Date: 14th December 2007 at 9:59am
Written by:

Vital QPR new signing JoodyQPR has burnt the midnight oil to kindly write this exclusive FA Cup preview. What do you think? Are you a budding journalist and want to contribute to the site? If so, get in touch and I will happily publish your article for the whole world to read.

JoodyQPR writes…

‘From Stamford Bridge to Wemb-er-ley, we’ll stick the blue flag up you’re a**e’

Since the third round of the F.A cup was drawn, it seems the common QPR fan has

een able to talk about nothing else apart from Chelsea. The various unofficial message boards were swarmed as some people even forgot we had a game that week at Blackpool.

What are the odds? Will our loanee’s be able to play? Will Chelsea put out a strong team? How many tickets will we get? Who won the last game? And most importantly, can we beat Chelsea?

I think we can all agree, we really need this game. Things aren’t going well. Bar a fantastic game at Turf Moor, we hadn’t won since Gigi’s first game in charge, we couldn’t score and we couldn’t defend and we were propping up the table with very little going for us. These reasons alone probably explain the frantic excitement that leapt through every hoops fans hearts, the moment QPR came out of that little plastic ball.

But like anything; your summer holiday, Glastonbury, waiting for the R’s to finally get back to the big time, after the initial excitement, comes the exhausting and tumultuous wait. So here, in the week we will all be frantically queuing up at the box office trying to get just one of the 6,000 tickets allocated to QPR fans is a preview of the biggest game in West London in over 10 years.

History

Despite QPR becoming league side as early as the 1920’s, QPR vs Chelsea wasn’t a fixture until 1968. The result isn’t important (ahem, 4-0 to Chelsea), it’s what came after that matters. Since then it is the most common West London derby with both teams playing each other 45 times.

During the 1970’s and early 80’s an uncanny pattern emerged where both teams fortunes seemed to follow the other, with both teams yo-yoing from the 1st division. It meant a fierce rivalry was born, as both teams played each other nearly every season during this period.

Both teams seemed evenly matched during the 80’s, however Chelsea consistently were thought of as the bigger club. Whilst every QPR fan spent hours and days waiting for the next infamous Chelsea game, Chelsea fans interest in the derby waned as teams like Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs became a bigger priority on the fixture list.

The 90’s saw QPR’s biggest domination over Chelsea as we claimed the top London spot three years in a row. However, whilst the future seemed far brighter in the Loft, it was to be Stamford Bridge that saw the greatest success as QPR were disastrously relegated in 1996, Chelsea saw an influx of foreign players, and managers lift them up the table. We became their dumping ground as players such as Gavin Peacock and John Spencer were ousted by their European counterparts and came down a division to ply their trade at Loftus Road.

The naughties saw the divide widen, QPR fighting administration, relegations, transfer embargo’s and at one point a squad of eight players.

Meanwhile Chelsea’s fortunes were to hit an all-time high as Russian Oil Tycoon; Roman Abramovich put millions into the club. They bought their way to the top and two titles and ‘the special one’ later, they are now one of the best teams in the world. A friendship between R’s boss John Gregory and Jose Mourinho has led to numerous players being loaned out to QPR such as Jimmy Smith, Michael Mancienne, Ben Sahar and Scott Sinclair.

As I write this 41 teams sit between the two teams. Can QPR really eradicate such a large gap and shock the odds?

Stats

League

Chelsea wins – 14 Draws – 15 QPR wins – 11

FA Cup

Chelsea wins – 2 Draws – 1 QPR wins – 1

League Cup

Chelsea wins – 0 Draws – 1 QPR wins – 1

Total

Chelsea wins – 16 Draws – 17 QPR wins – 13

Matches

QPR 2-4 Chelsea (21 February 1970) – In 1970, Chelsea and QPR were drawn to face each other in the FA Cup quarter-finals. Chelsea’s Alan Hudson described it as a ‘fantastic draw’, due to the rivalry between the two clubs. To add further spice, QPR were fielding two former Chelsea players, Terry Venables and Barry Bridges, as well as their star striker, Rodney Marsh.

In an entertaining match, despite the poor pitch, Chelsea were 2-0 up within eight minutes thanks to Peter Osgood and David Webb, with a twice-taken Venables penalty putting Rangers back in contention. As Rangers threatened to equalise, Osgood scored twice more to complete his hat-trick and put the result beyond doubt, before Bridges grabbed a late consolation for his side. Chelsea would ultimately go on to win the cup that season.

QPR 6-0 Chelsea (Easter Monday, 1986) – Many Rangers fans favourite game against their rivals was a 6-0 victory on Easter Monday in 1986. Chelsea were 2nd in the league table at the time, but went into the match having lost 4-0 to West Ham United two days previously; this result all but ended their title challenge.

During this period the sides were evenly matched, but Chelsea were expected to beat QPR. However, thanks to Gary Bannister, Rangers recorded a result no R’s fan will ever forget. Bannister was in fine form and grabbed a hat trick in the 6-0 win and in truth should have had more.

The Byrne/Bannister partnership destroyed QPR’s much-loathed rivals. Most hoop fans were ready to lift Bannister on their shoulders and parade him around Shepherds Bush as the local hero. The QPR fans went home happy…on their tandem.

Chelsea 1-0 QPR (23rd March 1996) – The last competitive game between the two teams was over 10 years ago. Whilst Chelsea were heading for mid-table obscurity QPR were desperate for a win as they propped up the table in a terrible season under Player Manager Ray Wilkins.

Chelsea has already knocked Queens Park Rangers out of the cup that season however survival rather than revenge was top priority. John Spencer, who later went on to play for the mighty R’s scored early with Simon Barker equalising 10 minutes later in was to turn out to be a drab affair.

QPR vs Chelsea (28th July, 2001) – Despite it being a pre-season friendly, one of QPR’s proudest moments in recent years came when QPR beat the £50 million Chelsea team. After Jesper Gronkjaer scored early on, Rangers ran riot as a sluggish Chelsea team gave away too many chances.

Leroy Griffiths and a long range Karl Connolly effort gave QPR the lead before Gavin Peacock, a former Chelsea player, put the icing on the cake to make it 3-1. This game proved that there was still a strong rivalry between the two teams as it was marred by crowd trouble.

Players

Terry Venables – After coming through the youth team, Venables became a professional for Chelsea in 1960 where he won the league cup in 1965. After a fall out with manager Tommy Docherty, who ironically went on to manage QPR twice in his career, Venables transferred to Spurs before joining QPR for £70,000 in 1969. He made 202 appearances for Chelsea, scoring 26 goals whilst he made 179 appearances for QPR scoring 19 goals.

David Webb – The defender moved from Chelsea to QPR in 1974 after 230 games for the side. He helped the R’s to a runner up spot in the football league, their highest ever position and played 116 games for the R’s.

Steve Wicks – The blonde centre half had two spells with both QPR and Chelsea. Who remembers the chant ‘6 foot 2, eyes of blue, Stevie Wicks is after you!’

Roy Wegerle – After turning down a move for Wegerle in 1986, QPR finally bought him for £1m in 1989 after an unsuccessful spell at Chelsea. The player later became a cult hero at Loftus Road with his flowing locks, silky skills and scoring abilities.

Gavin Peacock – Started his career at QPR before playing at various lower league teams. Made his name in the premiership with Chelsea, making over 100 appearances before returning to QPR to play out his final six years as a player.

Paul Furlong – A much-travelled striker who had prominent spells at Chelsea and Birmingham among others before an incredible spell at QPR. Originally, he was despised by the R’s fans before becoming a Rangers legend, with the legend set in stone when ‘Furs’ scored the play-off semi-final winner against Oldham.

The Game

If QPR have a chance in this game then it cannot be a pretty one. We are going to have to fight and scrap our way to victory in what will be a momentous day for the club if we do. Players such as Adam Bolder, Mikele Leighterwood and Simon Walton might be preferred to Rowly and Buzz and will play vital roles in stamping out any Chelsea Dominance.

Several factors will play a part. Number one is Didier Drogba. The player has been given three weeks on the injury table, making the QPR match his rough return date. However, the striker has been named in the Ivory Coast team meaning there could be no rush to bring him back, all fun and games in the Chelsea physio room. If he does play, the Rangers defence will have to play better, or better than they’ve ever played, in particular Damien Stewart.

Another big part to play in this game is Michael Mancienne. The player has real class, but will he be allowed to play and does he have the height or strength to compete against Drogba. Sahar and Sinclair’s loans run out before the game.

Secondly, will QPR have any new players before the game? With our millions in the pocket and rumours rife and new players, particularly defenders could play a huge part. Nevertheless, with only days to buy before the game to buy will we be able to strengthen in time?

Lastly, will Chelsea play their first team? Tradition, says no but this is a West London derby. However does Avram Grant know the history or more importantly does he care. I think not and we could be seeing a young side running out, including Ben Sahar and Scott Sinclair leaving the hoops with a far greater chance of victory.

Key Battles

If the Chelsea first team runs out, these could be the key battles involved.

Didier Drogba vs Damien Stewart – Does Stewart have the tools to keep Drogba at bay? Most premiership defenders don’t and even if he does, will they show up. On his day Stewart looks the new Danny Shittu but I’m not sure this will be enough.

Frank Lampard vs Mikele Leighterwood – ‘Fat-head Frank,’ is in the form of his life for club and Leighterwood has been a revelation since coming to the R’s. If push comes to shove, they are probably their team’s two best players and Mikele will have to run his socks off to stop Lampard as well as remembering he has to run the game for QPR?a big day at the office for Leighterwood.

John Terry vs Rowan Vine – Vine has proved that the loan market works, and seems to be thriving at Loftus Road. However, the goals haven’t been free flowing and this is against championship defenders. Can he score against the England captain? He seems to love playing with Nygaard so his partner will make a difference but the jury is still out on the Birmingham man.

Prediction

Do I dare – does anyone dare?

I’ve thought about it long and hard and it’s a lose/lose situation. I predict a win and I curse the team if we lose. I predict a loss and my father disowns me.

So unfortunately, I am sitting on the fence and letting you decide for yourselves. Good luck! Whatever the result, it’s going to be a great game and a big day out for us all.

See you there.

Many thanks go out to JoodyQPR