Can Swansea manager emulate success of his predecessors?
Premier League preview: QPR v Swansea City
Similarly to QPR, Swansea City begin their second season in the Premier League following a summer of intense change.
Having guided the Swans to an impressive 11th-placed finish last season, manager Brendan Rodgers found a job offer from Liverpool too attractive to turn down, and left the Liberty Stadium this summer after just two seasons in charge.
His replacement, the former Denmark international Michael Laudrup, arrived as something of an unknown quantity.
Laudrup is renowned for being an advocate of precisely the style of attractive, attacking football displayed by Swansea under both Rodgers and his predecessors Roberto Martinez and Paulo Sousa.
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Laudrup has wasted little time in piecing together a side which he feels can build on last season’s surprising success. The 48-year-old has signed the likes of centre-back Chico Flores, attacking midfielder Jonathan de Guzman and Spanish play-maker Michu in an effort to build competition.
There have been setbacks, namely in the form of midfielders Gylfi Sigurdsson, who has joined Tottenham Hotspur, and Joe Allen who has moved to Liverpool – although the loss of the latter was more than made up for by a hefty �15 million transfer fee.
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And if De Guzman, Flores and Michu settle quickly, Swansea could be in for another strong season.
The �2 million signing of Michu from Rayo Vallecano is a particularly eye-catching piece of business; the 26-year-old scored 16 goals in La Liga last season.
Perhaps the biggest positive for Laudrup though, is has been the pre-season form of striker Danny Graham.
After netting 12 times in the league last season – including a goal against QPR at the Liberty – Graham took his tally to six in five appearances in Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Stuttgart.
Such form has led to the bold prediction from Laudrup that Graham can reach the 20-goal mark this season.
There is a sense of trepidation hanging in the air at the Liberty Stadium as the season approaches, with the knowledge that building on the progress of Rodgers, Sousa and Martinez will be no easy task.
The clash at Loftus Road on Saturday promises to be one of the more intriguing matches of the opening weekend, and one which, at the very least, should provide plenty of entertainment.
Prediction QPR 2 Swansea 1
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