All I want as a QPR fan is for 2013 to be better than 2012. That means winning the occasional game, have a fighting team spirit and to only sign players who are hungry with a point to prove. Not players who have achieved it all, coming to Loftus Road for one last pay day. Chelsea away, not the best opportunity to turn around a disastrous away record that is in danger of equalling the club’s worst. Still, a new year means a new sense of optimism, maybe. Can we beat Chelsea? Probably not. But given our history to bounce back when at our lowest ebb, anything is possible.
Chelsea’s defence has improved dramatically under Rafa Benetiz and now the goals have started to flood in too. The former Liverpool boss is getting improved performances out of Fernando Torres and by playing David Luiz in a defensive midfield role, it has been nothing short of a revelation. Confidence is high at the Bridge and it will take a minor miracle for a poor QPR side to even get a point tonight. If Ryan Nelsen and Clint Hill struggled against Luis Suarez, they’re certainly going to have a tough night against Eden Hazard and Juan Mata. In fairness to our centre backs, who let’s be honest, have been very good for us this year, they had no protection from the midfield and were caught in no mans land until Shaun Derry came on to shore things up.
Harry Redknapp now has the opportunity to bring in more players in the January transfer window. This mentality of signing players for a quick fix has cost us and i’m fearful that signing more players will have an adverse effect again. Redknapp is no fool though and will only sign players that will make a difference. I hope he can do this quickly as we now start a tough run of games tonight with Spurs and Man City to follow.
Liverpool 3 (Suarez x2, Agger)
Team: Cesar, Traore, Nelsen, Hill, Onuoha, Taarabt, Wright-Phillips (Fabio), Diakite (Granero), Mbia, Cisse (Derry), Mackie.
Everton 1 (Pienaar)
Chelsea 2 (Lampard x2)
Team: Cech (Turnbull), Ivanovic, Cole, Luiz, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Ramires, Lampard, Mata (Oscar), Hazard (Moses), Torres.
Chelsea Team News:
John Terry is a major doubt with a longstanding knee injury. Petr Cech is unavailable after picking up an adductor injury against Everton. Ross Turnbull is expected to deputise.
Possible line up:
Azpilicueta – Cahill – Ivanovic – Cole
Lampard – Luiz
Moses – Mata – Hazard
Player to watch: Juan Mata
Juan Mata has been identified as the player to watch ahead of the match against Chelsea.
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QPR Team News:
Harry Redknapp told the press QPR will be without 3 or 4 players due to knocks. He refused to name them. Park Ji-Sung is out despite returning to training.
Possible line up:
Onuoha – Nelsen – Hill – Traore
Mbia – Faurlin
Hoilett – Taarabt – Wright-Phillips
Player to watch: Adel Taarabt
Who else could I pick for this? He’s our only source of inspiration in the final third. Assuming Djibril Cisse doesn’t play which seems likely after being subbed off at half time against Liverpool, Adel is the main man for QPR in terms of creating or scoring goals. He is playing consistently well in a poor side which is a fair achievement. His goals have been brief moments of joy for us QPR fans and without him, this season would’ve been much worse than what it already has been. Adel has the ability to unlock any defence in the league and he will commit players like David Luiz into challenges, which could set us up for a set piece or two. I hope we make more of them than what we did against Liverpool. If there’s a free kick around the box, just let Taarabt take it.
Match Facts & Stats
Queens Park Rangers: DWLLL
HEAD 2 HEAD
Queens Park Rangers: 14
LAST TIME OUT
Premier League – 15/09/12
Team: Cesar, Bosingwa, Ferdinand, Nelsen, Fabio (Onuoha), Wright-Phillips (Cisse), Park, Granero, Faurlin, Johnson (Mackie), Zamora.
Referee: Lee Mason
Assistants: Scott Ledger & Harry Lennard
Fourth Official: Kevin Friend
Lee Mason is the match official for today’s game against Chelsea. This season Mason has issued 62 yellow cards and 0 red cards in 16 games.
I can’t look past a Chelsea win. It would be immense if we could snatch a 1-0 win but it’s hard to imagine it considering the current form of both clubs. Chelsea are now solid at the back and slightly more direct going forward. They have been adopting the early pass for Fernando Torres to great effect. However, they can mix it up with the likes of Hazard and Mata linking up around the edge of the box if they need to.
For QPR to stand a chance, I think they need to flood the midfield and get stuck in on the first and second balls. Shaun Derry did a job against Liverpool in front of the back four and I feel Redknapp will use him again. Jamie Mackie would be my striker as he is a willing runner and will provide an outlet in the channels. If we hold firm and frustrate Chelsea, the longer the game goes on the better chance we have of stealing something on the break. We must keep it tight in the first 15-20 minutes otherwise it will be a repeat of last season’s 6-1 thrashing.
Where: Loftus Road