In light of today`s events, it would be very hard to write a match preview where the focus would be entirely on the game itself. The unfortunate reality is that tomorrow is no ordinary game of football, it has become somewhat of a media frenzy centred on Anton Ferdinand and John Terry and their dispute last time out in October. To thicken the plot, today, Anton Ferdinand was threatened via a letter addressed to him containing a bullet, which is disgraceful. Why anyone would result to that is beyond me. However, I do feel it represents the sad state of the individual rather than mindset of the majority of Chelsea supporters.
The game itself promises to be an absolute belter. Last time out the atmosphere at Loftus Road was really something to behold, intimidating wouldn`t do it justice, just ask Juan Mata or David Luiz. Chelsea didn`t know what had hit them, although they will be more prepared this time now that the rivalry has been reignited. The gulf in quality between the two sides is still vast but to say QPR have the home advantage would be an understatement as it made such a difference in October. If players such as Juan Mata and Danny Sturridge are allowed to have influence on the game then Chelsea will win but should QPR play with the same intensity as they have been under Mark Hughes then it could be a very close game.
QPR 3 (Helguson pen, Buzsaky, Smith)
Wigan 1 (Rodallega)
Team: Kenny, Young, Ferdinand, Hall, Hill, Barton, Buzsaky (Derry), Mackie, Wright-Phillips, Campbell (Smith), Helguson
Team: Cech, Bosingwa, Luiz, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Lampard (Malouda), Meireles (Essien), Torres (Lukaku), Mata, Sturridge
QPR Team News:
Mark Hughes has a selection headache ahead of the match; Akos Busaky and Heider Helguson haven`t trained all week due to Achilles and Groin injuries respectively. Armand Traore and Adel Taarabt are still unavailable due to international duty. Jay Bothroyd is also a doubt. New signing Nedum Onuoha could make his debut.
Possible line up:
Young – Onuoha – Ferdinand – Hill
Mackie – Barton – Derry – Wright-Phillips
Helguson – Smith
Player to watch: Anton Ferdinand
Could I really pick anyone else for this? So much of the focus will be on Anton Ferdinand and John Terry that the pressure will be off many of the other players. But in all honesty I think everyone is in agreement when I say there is a great intrigue over how Anton Ferdinand carries himself during the “handshake” and in the match itself. On the playing side of things, it has been great to have him back in the side as he has made a huge difference in the defence. I just hope he is able to fully concentrate despite the undercurrents surrounding the fixture.
Chelsea Team News:
Frank Lampard will miss out due to a calf tear. Gary Cahill could make his debut alongside John Terry.
Bosingwa – Terry – Cahill – Cole
Ramires – Meireles -Romeu
Sturridge – Torres – Mata
Player to watch: Danny Sturridge
Vital QPR singled out attacker Danny Sturridge as the danger man.
To read our profile of the player Click Here >>>
The Stat Attack
Queens Park Rangers: LDLWW
HEAD 2 HEAD
Queens Park Rangers: 14
LAST TIME OUT
Premier League – 23/10/11
QPR 1 (Helguson pen)
Team: Kenny; Young, Hall, Ferdinand, Hill; Barton (c), Derry (Mackie 81), Faurlin, Wright-Phillips; Helguson, Taarabt (Smith 61).
Referee: M Dean
Assistants: S Child & P Kirkup
Fourth Official: M Jones
Experienced ref Mike Dean is the match official for Saturday`s feisty FA Cup game. This season Dean has issued 76 yellow cards and 1 red card in 24 games.
To read more see: Ref Watch >>>
The match itself is set to be a fascinating affair. QPR are suffering from several injuries and absentees which means there won`t be much talent on the bench to change the game, something which Chelsea will have and that certainly gives them an advantage. However, Chelsea`s expansive brand of football will not suit a tight and compact Loftus Road, where every away touch of the ball will be greeted by thunderous booing and expletives. Last time out this affected the Blues immensely and should the same happen tomorrow then QPR could be in with a shout.
It will take more than crowd noise to beat this Chelsea side but I do believe QPR have some quality of their own that could influence proceedings on the pitch. Shaun Wright-Phillips has improved in recent weeks and is starting to look the player we all expected when he signed. I hope the diminutive winger can influence the game like he did in October.
1-1Replay on the cards.
Who: Aston Villa
Where: Villa Park
When: 1/02/12 – 19:45