Saturday, August 25, 2012

Norwich City vs. Queens Park Rangers

Two of last season's promoted teams play against each other at Carrow Road after chastening 5-0 defeats on the opening day of the season. After a horrendous defensive display, manager Chris Hughton is probably going to slot new signings Sebastian Bassong and Javier Garrido into the first eleven straight away.

Despite the alarm bells ringing, Bassong's pairing with Michael Turner as centre-backs should give Norwich a decent enough foundation in defence. Robert Snodgrass had a rough introduction to the Premier League, so Hughton might consider bringing Wes Hoolahan's all-action style back into the team, with the former Leeds United man brought in later in the game to make an impact. Andrew Surman and Anthony Pilkington will be relied upon to provide the crosses for Grant Holt to bury goals in the familiar confines of Carrow Road.

QPR were all over the shop in the home thrashing they received at the hands of Swansea. After conceding the first goal, Rangers seemed to have lost all confidence and composure. Mark Hughes will have to ring in some changes to ensure a repeat doesn't happen.

Jose Bosingwa could replace either Fabio or Nedum Onuoha after both put in shocking performances. Some better defensive cover is needed at centre-back, and Hughes may have to sign some more players before the transfer window closes.

With the arrival of Junior Hoilett in the team, Hughes might have to sacrifice Djibril Cisse. Having two such pacy forwards comprises the defensive structure of the team, while also making the forward patterns easy to detect for opposition players. Bobby Zamora should be recalled to the line-up if only to provide more variety, and better link-up options with the midfield. Adel Taarabt might be given another chance despite his anonymity in the first game, though Hughes could be better served by Andrew Johnson's tireless running and superior movement.

After harrowing first day experiences there could be a tendency for both managers to play a safe and risk averse game. The pressure is already on at this early stage, and it could end up being a cagey game that's decided by a goal either way.