QPR play host to London rivals Chelsea in front of the Sky television cameras this Sunday in what promises to be a brilliant advert for English football. Historically, the rivalry between the two sides is fierce but in recent years it has diminished slightly. However, R`s fans will be relishing a chance to get one over their flash neighbours this weekend even if the odds are stacked against them.
Heading into the match QPR are stuttering along without really picking up many points. The Blackburn game was there for the taking yet a lack of cutting edge was all too prominent and the game petered out fairly quickly. January can`t come soon enough because any injury sustained to the starting eleven and QPR look quite short of quality. They don`t however lack character, guts or determination, qualities which will go a long way to keeping them above water this season. It will be these qualities coupled with a packed and fierce Loftus Road which could give QPR some sort of advantage this Sunday.
With all the talk surrounding Manchester City and all the money they`ve spent this year (a couple of years ago it was the same hype over Chelsea) the Blues have quietly improved week by week looking more and more impressive. The arrival of the technically gifted Juan Mata and to a lesser extent Raul Meireles has aided Andre Villas-Boas` vision for the way in which he wants Chelsea to play this season. Quick movements and clever passing interchanges are all the rage at Stamford Bridge now but whether they will be able to play in this style on a narrow and compact Loftus Road remains to be seen.
QPR 1 (Helguson)
Blackburn Rovers 1 (Samba)
Team: Kenny, Young, Hall, Ferdinand, Traore, Derry, Faurlin, Barton, Wright-Phillips (Smith), Mackie (Taarabt), Helguson
Chelsea 5 (Meireles, Torres x2, Ivanovic, Kalou)
Team: Cech, Ivanovic, Cole (Ferreira), Luiz, Bosingwa (Alex), Romeu, Lampard (Kalou), Malouda, Meireles, Torres, Anelka
QPR Team News:
DJ Campbell is ruled out after suffering a foot injury last week. Campbell had surgery this week and could be back earlier than expected. Danny Gabiddon is still unavailable due to a knee problem.
Neil Warnock made several changes to the attack last week without much success. Jay Bothroyd could return despite Heider Helguson`s goal.
Possible line up:
Young – Ferdinand – Hall -Traore
Faurlin – Derry – Barton
Wright-Phillips – Bothroyd – Mackie
Player to watch: Ale Faurlin
The Argentinean pass-master initially took a game or two to settle in at Premier League level but as the season has progressed Faurlin has continued to improve and look the part in one of the best leagues in the world. Faurlin continues to keep the R`s open play ticking with simple yet concise 5-10 yard passes which is essential to how we keep the ball and look to dominate games. The talented midfielder continues to excel alongside Shaun Derry and is starting to build an understanding with Joey Barton. Faurlin will need to be at his best on Sunday and improve his defensive side of the game, in particular his concentration when tracking runners in behind, which has, on occasions let him down.
Chelsea Team News:
Fernando Torres is suspended and Ramires is out with a knee injury sustained in the win against Everton. The Chelsea boss rested several first team players in midweek with John Terry, Didier Drogba, Juan Mata and Danny Sturridge all sitting out. It is expected all will start on Sunday.
Bosingwa – Terry – Luiz – Cole
Lampard – Meireles – Malouda
Sturridge – Drogba – Mata
Player to watch: Juan Mata
Juan Mata has been identified by DanielQPR as the player to watch ahead of Sunday`s match against Chelsea.
To read his comprehensive review of the midfielderClick Here >>>
The Stat Attack
Queens Park Rangers: DWDLD
HEAD 2 HEAD
Queens Park Rangers: 13
LAST TIME OUT
Carling Cup – 23/09/09
Chelsea 1 (Kalou)
Team: Heaton, Leigertwood, Borrowdale, Stewart, Gorkss, Routledge, Buzsaky, Rowlands (Ephraim), Faurlin, Vine (Taarabt), Simpson (Pellicori)
b>Referee: Mr C Foy
Assistants: Mr D Richards & Mr D Bryan
Fourth Official: Mr K Friend
Chris Foy is the match official for Sunday`s game. This season Foy has issued 10 yellow cards and 2 red cards in 6 games.
To read more see: Ref Watch >>>
In reality, most punters will be expecting an away win and personally it would be pretty foolish to go against that considering the current form of the two sides and the sheer gulf in overall quality. However, stranger things have happened in football and if QPR maintain a level of belief during the game there isn`t any reason why they can`t upset the applecart and pull of a shock result. That said, I do feel Chelsea will prove to be too strong on the day despite feeling quite disappointed in myself for saying so.
I actually feel the game will be quite competitive and tight for the most part with both sides struggling to adopt an expansive brand of football on a compact Loftus Road pitch. This could affect Chelsea more than us as we can be quite direct at times as shown against Blackburn. If Neil Warnock looks to bypass the midfield then I could see him starting with Heider Helguson again, as his aerial prowess is something to behold.
1-3 I can`t see past a Chelsea win.
Where:White Hart Lane
When:30/10/11 – 16:00