explained to him - and watching his teams answers the question: ‘What if you had someone pick what they thought were the best eleven players and just told them to run around a lot and score goals?’”
You say that like it’s a bad thing.
70 min Leistner is lucky not to be booked for a scissor tackle on the breaking Buendia.
67 min “Might the Sport Guardian overlords be planning coverage of the Bundesliga sechs-punkter this evening?” asks Ian Copestake. “Not that I’m addicted to quality banter-based football coverage or anything.”
You’re darn tootin. It won’t be Bundesliga Bobby, though, as I’m on the FA Cup semi-final.
65 min Buendia misses an excellent chance, curling over the bar from the edge of the area after fine play from Stiepermann. This is joyous, joyful football from Norwich.
64 min A classy flick from McLean sparks yet another charming passing move from Norwich, which ends when Lewis’s low cross is blocked.
63 min The second half has been more evenly matched, mainly because Norwich have subconsciously declared at 3-0.
60 min A brilliant, determined run from Hernandez, who plays on despite being fouled at least twice, leads to a corner for Norwich. Nothing comes of it but that was lovely play from Hernandez.
59 min Another change for QPR: Josh Scowen replaces Geoff Cameron.
57 min QPR win a couple of corners in quick succession, prompting their fans to dance around in mock delight. The second of those corners brings an excellent save from Krul, who plunged to his left to palm Furlong’s downward header off the line.
53 min Norwich don’t quite have the same intensity as in the first half, which is understandable in the circumstances. QPR are just waiting for the relief of the final whistle.
52 min The QPR caretaker manager John Eustace is scribbling something on a piece of paper. It looks important. Mind you, so did Jackie Treehorn’s scribbling.
50 min “I take exception to Michael Hann’s assertion that QPR lose every bloody week,” Darren Leathley. “As a Leeds supporter, I wonder how the bloody hell we lost to them. Twice.”
49 min After yet another fine move, Lewis’s dinked cross from the left skims off the head of Buendia at the far post. Lynch did well to put Buendia under enough pressure to ensure he couldn’t get a clear header.
47 min “Afternoon Rob,” says Matt Loten. “I’ve not had a chance to watch Norwich so far this season (yet I’ve managed to catch Pulis’s Boro perform crimes against the beautiful game on at least five occasions) and their football is certainly brightening up a drizzly day on the banks of Loch Long. The other half is on a dive instructor training course, splashing about in the dark, freezing water, so I’ve done what any sensible person who finds themselves situated amongst the dynamic scenery of the Scottish Highlands would do: sought out the nearest pub, ordered a pint of bitter and sat down to watch a kickabout on the telly. Heaven.”
And the good news is they’re showing Swansea v Middlesbrough at 3pm.
46 min Peep peep! Norwich begin the second half.
“Do yourself a solid?” asks Sean Jones. “I have never heard of that saying. Tears of laughter. What does it mean actually.”
A wise man once said that no challenge should be faced without a little charm and a lot of style. Norwich have plenty of both, and a delightful display of passing and movement has taken them to the brink of their eighth consecutive league victory. This game isn’t finished, but it is over.
45 min Stiepermann curls a dainty free-kick onto the roof of the net. Lumley had it covered.
43 min Lynch is booked for taking an old-fashioned shortcut through the back of Stiepermann just outside the area.
42 min “Steve McClaren said he paid the price for QPR being inconsistent,” writes Michael Hann. “Hardly. QPR have been incredibly consistent this year. And they’re keeping it up today. The most consistent team in the Championship. Losing every bloody week. Terrible every bloody week.”
It’s a good thing they already have 44 points, because it’s hard to see them picking up many more.
40 min The scariest thing about this first half is that the scoreline seriously flatters QPR. Norwich have been wonderful.
That was a gift for Norwich. Freeman played a dreadful pass towards Lynch just outside the QPR area. Buendia read it and guided a simple ball through to Pukki, who slipped it past Lumley from 10 yards.
Teemu Pukki gets his customary goal.
36 min Buendia’s movement off the ball is so good. At the other end, Rangel’s snap volley from 12 yards is smartly saved down to his right by Krul.
35 min Buendia almost scores a gorgeous goal. After a meandering passing move, McLean waved a fine pass over the defence. Buendia stuck out a telescopic leg to control it on the run before hitting a low shot from a tight angle that hit the right leg of Lumley and dribbled into the side netting.
34 min Bidwell boots Buendia up in the air. It’s his last contribution - he has a knock and has been replaced by Toni Leistner.
33 min “Hi again Rob,” says Phil Withall. “We meet up for a lot of matches, numbers vary because of the time difference but it’s a good laugh. If anyone is interested @BrisCanaries is the Twitter link to contact.”
30 min McLean stabs a pass into the area for Pukki, who cuts the ball back perfectly for Hernandez near the penalty spot. He has a simple chance to make it 3-0 - but he drags it wide of the far post.
28 min Pass pass pass pass pass pass pass. This is a pleasure to watch, one of the most eye-catching performances I’ve seen all season.
25 min “Perhaps modern football could be rebuilt based on a swap system rather than transfers,” says Ian Copestake. “Obviously to get it going there would have to be a cull.”
24 min A huge crossfield pass finds Stiepermann on the left. He curls a sweet cross into the centre, where Lumley’s punch hits Buendia and rebounds just wide of goal. Norwich have been magnificent and could be 5-0 up already.
23 min “Evening Rob,” says Phil Withall. “I’m in the rather strange situation of being in a pub in Brisbane with twenty other Norwich fans, watching sumptuous football and having members of a hen party coming over to check what the score is even though I suspect football isn’t their priority. That is the power of Farke’s Norwich. Bringing people together the world over.”
That’s brilliant. Do you meet up for every game?
22 min Another chance for Hernandez. McLean slides a beautiful through pass to Hernandez, who lifts the ball back across Lumley and wide of the far post. He should have squared it to Pukki, who would have had an open goal.
19 min “These are grim times even for a QPR fan used to grim times,” says Roy Allen. “This game will likely get very ugly. Whilst the recent run has been abysmally poor, sacking McClaren without a replacement lined up seems like panic. All Les Ferdinand (great player, hero, terrible administrator) can suggest is his old pal Tim. I don’t care what the question is, Sherwood is not the answer. I’ll now check how many Norwich have scored while I’ve been typing this.”
I actually think Sherwood is a decent manager, although I usually don’t share that opinion in polite society. But you’re right, it does all feel a bit shambolic.
18 min This is painfully one-sided. Hernandez cuts infield from the left, using Buendia’s off-the-ball run by not using him, and cracks a low shot from 20 yards that is well saved by the diving Lumley.
16 min “Leaving aside that automatic promotion is not quite as done and dusted as you reckon, going up to the Premier League is weird for a small-medium club (and with a 27k capacity that’s what we are),” says Ben Heywood. “Yes, the glory of temporary success is a brilliant feeling - but then what do you do? Like a dog chasing a car, the chase is much more fun than the outcome, which is often a series of tonkings from the big boys, scrappy wins against the rest, a brief, Icarus-like moment if you have either splashed some cash or stumbled upon an outstanding talent or two and then a free-form, depressing tumble down the table and out of the league again when the aforementioned big boys nick your best players or your manager - or decide they’ll spend the sort of money that you just don’t have.
“I’ve followed Norwich all my life and seen all this happen many times over. I love watching us in the Championship - can’t we stay in it for a bit? Win back to back titles maybe? The Premier League odds are so stacked against a small club (and yeah, I know, Leicester - but even they had more money than we’ll ever have) that it just doesn’t feel fair any more. Gone are the days when a small provincial club can nearly win the thing as we so nearly did in the very first Premier League season! Still, I guess it’s worth it just to say that we managed it - and if our inclusion makes you feel better about the world in general, I’m all for it. On the ball City!!!”
14 min That was almost 3-0. Stiepermann ran onto a return pass from Hernandez and lifted the ball over Lumley from a tight angle, but Lynch came across to head it off the line.
14 min Do yourself a solid: watch a Norwich game before the end of the season. They are a quite lovely football team.
Buendia played a cute pass down the right to Stiepermann, who moved infield onto his left foot and drove a crisp low shot from 20 yards that went through the left hand of the diving Lumley. He probably should have saved it, though it was really well struck and he was also unsighted.
Game over, already.
9 min Norwich look too good for QPR at the moment. Their passing and movement is really lovely.
What a fine goal! Godfrey drives a long crossfield pass to find the full-back Aarons in all kinds of space on the right side of the area. He looks up and plays a precise low cross to the similiarly unmarked Buendia, who drags the ball into the corner from eight yards. It was beautifully constructed, a really neat move, although QPR’s defending was on the shambolic side of negligent.
5 min Norwich are already playing some lovely stuff. They look so confident and purposeful in possession. You’d hope so after seven straight wins, but even so, it’s very nice to watch.
2 min An early half-chance for Norwich. Buendia shovels a nice pass through the inside-right channel for Pukki, who looks offside but is allowed to play on. He moves into the area and slams a shot from a very tight angle that is claimed at the second attempt by Lumley.
1 min A good start from QPR. Cousins’ inswinging cross from the left is headed towards his own goal by the under-pressure Godfrey, and Krul makes a comfortable save.
1 min Peep peep! QPR get the match under way. They are wearing their fuchsia pink (sic) away strip; Norwich are in yellow and green.
They have been up and down a few times in recent years, but I suppose it’s better to be a yo-yo club than a dodo club. And those of us who used alleviate the extremities of puberty in the late 1980s and early 1990s will always feel the world is a slightly better place when Norwich are doing well.
‘What goes around comes around’ says McClaren’s predecessor
McClaren sacked after just one league win since Boxing Day
Queens Park Rangers have sacked manager Steve McClaren after a dismal run of form dropped them to 17th in the Championship – but their former manager, Ian Holloway, says he has no sympathy for the man who replaced him at Loftus Road.
“He took my job,” Holloway told talkSPORT. “I still had another year left at the club. I’m still being paid by them now. [McClaren] was talking to the chairman while I was in the job saying what he’d do. He hasn’t been able to do that. What goes around comes around.”
Birmingham’s owners brought the points deduction on themselves with some preposterous decisions. But why do these things keep happening to Harry?
Harry Redknapp used to tell a story, going back to his days as the manager of West Ham, that probably sums up why so many people within the industry, even those who are fond of his ways, usually take the policy that he can be pretty brazen sometimes when it comes to blurring the lines between the truth and, well, the other bits.
It goes back to the days when Slaven Bilic was a player at the club and had a buyout clause in his contract that allowed him to leave for £2.5m. Bilic had become disillusioned playing for a struggling team, where there was no money for elite signings, and went to see Redknapp one day to say he had been told Spurs wanted to pay the release fee.
Norwich leapfrogged Leeds at the top of the Championship after beating Hull 3-2 while Nottingham Forest, beaten 3-1 at home by Aston Villa, wasted a chance to enter the top six.
Middlesbrough, fifth in the table, lost 2-1 against Preston after Daniel Ayala was sent off early in the second half with the home side in front. West Brom remain fourth after defeating Swansea 3-0 and Derby are sixth after drawing 0-0 at home with Stoke. Swansea’s Bersant Celina lost his footing when running up to take a first-half penalty, made hardly any contact and the ball was cleared.
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