PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: QUEENS PARK RANGERS V CHELSEA
The wait for the fourth league game of the season is nearly over. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton point the way to the north of the borough for this re-established west London derby…
An unforgettable summer of British sport drew to a close this week, but let's not forget that it really kicked off on 19 May, when the start of the London 2012 torch relay was marked by London's first ever triumph in the Champions League by Chelsea.
The European Cup has been around since 1955, so a win for the capital was almost as overdue as a male Brit winning a tennis major. This week Chelsea were also named the European Club Association (formerly the G-14) 'Club of the Year' for 'outstanding achievement during the 2011/12 season on European and domestic level.'
Yet following the international break we have to remember that our last match was a hugely disappointing 1-4 defeat in the UEFA Super Cup to Atlético.
Last season on the odd occasion the Blues played as they did in Monaco, the media singled out the 'old guard' - they were said to be 'resisting' the manager's strategies, or only rousing themselves for the big occasions.
With several former stalwarts departed, and another trophy on offer, those seem even hollower suggestions.
However, more potential silverware was surrendered and Roberto Di Matteo will have been paying specific attention to defensive organisation after Falcao's performance. There is, of course, the possibility that the league leaders will hand a debut to exciting full-back signing César Azpilicueta (pictured below) and Victor Moses too.
Given that the last two matches between our two sides at Loftus Road have been decided by a penalty, there must exist the possibility that Chelsea will extend the club record for penalty goals in successive matches from the start of a season. It is presently three on the spin.
Although the Rs have looked leaky so far this season they have only dropped three points from their last 18 on home soil.
To many Chelsea fans this is about the club standing first in the Barclays Premier League visiting the 19th, but to the hosts this is W12 versus SW6. Some Queens Park Rangers supporters are calling this the match of the season, yet at the time of writing it had still not quite sold out.
Barclays Premier League fixtures
Norwich v West Ham 12.45pm - Sky Sports
Arsenal v Southampton 3pm
Aston Villa v Swansea 3pm
Fulham v West Brom 3pm
Man Utd v Wigan 3pm
QPR v Chelsea 3pm
Stoke v Man City 3pm
Sunderland v Liverpool 5.30 - ESPN
Reading v Tottenham 4pm - Sky Sports
Everton v Newcastle 8pm - Sky Sports
|Barclays Premier League table|
Supporters attending the game are asked to note that as last season for this fixture, no alcohol will be served in the away section at Loftus Road.
WE HAVE HISTORY
The Blues' last visit brought a 1-0 FA Cup win in a tense but turgid encounter. Juan Mata sent the goalkeeper the wrong way (his only success from the spot last season) after Daniel Sturridge had been bundled over in the box.
The league meeting in W12 has gone down in notoriety. Seeking our 6,000th goal in league football, Chelsea, in black, went behind after nine minutes when David Luiz shoved Heidar Helguson in the area and the Icelander tumbled. Cech reached the ball with his hand but could not keep Helguson's penalty out.
The visitors then suffered two sendings-off before half-time (José Bosingwa, now of Loftus Road, and Didier Drogba), plus seven bookings from referee Chris Foy, but still often outplayed the hosts.
No league club has played at more different stadiums than QPR, though we have only met them at their present home. '"Fans" Turn On Poor Rangers' was one of the headlines when this fixture was first played in September 1968 (pictured below with brothers Ron and Allan Harris the captains of the two sides). Rs goalie Ron Springett was beaten four times and a crowd of supporters screamed abuse at manager Bill Dodgin and his side at the end.
Tommy Baldwin capped the Blues' bright opening when he tapped in after Bobby Tambling had hit a post. Handball by Bobby Keetch led to Chelsea's second, the spot-kick duly deposited by Peter Osgood.
A third came when Springett's poor throw was intercepted and Charlie Cooke set up Baldwin for his second. Hard-working forward Alan Birchenall completed the 4-0 scoreline in the dying minutes with a smart header from Johnny Boyle's cross.
Loftus Road has rarely been a lucky ground though, whether the match has been played on plastic or grass, though the plastic was sometimes better than bad grass.
Our win at Loftus Road in January 1996 is our only league win there in 12 attempts, in a run stretching back to December 1982. QPR have won six of the other 11 matches with five draws. We have won our last two FA Cup fixtures in W12 - in 1996 and last season.
Our last 10 league games against QPR at Loftus Road
1986/87 - Drew 1-1
1987/88 - QPR won 3-1
1989/90 - QPR won 4-2
1990/91 - QPR won 1-0
1991/92 - Drew 2-2
1992/93 - Drew 1-1
1993/94 - Drew 1-1
1994/95 - QPR won 1-0
1995/96 - Chelsea won 2-1
2011/12 - QPR won 1-0
Other matches last season
28 January 2012 FA Cup fourth round
Mata pen 61
29 April 2012 Barclays Premier League
Sturridge 1 Cissé 84
Torres 18, 24, 63
Chelsea v QPR in all competitions
Games played 51
Chelsea wins 20
Rangers wins 14
Head to head in the league at Loftus Road
Games played 21
Chelsea wins 4
Rangers wins 8
Biggest league win at Loftus Road for each team
QPR 6-0 Chelsea 31/03/1986
QPR 0-4 Chelsea 14/09/1968
Visit tomorrow for the second part of the Pre-Match Briefing.