Sat 15 Sep 2012 15:00 (Attendance: 18,271)
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) 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|
Click on tabs above for more briefing.
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.
Continuing their look at the weekend's fixture, club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton are joined by Clive Walker who played for both sides…
Chelsea are regenerating the squad, but QPR manager Mark Hughes bought virtually a whole new team this summer. This game provides the chance to measure their respective progress, albeit with the headiness of a west London derby.
'As a QPR fan you would have to have some concern that Mark Hughes has brought in so many new players,' says former Blue, Clive Walker.
'He had some money to spend and he wanted to stamp his mark and establish his way of playing, but with international games, some of the new players have only had a few days training with their teammates. It takes longer than that to nurture the understandings you often rely on in the heat of battle.
'Then there's the fact that if you're arriving from, say, the Spanish, French or Italian league like Esteban Granero, Samba Diakite, Stéphane Mbia, there is a period of adaptation to the frenetic pace here. That even goes for a goalie, and an experienced one, such as Júlio César. It's a big test for them but I don't think César will have any problems.
'There could be an awful lot of players making their debut for the hosts, and they will feel a lot of pressure from the QPR fans, for whom this game is bigger than the FA Cup final.
'César maybe thrown straight into what the Rs themselves are claiming will be a 'white hot cauldron' atmosphere. Robert Green had only recently arrived too but when I have seen them he has seemed too error-prone.
'I think the Brazilian is a little ambitious hoping his new club "win the league," but he brings a wealth of experience. He played in both legs when Inter beat us back in 2010. But the Premier League, with west London's pride at stake, is a totally different culture to the Champions League.
'Chelsea will look to put him under a lot of pressure early, with plenty of pace and intensity, lots of pot shots and chances created. Of course you look to Fernando Torres on that front. When he was with Liverpool he scored the only goal of the game past César at San Siro, and he netted a hat-trick at the Bridge when these two sides last met.
'QPR have a back four that is settling in too. You would expect Man City to test any side, but the Rs' defence looked at sixes and sevens in their last home league game against Swansea, which they lost 5-0. It takes time to make a back five work.
'Do experienced players such as Fabio and José Bosingwa, who have been used to working alongside top, top players, have what it takes to knuckle down and avoid the drop? That's the gamble the manager makes. We know all about Bosingwa, of course, and he put in some stout performances at times. I felt those often came when he was forced to think more about what he was doing, as at Barcelona when he excelled as an emergency centre back.
'As a right-back we know that he likes to go forward as much as possible and many Chelsea fans will look forward to seeing how he copes with Eden Hazard, who continued his fine start to the season for Belgium during the break.
'Hazard has also been bringing the best out of Juan Mata, and the little Spaniard has just enjoyed a good rest after his busy summer, and he'll remember he scored the winner last time we were at Loftus Road.
'Bosingwa can leave acres behind him for Ashley Cole, and that draws the middle over. Centre-back Ryan Nelsen is 34 and he won't move out of the middle.
'Nelsen must think of us as a bit of bogey side: he has played Chelsea 11 times and only won once - in the League Cup on penalties.
'But Chelsea need to tighten up at the back too. I'm not overly concerned about the Super Cup loss to Atlético but lots of the defending in that game was below the high standard we have set ourselves. And if you look at the fact we also conceded three against City in the Community Shield and two to Reading, the manager knows there is work to be done as a group.
'Di Matteo will have watched César Azpilicueta in training and will know if he's integrating quickly. But we are not in a panic to bring him in. The manager may prefer Gary Cahill in this one for his concentration levels, given last season's performance.'
Ashley Cole and John Terry are over ankle injuries, Juan Mata will be considered for the squad having trained once since his two-week break from football. Marko Marin is close to a return from a hamstring strain having played 45 minutes in the Under-21s last night, but not yet.
For QPR, defender Stephane Mbia is a doubt due to an injury while away with Cameroon. Midfielder Samba Diakite is reported unavailable due to personal reasons.
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.
Chelsea's defeat at QPR last season is our only reverse in the last 68 games against newly promoted teams, over a period of 11 years. We have won 56 of those matches.
|This season to date|
|Aug 12||Manchester City (Community Shield)||L 2-3|
|Aug 19||Wigan (a)||W 2-0|
|Aug 22||Reading (h)||W 4-2|
|Aug 25||Newcastle (h)||W 2-0|
|Aug 31||Atlético Madrid (Uefa Super Cup)||L 1-4|
2012/13 Premier League scorers
Ivanovic 2, Lampard 2 (2 pens), Torres 2, Cahill 1, E Hazard 1 (pen)
League games since
An away win: 0
An away draw: 2
An away defeat: 1
|Chelsea's next three games|
|Wed 19 Sep||Juventus home||7.45pm|
|Sat 22 Sep||Stoke City home||3.00pm|
|Tue 25 Sep||Wolves (League Cup) home||7.45pm|
Frank Lampard is one goal away from equalling our all-time league scorer in top-flight matches - Bobby Tambling with 129 goals. He is currently level with Roy Bentley with 128.
John Terry needs one goal to reach 50 in all competitions for the Blues.
Fernando Torres, if selected, will play his 50th Premier League appearance for the Blues.
1 League Cup in 1967
Rangers best season was in 1975/76 when they finished runners-up to Liverpool in the old First Division.
QPR have played in 19 different locations since their formation.
Rangers' defeat to Swansea on the opening day ended a five-match winning run at Loftus Road which included the scalps of Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham.
The Rs have not had a goalless draw for over a year.
Manager Mark Hughes
Days in charge: 249
QPR's last 10 year league history
|2002/03||83||4th||League Division Two||3|
|2003/04||83||2nd||League Division Two||3|
|This season to date|
|Aug 18||Swansea (h)||L 0-5|
|Aug 25||Norwich (a)||D 1-1|
|Aug 28||Walsall (League Cup h)||W 3-0|
|Sep 1||Manchester City (a)||L 1-3|
2012/13 Premier League scorers
League games since
A home win: 1
A home draw: 6
A home defeat: 0
Ins Esteban Granero (Real Madrid, £9m), Stéphane Mbia (Marseille, £4.5m), Julio Cesar (Inter Milan, free), Junior Hoilett (Blackburn, tribunal), Ji-sung Park (Man Utd, £2m), Samba Diakite (Nancy, £4m), Robert Green (West Ham, free), Ryan Nelsen (Tottenham, free), Andrew Johnson (Fulham, free), José Bosingwa (Chelsea, free), Fabio (Man Utd, loan)
Outs Paddy Kenny (Leeds £400,000), Fitz Hall (Watford, free), Rowan Vine (St Johnstone, free), Heidar Helguson (Cardiff, indisclosed), Peter Ramage (Crystal Palace, free), Danny Shittu (Millwall, free), Matthew Connolly (Cardiff, undisclosed), Tommy Smith (Cardiff, undisclosed), Lee Cook (Leyton Orient, free), Patrick Agyemang (Stevenage, free), Akos Buzsaky (released), Gary Borrowdale (released), Danny Gabbidon (released), Joey Barton (Marseille, loan).
Ins Eden Hazard (Lille, undisclosed), Marko Marin (Werder Bremen, undisclosed), Thorgan Hazard (Lens, undisclosed), Oscar (Internacional, undisclosed), Lamisha Musonda (Anderlecht, undisclosed), Tika Musonda (Anderlecht, undisclosed), César Azpilicueta (Marseille, undisclosed), Victor Moses (Wigan, undisclosed).
Outs Didier Drogba (out of contract, now Shanghai Shenhua), Salomon Kalou (out of contract, now Lille), José Bosingwa (out of contract, now QPR), Marko Mitrovic (released, now Brescia)), Rhys Taylor (released, now Southend), Jeffrey Bruma (Hamburg, loan), Thibaut Courtois (Atlético Madrid, loan), Ulises Davila (Sabadell, loan), Kevin De Bruyne (Werder Bremen, loan), Matej Delac (Vitória Guimaräes, loan), Rohan Ince (Yeovil, loan), Tomas Kalas (Vitesse Arnham, loan), Milan Lalkovic (Vitória Guimaräes, loan), Patrick van Aanholt (Vitesse Arnham, loan), Ben Gordon (Birmingham, loan), Romulu Lukaku (West Brom, loan), Sam Walker (Bristol Rovers, loan), Sam Hutchinson (Nottingham Forest, loan), Conor Clifford (Portsmouth, loan), Josh McEachran (Middlesbrough, loan), Archange Nkumu Yeovil, loan), Thorgan Hazard (Zulte Waregem, loan), Amin Affane (Roda JC Kerkrade, loan), Nathaniel Chalobah (Watford, loan), Gael Kakuta (Vitesse Arnham, loan), Michael Essien (Real Madrid, loan), Yossi Benayoun (West Ham, loan), Jhon Pirez (CD Leganes, loan), Kenneth Omeruo (Den Haag, loan).
THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
The referee is Andre Marriner. His last Chelsea and QPR games were both against Stoke towards the end of last season. Chelsea have won just over half the games he has officiated since 2007.
There are no suspensions.
The Blues were held for the first time in this league campaign in what, despite no goals, was not a dull derby encounter.
It was on the whole an even contest. Queens Park Rangers can point to more genuine chances, especially after the break, but Chelsea spurned the best of all when Hazard fired over near the end, and it is very hard to explain why we weren't awarded a penalty when the same Chelsea player was clearly fouled in the first half.
The bright, attacking link-ups that have been evident on occasions this campaign were few and far between in this game. Victor Moses came on for his debut in the second half and with Daniel Sturridge introduced late on as well, we opened the visitors up more, but Rangers too could have won it near the end.
John Terry returned from suspension with both he and Ashley Cole over the injuries that had ruled them out of England games. Gary Cahill made way. Ramires came in on the right of midfield with Bertrand again on the left.
QPR made one change, new keeper Julio Cesar selected. Jose Bosingwa started at right-back for his new club.
Bertrand won a corner off Bosingwa inside the first minute from which Terry was only inches away from meeting with a near-post run.
With three minutes played Hazard should have scored from a flowing move he initiated. Torres weighted a ball nicely for Ramires to attack space down the right and the Brazilian whipped it in low - only for Hazard to fire too close to Julio Cesar.
With echoes of last season, QPR claimed an early penalty against David Luiz but Fabio had brushed against our defender and tumbled. However the home side did look to have teeth when they pushed forward in the early stages and Park crossed dangerously into our six-yard box before Cole headed away.
Ramires was the first player booked, for a trip on Alejandro Faurlin inside the Rangers half as he was just beaten to the ball with the home side trying to counter. Then Bobby Zamora brought the first save out of Cech. Torres then warmed the hands of Cesar as he turned back onto his right foot to shoot.
With 20 minutes gone, Fabio was replaced having admitted defeat in his attempt to overcome a couple of hard knocks received in the tackle. Nedum Onuoha came on for the on-loan Man United full-back and went to right-back with Bosingwa now on the left.
Both sides were taking turns to drive towards the other team's goal. It was fast, engaging football. Bertrand was booked for taking down Wright-Phillips as the ball was played into the former Chelsea man.
Both games between these sides at Loftus Road last season were decided by penalties, with one win apiece, and with Hazard on the pitch the odds were on spot-kicks, given or not given, being part of the story of the match again. The Belgian went on an incisive run towards the by-line and was clearly tripped from behind by Wright-Phillips who had been left chasing. Referee Andre Marriner decided to award a goal-kick and Chelsea could not believe the decision. There had been an earlier claim too when Terry was wrestled by Ryan Nelsen as a Chelsea free-kick was played into the Rangers area.
The home team lost another player to injury, Andrew Johnson, so Jamie MacKie came on shortly before David Luiz escaped his marker and powerfully headed a Lampard corner not too far off target.
A quickly taken Lampard free-kick caused the Rangers defence to be on the backfoot for a brief period and Mikel's sweetly-struck shot looked goalbound before a hooped shirt got in the way.
QPR had the first shot of the second period, Zamora and Park linking before Mackie found space to swivel and shoot. Cech didn't need to move far to deal with the effort.
Then the temperature of the game rose a few more degrees. It started with the best moment of skill of the game from Hazard, playing a pass out to Terry from behind his standing leg. Then Cole was caught painfully by a follow-through but play was waved on before Lampard was whistled up when he appeared to win a challenge cleanly.
QPR should have scored on 55 minutes after Chelsea slackness allowed Park a free header. There was relief when he planted it into the gloves of Cech.
Moses made his Chelsea debut on 58 minutes with Bertrand the man replaced.
There was no denying that Rangers were now on top, but they were hampered by wayward crossing and shooting from the likes of Wright-Phillips and Park.
Chelsea appeared to be missing the link-up between Mata and Hazard - the latter was not seeing enough of the ball. We changed shape to 4-3-3 with Hazard on the left of Torres and Moses on the right. Ramires was now deeper in midfield.
From his flank, Hazard worked space to whip a cross over that Ivanovic had to stretch well to meet beyond the far post but when he did, the Serbian was angry with himself for heading wide.
On 68 minutes, Hazard picked the pocket of Onuoha on halfway and raced away, slipping the ball on to Torres who tried to take on Anton Ferdinand but lost out. It wasn't happening for the Spaniard up front today. At the much-discussed handshakes before kick-off, Ferdinand didn't shake with Terry or Cole.
On 76 minutes came the great escape for Robbie Di Matteo's men. Mikel, who had enjoyed a good game but needed treatment minutes before, somehow was unaware of Zamora's presence as he played a pass back. The QPR striker took the ball wide of Cech but delayed his shot too long and when he did fire on target, there were Chelsea men back to block.
The Blues went straight down the other end and Moses did well to get a shot on target from a wide position - Julio Cesar shovelling it away.
Sturridge replaced Torres with 10 minutes remaining and he immediately looked sharp in combining with Hazard before running the ball out of play as he crossed.
On 86 minutes came a Chelsea chance as good as any of those QPR wasted. It was Moses who squared the ball to unmarked Hazard but from inside the area, the Belgian blazed over. We could have won it at the death with a swift counter-attack had Lampard not been closed down well as he shot, but so could Rangers had Cisse not shot against the ankle of David Luiz who was the only defender back.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, David Luiz, Terry (c), Cole; Mikel, Lampard; Ramires, Hazard, Bertrand (Moses 58); Torres (Sturridge 80).
Unused subs Turnbull, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Romeu, Oscar.
Booked Ramires 13, Bertrand 26.
QPR (4-4-2): Cesar; Bosingwa, Ferdinand, Nelsen, Fabio (Onuoha 18); Wright-Phillips (Cisse 69), Granero, Faurlin, Park (c); Zamora, Johnson (Mackie 32).
Unused subs Green, Dyer, Hoilett, Taarabt.
Referee Andre Marriner