There is no debate that QPR have been the best team in the Championship this season and rightfully finished up as champions. But it doesn’t always hold true that the team that wins the Championship performs best in the Premier League and I certainly think there is an argument that Norwich City are better prepared for the top flight.
Now people will rightfully look at the rich owners at QPR and suggest that they have greater resources. But I’m not convinced the manager will get backed and there can be no guarantees that Neil Warnock will even be QPR’s manager next season, and the man himself has admitted he can’t be sure of his job.
At Norwich there are no such uncertainties and it’s obvious the board will back Paul Lambert as much as they possibly can to ensure Norwich remains in the Premier League. And there are certainly no doubts on the credentials of Paul Lambert. After the job Lambert has done over the last two years he can expect to have a job at Norwich for life.
The QPR squad if full of players that have been around the Championship for many years, but never looked likely to perform in the Premier League; there is no doubt the squad will need a big overhaul next season and they will need to hope their stars like Taarabt can get them through. Now admittedly there isn’t a lot of Premier League experience in the Norwich squad either and players will need to come in. But you get a sense that the players that are there are hungry and ready to test themselves in the top league. QPR probably have a few players in their squad that feel they have some sort of divine right to play in the Premier League; most notably Taarabt but also Routledge (if he joins the club full time). Therefore, I can see QPR having more of a problem with egos.
If Norwich is going to have a secret weapon in the Premier League next season it will be the fans. Thousands will go to away games and I would be surprised if every home game isn’t sold out. Carrow Road currently holds around 27,000 fans and the club will look to squeeze in any extra seats anyway they can. This season in the Championship the club has had the third best average attendance at 25,386. QPR’s stadium is somewhat restrictive and only currently has a capacity of 18,360 and future plans suggest it would be hard to expand significantly. Certainly too small if the club want to become a regular fixture in the Premier League.
Finally I have to look at the style of play. Norwich have not only finished second but done it with a level of style with neat passing football – which will not look out of place in the Premier League. QPR like to get on the attack quickly and don’t play with the same level of patience. It has worked for them in the Championship but they may need to adjust their style a little bit for the Premier League because otherwise they will invite a lot of pressure. I also think that QPR will need a striker or two because teams that struggle typically don’t have one. Norwich have Grant Holt and Simeon Jackson however it remains to be seen if these players will make the step up to the Premier League, I do think Norwich are perhaps better prepared for it though.
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