It was certainly a mixed start for all of the promoted sides over the opening weekend of the season, where QPR look well out of their depth, the Swans caved in at Eastlands and Norwich will take comfort from an encouraging start. But the big question is who will survive the drop come May?
Let’s start with QPR a side largely assembled of freebies headed by two troubled front men were dire to say the least at Loftus Road. A game many would have fancied Neil Warnock’s men to take the spoils to get the all important first win of the season on board, but Owen Coyle’s side had different ideas and look set to build on last seasons success and secure a top 10 finish. Gary Cahill’s opener will add another couple of million onto his price tag.
Neil Warnock has a few doubters myself included there is no argument he is a top bloke and is refreshingly honest but he is not cut out for success at the top flight as his time with Sheffield United proved when they bottled it when they seemed all but safe with ten games to go. I can’t see him being there too much longer as QPR will struggle to string any sort of run together to stay up.
The most impressive outing from the new boys came at the DW Stadium where for much of the game Paul Lambert’s well drilled and organised team were the better team. Home form is key for Norwich and their fans can build up a terrific atmosphere (something that cannot be said for QPR) and with battering ram in Grant Holt leading the line they will score goals. Lambert has instilled a positive mantra since lift the club off its knees only 2 years ago, and they will provide a few shocks along the season and will be up for the fight against the teams in and around them.
Wales’ first Premier League side kicked off on Monday and for 45 minutes more than held their own at Eastlands. Despite a distinct lack of a genuine attacking threat, Swansea looked organised and in all honesty the 4-0 score line was harsh. Brendan Rodgers has taken note from the time he spent under Jose Mourinho at Chelsea and will adopt a attractive style of play particularly at home, with former Chelsea man Scott Sinclair and Nathan Dyer providing genuine threat from the flanks. The Swans play the better football of the three sides but could this be their downfall as City proved on Monday they will get exposed by the better sides especially on the road.
There is no doubt about it is going to be a tough season for all of the new teams and I cannot see how on earth QPR are going to beat the drop, boardroom unrest along with an oddly assembled side make for what could be a season of horrors for men from Loftus Road. Norwich will battle and fight tooth and nail over the course of the season but will this be enough I think so. Paul Lambert has the tactical awareness to shut up shop when they have the lead, something Ian Holloway must of wished he had done on a number of occasions. As last season proved they don’t know when they are beaten scoring 16 times after the 86th minute.
Swansea will be the easier on the eye and will produce some wonderful football like they did at Wembley in May, but I worry about their defensive fragility. They have a wonderful opportunity to put Welsh football on the map and they will make an entire nation proud (apart from the capital perhaps).
Overall I can see only one of Swansea and Norwich surviving who? I cannot decide but one thing is certain if the battle to beat the drop is half as intense as last season we are all in for a treat enjoy!