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Preview - Chelsea vs QPR


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After that stunning display in Spain, Chelsea are given no respite as the push to finish in the top 4 of the Premier League takes centre-stage yet again. The sheer ecstasy of reaching the Champions League Final will have to be suppressed for the next 2 weeks as the Blues try to ensure Champions League football for next season through the league itself. The date with destiny in Munich can wait as we tie up loose ends in England. 6 games are left in this season for Chelsea, all against teams who are fighting for relegation or the top 4 or for pride.

This weekend it is Queens Park Rangers visiting Stamford Bridge hoping to build on their 1-0 win over Tottenham and ease their relegation worries. They are a point clear of the drop-zone but Bolton have a game in hand. After the game this Sunday, they play Stoke at home and Manchester City away so they will be coming in to this game to sting a Chelsea squad jaded by mid-week heroics. QPR have had a roller-coaster ride of late. That incredible 3-2 win against Liverpool was followed by an abject defeat at Sunderland. But they rallied to beat Arsenal 2-1 at Loftus Road before losing 2-0 at Old Trafford. An impressive 3-0 win over Swansea was followed by a 1-0 loss away at West Brom and the win over Spurs. They have lost all the away games and won all the home games in that stetch. The past month has certainly been better than most of the season but you can’t help but feel that they would be safe in mid-table had they kept their discipline up because under Mark Hughes, QPR have finished more games with ten men than eleven. If you think QPR are the perfect antidote to Barcelona, think again because QPR are our rivals and we are yet to win a London derby in the league this season and this is our last chance to set that record straight.

That’s enough about QPR because the whole world is talking about Chelsea at the moment. Chelsea have come through the gauntlet of high-profile matches in the last week unscathed, the last of which was most satisfying as the club took a giant step towards rectifying past horrors in the Champions League. But Chelsea are still languishing in 6th position in the Premier League table – 1 point behind Tottenham and 4 behind Newcastle although Newcastle have a tough run-in and Spurs are in woeful form. But for all our Cup bravado, we have drawn the last two games against London opposition. Granted they were both away from home and the players were tired but with the position we have backed into, we shouldn’t drop points at this stage of the season. With Newcastle at home and Liverpool away following this Sunday, the pressure on Chelsea has cranked up a notch. Chelsea would like to close out the Champions League deal in the league itself to relieve itself of any added pressure for the final in Munich.

Chelsea have a defensive crisis with Ivanovic suspended and Cahill & Luiz ruled out. Bosingwa, who played centre back in the Barcelona game could continue there with Paulo Fereira or maybe even Michael Essien revisiting the right-back position. For Rangers, Adel Taraabt is suspended after he picked up a red card (8th of the season for the club) against Tottenham.

With handshakes suspended, there will be no love lost between the 2 sides. After all they are our London rivals and with the John Terry-Anton Ferdinand saga thrown in as an extra ingredient to this derby match, expect a feisty encounter this Sunday. Sit back and Enjoy.

Form Guide

Chelsea WDWWD

24-04-2012 – Barcelona 2-2 Chelsea – Camp Nou

21-04-2012 – Arsenal 0-0 Chelsea – The Emirates Stadium

18-04-2012 – Chelsea 1-0 Barcelona – Stamford Bridge

15-04-2012 – Tottenham 1-5 Chelsea – Wembley

09-04-2012 – Fulham 1-1 Chelsea – Craven Cottage


21-04-2012 – QPR 1-0 Tottenham – Loftus Road

14-04-2012 – West Brom 1-0 QPR – The Hawthorns

11-04-2012 – QPR 3-0 Swansea – Loftus Road

08-04-12 – ManU 2-0 QPR – Old Trafford

31-03-12 – QPR 2-1 Arsenal – Loftus Road

Players to watch

Chelsea – Daniel Sturridge – Eager to prove that he could step up to replace Ramires in the Champions League final, Sturridge could use this game as the perfect platform to get back in form

QPR – Samba Diakite – Will have his work cut out to stop Chelsea controlling the game but has shown his ability in the last few matches, especially the Tottenham game, that he can handle the Premier League. I hope he plays like his QPR debut though.

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