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Queens Park Rangers
West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
18 August 2012
• Loftus Road Stadium, London
Referee: L. Probert
• Attendance: 18072
Queens Park Rangers
Michu 8', 53'
N. Dyer 63', 71'
S. Sinclair 81'
James McManus at Loftus Road: A truly rotten day at the office for Mark Hughes sees his side propping up rest of the table after getting hammered 5-0 at home by Swansea. These are the sort of fixtures where the club should be looking to pick up points but they were simply out-classed by a slick, fluid and clinical Swansea side, with Michu mightily impressive on his debut to the tune of two goals. Second-season syndrome - there was both a for and against case for that theory at Loftus Road today.
Full time at Loftus Road as Swansea run out 5-0 winners over hosts QPR. Mark Hughes has been on the receiving end of an exasperating afternoon as his side attack in an attempt to capitalise on their midfield control and find an equaliser, only to be ripped apart by Michael Laudrup's side's surgical counter-attacks. Michu had in the first half benefited from Robert Green's weak save when his sweet strike fired the Swans ahead early in the first half, but his second came from a clinical finish after he ran on to meet Wayne Routledge's through ball. Routledge had benefited from the space left by QPR as they went in search of an equaliser to find himself in acres of space down the left flank before picking out the final ball. The pattern was repeated for the third goal, with Routledge setting up Nathan Dyer who finished smartly and went on to add a fourth from a precise pass from substitute Kemy Agustien. Scott Sinclair added a fifth with a strong left-footed strike to emphasise the scoreline and humiliate Mark Hughes' side. Michael Laudrup will undoubtedly be pleased with his side's cutting edge, having hit the bar twice in the first half from De Guzman set pieces even before taking advantage of space left on the counter. QPR meanwhile will reflect on their inability to create chances and capitalise on their impressive physicality in midfield, and hope to repair their start to the season and avoid a demoralising slide towards another relegation battle.
90' + 4'
The corner finds its way to Park, who blasts over the bar in the last kick of the game.
90' + 4'
Chico clears Diakite's cross, and QPR work the ball back into the box with Park trying to hang on to the ball near the left by-line, winning a corner for his trouble.
As the game draws to a close, a Swansea attack casually breaks down with the offside flag called. After QPR work the ball forward Adel Taarabt tries to play in Shaun Wright-Phillips down the right edge of the box but overhits his effort.
The Malian defensive midfielder impressed in the first half as his physicality helped his side win possession and control the midfield for long stretches, while he also demonstrated his technique in support of Adel Taarabt further forward. Those efforts have been futile however, and he is withdrawn with minutes remaining for the experienced Shaun Derry.
The corner is worked short from the left flank, and swung in by the newly introduced Mark Gower into Graham at the near post, but his effort trickles frustratingly wide.
Swansea are enjoying themselves now and when Agustien picks up the ball in QPR's half he finds Graham down the left flank, but when he cuts back he is unable to make the most of the effort with the ball going out for a corner.
Two-goal hero Michu is taken off for a well earned rest with Mark Gower taking his place.
Scott Sinclair adds a fifth! QPR are in disarray and concede possession in their own half. Michu picks up possession and rolls the ball to Sinclair, who had run inside from the right. Sinclair takes the shot with his weaker left foot but it nestles in the bottom right corner to add to the hosts' humiliation.
Newly signed striker Andy Johnson makes his competitive debut for QPR in place of Cisse. The pacey Englishman ran rampant against the Hoops for Fulham last season but will hope to feature in more promising situations than this.
Scott Sinclair, who was surprisingly left out of the starting line-up after being subject to transfer speculation, now appears on the wing in place of the scorer of the third and fourth goals.
Taarabt takes on the whole defence single-handed, running in from the left edge of the box jinking left and right before firing a shot into a Swans defender for a corner.
Swansea are calmly controlling possession in their own half.
Dyer times in an excellent run from the right flank, and is picked out with an inch perfect pass from the newly introduced Kemy Agustien. The midfielder looked up after receiving possesion and chipped the ball over the defence into Dyer's path and the winger controlled before calmly finishing.
Jonathan De Guzmán
Midfielder Jonathan de Guzman earns a well earned rest after an impressive display in the middle of the park, and is taken off in a like-for-like move for midfielder Kemy Agustien.
James McManus Live at Loftus Road: "Where has the QPR defence gone? With the onus on the hosts to come out and try and force play now, they're picked apart by Swansea on the break. Routledge is again at the heart of it, slipping in Nathan Dyer one-on-one, who coolly slots home past Green at his near post. This is a lesson if ever there was one in finishing off your chances when they come your way."
Hoilett cuts inside on the left before firing narrowly wide over the top left of the goal.
Mackie turns in the right side of the box forcing a save from Vorm.
Hughes finally makes a substitution, taking off Clint Hill with Nedum Onuoha moving across from right back to replace him, but the introduction of Shaun Wright-Phillips will come too late to make a difference.
The Swans have another promising attack as Routledge chips a ball over the out-of-position QPR defence from the right flank, but Graham's shot is blocked.
Dyer gives the Swans a 3-0 lead. It was a disastrous freekick for the Hoops, who had committed most of the team forward when the ball broke to Fabio. His ball back into the box was blocked, and Routledge picked up the ricochet and advanced confidently up the left flank. The QPR defence were again out of position, and he was able to pick out Dyer running into the box from the right flank, who finished into the bottom right corner with the outside of his right foot.
Yellow CardÁngel Rangel
Angel Rangel concedes a free kick on the left flank after Fabio wins a hand ball.
QPR have lost momentum after that dispiritingly clinical finish from Michu. A string of fould has broken up the flow of the game and now Swansea are holding the ball for longer periods.
Yellow CardFabio Da Silva
James McManus live from Loftus Road: This is quite quickly turning into a dream Premier League debut for not only Michu, but Michael Laudrup. After a poor lay-off by Djibril Cisse up the other end of the pitch, Britton intercepts before releasing Routledge, who hasn't been at the races all day, who then drives at the heart of the QPR back four before sliding a neat through ball into the path of Michu, who breaks into the box before curling a sublime effort into the top left-hand corner. Clinical from the Spaniard.
Adel Taarabt takes a freekick from the right flank but it fails to reach the box.
Yellow CardSamba Diakité
Wayne Routledge advances up the left flank after a QPR attack breaks down, and with the Hoops defence out of position, Michu burst through the gap on the left side of QPR's defence to receive the through ball before his expert finish curls the ball over keeper Robert Green.
Diakite works the ball up the pitch and plays a one-two with Taarabt before finding Hoilett on the left edge of the box. The winger tries to find Fabio on the overlap but is too casual and his pass is blocked.
De Guzman receives the ball back from Routledge and curls a pass first time into Michu, whose powerful header from the edge of the box flies wide. It was an impossible effort, but De Guzman's idea showed impressive technique and the ex-Villarreal midfielder has been involved in much that his side have done well today.
QPR appeal for a penalty after Hoilett plays a one-two at pace with Taarabt on the edge of the box before being brought down by right back Angel Rangel. However no foul is called and Diakite blasts the ball out of play with a shot from range.
Swansea get the second half underway!
Mark Hughes will be disappointed to see his team's powerful midfield display go unrewarded, but much of the match will depend on his half-time response. When Swansea attack they have committed men forward, relying on the pace of their defenders to deal with the threat of the counter-attack, but QPR's midfielders have rarely made runs beyond lone striker Djibril Cisse. Mark Hughes has the option of bringing powerful forward Bobby Zamora off the bench to give his opponents another threat up front to deal with, or the pacey winger Shaun Wright-Phillips to add fresh legs down the flanks. In taking risks going forward however, he will have to expose his side to Swansea's own speed down the flanks in the form of Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge.
Half TIme at Loftus Road! QPR have controlled the midfield for long periods combining physicality with technique in the form of Samba Diakite and Adel Taarabt, while Fabio has combined to good effect down the left flank. Swansea's early goal came from a sweet Michu first time strike on the edge of the box, but Robert Green will be kicking himself after the ball went in despite him getting a firm hand to it. That said, Michael Laudrup's team have looked sharp going forward when they get the chance. Jonathan De Guzman's purposeful runs and powerful set pieces have posed a real threat, from which his side have hit the bar once through Chico's header and once through Michu's volley.
45' + 2'
QPR seem to be waiting for half time, as Swansea keep possession between them meeting little pressure. They threaten towards the end as Routledge is released down the right, but his chipped cross falls far from Danny Graham.
De Guzman hammers in a freekick from towards the left corner flag and wins a corner. He proceeds to take the corner, and after Green can only parry, Michu is first to the rebound and smashes it against the bar.
James McManus Live at Loftus Road: "Cracking save from Green from a De Guzman free-kick and he redeems himself, sort of. However, from the resulting corner, Green is absolutely nowhere on Britton's ball in and Chico Flores strikes the post with a header at the back post. Close but no cigar."
Yellow CardJonathan De Guzmán
De Guzman's corner is met by Chico running in towards the far post, and his powerful header clatters off the cross bar with QPR clearing the danger.
De Guzman, known for his free kick speciality curves a powerful effort from well outside the box towards the left, and Green makes sure it doesn't find its way in conceding a corner in the process.
The two sides are arguing in the middle of the park after three robust, but ball-winning, challenges by QPR are met with complaints from their opponents. De Guzman is given a freekick for a sliding tackle from Diakite, who has in the past had disciplinary trouble.
Park controls the ball excellently after a run to the right corner of the box, and tries to chip in a crafty through ball to Cisse, but it runs through.
Swansea are being pressed heavily in their own half as they attempt to bring the ball out of defence.
Jamie Mackie wins a freekick near the right corner flag after being felled by Neil Taylor while trying to wriggle through. Taarabt's effort curves away from the near post as Swansea avert the danger and head clear.
QPR move the ball around at high speed and although they frequently lose control, they are consistently first to all the 50-50s and harrying the Swans until they concede possession. Samba Diakite and Adel Taarabt are controlling the midfield.
Taarabt cuts inside from the left stepping away from de Guzman, and hits a curving, stinging shot into Vorm, who can only parry the effort and is fortunate his defense is on hand to clear.
Swansea stroke the ball across the middle of the park as they attempt to bring the game under control, but Fabio dispossesses his opponent on the right wing and the moment neatly demonstrates how QPR are looking the more confident side at the moment.
James McManus Live at Loftus Road: "All QPR at the moment and Hoilett goes close again, latching onto an excellent clipepd pass over the top from Fabio after the ball broke from a corner, but his diving header flew just wide, with Vorm nowhere. Shortly after, the lively Fabio dinked in another decent-looking cross, which Djirbil Cisse could only flick behind for off the back of Chico for a corner."
James McManus Live at Loftus Road: Robert Green had an absolute mare here just eight minutes into the new season. After Clint Hill managed to get in a last-ditch tackle on Wayne Routledge on the edge of the box, the ball rolled out to Michu, who without a moment's hesitation, struck a sweetly hit first-time effort that squirmed underneath the body of the diving Green. In the competition of the two former players on the sidelines, it was advantage Laudrup early on. But it was an excellent reaction from the hosts. Hoilett is looking lively already and Taarabt has been heavily involved in the Hoops forward play, with both going close in the last few minutes since going behind. Swansea's new centre-back, Chico, has given the ball away a few times already early on and appears to be struggling with the pace of things - one to keep an eye on.
Ashley Williams has to be alert to head away the danger after Fabio cuts inside and aims a cross towards Djibril Cisse. The ball goes out for a corner, and Samba Diakite blasts into the arms of keeper Green when the ball breaks into his path.
The corner is taken short and eventually the danger is cleared. The ball rolls to Fabio outside the box, and the on-loan left back delicately floats a cross into the box which is met bravely by Hoilett. He beats the defenders to the header which loops wide, but keeper Vorm had come for it and was not in a position to make the save if it had been on target.
Adel Taarabt holds onto the ball with a couple of stepovers before finding Jamie Mackie on the right flank, who uses his strength to get past Routledge before hitting a cross off Fabio to win a corner.
Swansea hold on to the ball this time, as the side attempt to build from the back.
It is noticeable how Swansea have so far looked to attack quickly when they have the ball, building moves directly using the technique and pace of the likes of Jonathan de Guzman and Wayne Routledge to carry the ball forward quickly. QPR have enjoyed more spells of possession, and have taken several dangerous shots already.
A string of QPR shots are blocked, starting with Adel Taarabt's firm drive from the edge of the box which was stopped by right back Angel Rangel. Fabio ends the move when his shot flies over the top right corner of the goal.
Junior Hoilett receives the ball by the left by-line and cuts inside from the left flank before curling a shot narrowly wide of the far post.
Adel Taarabt shoots from the edge of the box and when his shot is blocked by a defender it ricochets into the chest of Jamie Mackie. Mackie manages to run after the ball and shoot low from inside the right corner of the six yard box, but keeper Michel Vorm gets a strong hand on it and defender Chico is able to clear it off the line.
Jonathan De Guzman picked up the ball when QPR were dispossessed in the middle of the park, and fed Wayne Routledge who cut inside from the left flank and advanced confidently up the middle of the park before finding Nathan Dyer who had made a run into the box from the right flank. Dyer laid the ball off to Michu who smashed the ball first time with his left foot, low and hard to the bottom right corner. Keeper Robert Green got a firm hand to it and will be disappointed it found its way into the net.
Park Ji-Sung runs inside the right channel to receive a well-weighted through ball from central midfielder Samba Diakite, but his low pass to the edge of the box is cut out by the defence.
QPR's mercurial playmaker Adel Taarabt holds the ball up and assesses his options, allowing his team to pour forward, before attempting a speculative ball to Jamie Mackie on the right wing which runs out of play.
Jonathan De Guzman, signed from Villarreal and hoping to replicate Joe Allen in midfield, catches the eye in the second minute after accelerating down the pitch from deep in midfield, but seconds later he takes on too much and is dispossessed, laying his side open to the counter.
Fabio draws the first cheer from the crowd as he burst down the left flank on the overlap from left back before his cross is intercepted by Chico.
QPR get the match underway at Loftus Road.
Michu was signed from Rayo Vallecano after a highly successful first season in La Liga in which he scored 15 goals. There are high expectations of the attacking midfielder as he hopes to replace the influential Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Michael Laudrup leaves out winger Scott Sinclair, who has been the subject of heavy transfer speculation, with Wayne Roytledge taking his place on the left. Centre back Chico makes his debut, as do midfielders Jonathan De Guzman and Michu.
QPR include as debutants the versatile attacker Junior Hoilett who arrived from Blackburn after a lengthy transfer tussle, alongside midfielder Park Ji-Sung and left back Fabio, who each signed from Manchester United. Adel Taarabt looks to get the chance to impress in a free role behind lone striker Djibril Cisse, as Bobby Zamora starts on the bench.
Swansea: Vorm; Rangel, Williams, Chico, Taylor; de Guzman, Britton, Michu; Dyer, Graham, Routledge. Subs: Cornell, Tate, Moore, Agustien, Gower, Richards, Tremmel.
QPR: Green; Onuoha, Ferdinand, Hill, Da Silva; Mackie, Park, Diakite, Hoilett; Taarabt; Cisse. Subs: Murphy, Derry, Johnson, Wright-Phillips, Nelsen, Dyer, Zamora.
Meanwhile, Danish international legend Michael Laudrup arrived at Swansea following the departure of manager Brendan Rodgers to Liverpool. The Northern Irishman had exceeded expectations with a pleasing brand of possession-based football, and key players Steven Caulker, Joe Allen and Gylfi Sigurdsson left in the wake of his departure. The Swans will hope to adjust quickly to their new set up as the season gets underway.
Both teams will be anxious to get the new season off to a good start. Mark Hughes side narrowly avoided relegation on the last day of the season having been saved by a run of five consecutive home wins. The Hoops have made considerable reinforcements since then and will hope to stay well clear of the relegation battle this time around.
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's Live Commentary of QPR's opening match of the new Premier League season against Swansea, kicking off shortly at 1500 at Loftus Road. I'm Arthur Virgo here to talk through the events.
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