Why Queens Park Rangers could be this season's surprise package

Harry Redknapp's men are in position to avoid relegation this season.

Every year in the Premier League one team manages to shock everyone by defying expectations and surging up the table.

Last season Southampton were the league's big overachievers, reaching as high as third in the table on the way to an impressive eighth-placed finish.

In the 2012-13 campaign West Bromwich Albion thwarted pre-season predictions of relegation to secure a top-half finish, ending the season eighth in the table.

This season, Queens Park Rangers look to be the best bet to be the Premier League's biggest surprise package.

When they were relegated from the top flight two seasons ago, QPR had one of the division's most overpaid and overrated squads.

Manager Harry Redknapp has learned his lesson, however, offloading underachieving high-earners such as Christopher Samba and Jose Bosingwa prior to last season and replacing them with smarter signings.

While it is always nice to score plenty of goals, Premier League survival is built on a solid defensive foundation, and Redknapp has gone into the transfer market this summer and looked to build just that.

Rio Ferdinand and Steven Caulker should prove to be excellent signings for Queens Park Rangers.

Ferdinand's body is clearly breaking down and it is unclear how much action he will see next season, but when he is on the pitch he remains a top-class Premier League centre-half and he will bring fantastic experience to the dressing room.

Caulker, meanwhile, will contribute both this season and for years to come. At 22, his best years are ahead of him and the £8 million QPR paid for him could turn out to be an excellent investment.

Perhaps Redknapp's shrewdest piece of business, however, is the signing of Jordan Mutch from Cardiff for £6 million. Along with Caulker, Mutch is one of the only players who stood out for the Bluebirds in a miserable 2013-14 campaign, and he finished as their top scorer with seven goals.

Mutch has shown that he can perform at Premier League level and has an excellent eye for goal from midfield, and he could form a dominant partnership in the middle of the park with Joey Barton next season.

The true x-factor for QPR is striker Loic Remy. After a move to Liverpool fell through at the last minute, the French international looks set to stay at Loftus Road for the start of the season, and his goals alone could see Redknapp's side stay in the Premier League and even reach the top half.

  TeamPosAppsTouches per gameTotal shotsShots on targetGoalsAssists
Loïc Remy Newcastle FW 26 36.04 90 32 14 3

Remy netted 14 times last season while on loan at Newcastle, and proved that he can deliver on a consistent basis in the top flight. His conversion rate is not particularly high, but his 90 shots over the course of the season proves one thing - he has the ability to get into scoring positions on a regular basis and can turn those chances into goals.

If Remy stays at the club it is not hard to imagine QPR securing a top-half finish next season. With his firepower up front, coupled with the defensive duo of Ferdinand and Caulker, Redknapp's men should comfortably avoid a relegation dogfight in 2015.

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