On 7 August 2010, Queens Park Rangers established their credibility as Championship title contenders by crushing Barnsley 4-0 on the season's opening day.
They had stumbled to a thirteenth-place finish the season before, due in part to a prolific shuffling of managers before settling on Neil Warnock in March 2010. Under Warnock's leadership, many in the media tipped the London club to challenge for promotion in 2011.
Their season opener, played at home against Barnsley, was close for a half, with Rangers taking a 1-0 lead into the break after a 41st-minute penalty from Heidar Helguson. Barnsley missed chances on either side of half time for an equalizer, twice hitting the post, before Jamie Mackie doubled QPR's lead with a 53rd-minute tap-in.
QPR benefited from the presence of midfielder Adel Taarabt (pictured), who had just signed a permanent deal after spending the previous season with them on loan from Tottenham. The Moroccan international worked tirelessly and was rewarded with a goal from the spot in the 63rd minute. Captain Fitz Hall added a fourth goal in the 81st minute to complete the rout.
The win sent QPR to the top of the table, where they remained for all but two weeks of the season (they dropped to second once in October and once in November). They finished the season with 88 points, four clear of runners-up Norwich City, to claim automatic promotion to the Premier League for 2011-12.