At last, we meet again. For Rangers a chance, however slim, to pick up a major scalp and cause one of the greatest upsets in cup history.
For Chelsea a chance to dispel the memories of that 6-0 defeat those Rangers fans still thrive on to the day.
More importantly, it’s a chance for Rangers players and fans alike to go out and enjoy the occasion without the pressure of a relegation battle, and for the new players to display their worth and hopefully thrive in a keenly contested West London derby.
De Canio spoke after the Leicester game…
‘I was pleased with the performance, but there is still so much more to come’
‘We will have a bit more time with the players on the training ground now after the festive period, and that is where we will fine tune things’
‘We can’t keep conceding in the manner we are, but tactically and technically we did very well. I thought we were always in control of the game because we played with intelligence and maturity.’
‘It was great to see us score three goals after we found the back of the net four times at Watford’
‘Dexter worked very hard for his goal and the other two were very well worked goals.’
‘We are moving in the right direction and that is very satisfying for everyone connected to the football club’
Chelsea Team News:
The Blues will go into the FA cup-tie at the weekend with a few key absentees. England captain John Terry fears he may be out for the rest of the season after a tackle from Emmanuel Eboué left the defender with three broken bones in his foot.
England Midfielder Frank Lampard will also be missing due to a long running thigh problem. Peter Cech will also be a doubt going into the game at Stamford Bridge, with Carlo Cudicini unable to deputise, Chelsea may call upon Hillario or even youngster Rhys Taylor to cover. Didier Drogba also remains sidelined.
Chelsea will also be without Ricardo Carvalho and Michael Essien due to suspension.
Michael Ballack is set to be named captain in the West London derby fixture. No doubt, also former loan Ranger Scott Sinclair will be in and around the starting line-up, a player that never showed his true potential for the Rangers in his spell at Loftus Road, will have his chance to prove his worth against them.
Player to watch: Salomon Kalou
The Ivory Coast international has proven his worth as an able deputy to Didier Drogba in recent games. A goal a piece against Newcastle and Fulham takes his tally in all competitions to seven this season.
The frontman, who Mr. Mourinho brought over from Dutch outfit Feyenoord for £8million, has been dipping in and out of the side in various different positions whether wide or upfront.
Kalou’s only FA Cup goal came against rivals Tottenham in a 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge last season, of which they won the subsequent replay and the trophy as a whole.
However the Ivorian is one of many that could cause Rangers problems as Chelsea look to utilise their squad with the likes of Mikel, Sidwell, Bridge and Ballack all set to feature for the Blues.
Queens Park Rangers Team News:
Michael Mancienne will be unavailable due to both the terms of his loan agreement and his niggling hamstring injury, which he will hope to shake off in time for the crucial encounter with Sheffield United.
Mikele Leigertwood remains suspended after his verbal tirade away at Plymouth.
However, some good news for Rangers, they can call on new signings; Kieran Lee (loan), Gavin Mahon, Hogan Ephraim, Matthew Connolly, Akos Buzsaky, Patrick Agyemang and Fitz Hall, with Rowan Vine apparently still to come.
With Rangers set to go 4-5-1, or 4-3-3, whatever way you look at it, it appears that players will miss out on the occasion.
Ephraim could be set to replace Ainsworth, whilst it’s a race against time for Rowan Vine to sign with the club yet to announce his signature.
Accompanied to this Connolly and Hall will look to slot in somewhere along the backline to bolster the Rangers rearguard.
Player to watch: Akos Buzsaky
Rangers new signing coined, ‘The Magical Magyar’ signed a two and a half year contract with the Super Hoops, and will look to take his performances from strength to strength going into the West London derby.
Labelled ‘The White Pele’ by sections of the Rangers faithful, the player scored six goals in 13 appearances for the R’s.
The goals include his recent brace at home to Colchester, and his crucial away goal at Watford.
Buzsaky spoke about the up and coming cup match stating…
‘Its too early to compare ourselves with Chelsea’
‘They are an established Premiership club and have one of the best squads in the world’
‘But it is great to have the chance to play against them’
Match Facts & Stats
Chelsea will be hoping to become the fifth team in FA Cup history to retain the competition, whilst at the opposite end of the spectrum, Rangers are looking for a win in a competition dating back to 2001, were they beat Luton, but lost 6-0 at home to Arsenal in the fourth round.
The last time the Blue’s lost against lower league opposition in the Cup was 13 years ago, as Milwall knocked them out on penalties at the Bridge. Since then 22 lower league teams have failed to get the better of them in the competition.
Rangers come into the tie with Chelsea after four wins in six. An encouraging turnaround in form, coming to a head in the last two games with goal gluts against Watford and Leicester.
Historically in 46 games Chelsea have won 16 and Rangers 13, with the teams drawing 17 times.
At the Bridge Rangers have won five times in 22 games whilst losing 10 and drawing seven.
Previous FA Cup encounters
February 21st 1970 – FA Cup 6th Round
QPR 2 (Venables pen, Bridges)
Chelsea 4 (Webb, Osgood 3)
January 5th 1974 – FA Cup 3rd Round
January 15th 1974 – FA Cup 3rd Round Replay
QPR 1 (Bowles)
January 29th 1996 – FA Cup 4th Round
QPR 1 (Quashie)
Chelsea 2 (Furlong, Peacock)
Last Time We Met
March 23rd 1996 – Premiership
Chelsea 1 (Spencer 8)
QPR 1 (Barker 19)
Referee – M Dean
The last time Rangers were refereed by Dean, he did a competent job of officiating Rangers 3-0 defeat against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
The man from the Wirral has established himself as one of the foremost officials in the country. He has refereed 19 games thus far this season, distributing 85 yellows and six reds, most recently sending off Ibrahima Sonko after three minutes on New Years Day.
Click on the link for the latest match odds.
Who – Sheffield United
Where – Brammall Lane
When – Saturday 12th January. 3:00pm
Blast from the past
Click on the link for a look back at the history of the rivalry Joody QPR’s previously posted article for a fantastic insight going into the build up of the big cup game.
Vital QPR wishes the club the very best of the luck for the cup-tie, lets go out and make some history!