Wed 02 Jan 2013 19:45 (Attendance: 41,634)
The visit by local rivals begins our second half of league fixtures for the season. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton begin their 2013 previews…
Neighbours often pop round to ask for provisions to tide them over at this time of year. But QPR's greatest need is points, and Chelsea are not in charity mode, despite having 28 more than the Rs' 10.
Even the most committed Hoops fans described the first half against Liverpool, during which the hosts conceded three goals without reply, as one of the worst showings by any Premier League side.
Recently installed boss Harry Redknapp will need no reminding that the last time Chelsea played at Stamford Bridge, a slightly less feckless Aston Villa were smashed into pieces of eight.
Equally poignantly, QPR's most recent visit ended in a 6-1 win in favour of the Fulham Road side. Owner Tony Fernandes lamented the failure of his summer signings. 'Lost for words,' he tweeted. 'Back to the drawing board. Woeful performance.
'When we signed all those players everyone was full of praise.No one thought we would be in such a mess. Not over yet though.'
While the mood is depressed, older hands at Loftus Road will rally troops around the joy it would give Rangers fans to dent Chelsea's recent impressive run. They will also know that no side has endured a busier schedule than tonight's hosts and fatigue might be a factor.
However, the Pensioners are in fine form. It is a measure of the excellence of the Blues' Goodison Park result that it was our first league victory there since April 2008, against an Everton side that had lost only five times previously in 2012 and not once at home since March.
But when a team is playing catch-up in terms of matches, as the Londoners are, the trick is to string an extended run of wins together.
Chelsea are aiming to make it four straight victories over the festive period for the first time since 2005/06, when the José Mourinho steered his side to a second, back-to-back title win.
Everton match-winner Frank Lampard hit his ninth goal in all competitions against the Toffees. He has now netted in all but one of the six league games he has started in an injury-hit season.
The Blues have have won just once in eight Barclays Premier League matches with him absent, but been victorious in 10 of the 11 unbeaten in which he has figured.
The history-making Chelsea midfielder needs one goal tonight to equal Kerry Dixon's 193 goals in all competitions between August 1983 and May 1992, and is just 10 away from all-time top scorer Bobby Tambling's tally.
2012 was a year of massive highs and disappointing lows - much of it expected when a team is in transition.
Chelsea played 12 more games in the last calendar year than we did in 2011. Our record was played 65, won 36, drawn 15, lost 14, goals 137, goals conceded 77, clean sheets 21.
In 2011 we played 53, won 27, drew 14, lost 12; goals 100, goals conceded 53; clean sheets 17. In 2010 it was: played 53, won 34, drew 6, lost 13; goals 127, goals conceded 46; clean sheets 24. And in 2009: played 61, won 41, drew 14, lost 6; goals 122, goals conceded 54; clean sheets 28.
The 137 goals registered in a calendar year is a club record; 29 came in December alone.
2012 produced so many indelible memories, not least slapping the Rs for six at the Bridge in the league (a new club high - pictured below), winning comprehensively on the home soil of Arsenal and Spurs and handing out a record 8-0 thumping to visitors Villa.
In the Capital One Cup there has been the edging Manchester United in a nine-goal thriller, then destroying ancient rivals Leeds at Elland Road. Hopefully there are great memories yet to come in that competition in 2013.
Our overshadowed FA Cup campaign included an unforgettable 5-1 tonking of Tottenham in the Wembley semi-final, followed by a final victory over rivals Liverpool that was far more comfortable than the 2-1 scoreline suggests.
And then there is Europe. We faltered for the first time ever at the group stage in December but nothing can erase the highlights from last season's knockout stages: overhauling Napoli's 1-3 first-leg lead 4-1 on the Fulham Road, the extraordinary 2-2 at Barcelona, then beating Bayern on their own doorstep, in front of their own fans' end.
Who will ever forget, after Didier Drogba's successful penalty, that huddle of Chelsea players bursting out in all directions like the most beautiful firework you'll ever see.
And the goals of 2012: Drogba against Spurs in the semi, Barça at the Bridge and of course that header and penalty at the Allianz; Raul Meireles at home to Benfica, Ramires and Fernando Torres at Camp Nou, Torres at Sunderland, Oscar against Juventus, David Luiz's free kick against Villa, Mata at Tottenham and Norwich.
We welcomed wonderful new arrivals on the playing side and endured painful farewells, such as those for Drogba and Roberto Di Matteo.
At this stage last season we were placed fifth with 34 points from 19 games - four fewer than at this season's halfway stage - and would not have dreamt we would be crowned FA Cup and European champions by May.
Chelsea is a club in which even blind belief is sometimes rewarded. May the ups and downs of 2013 be as captivating and gripping as those of year just passed. Happy New Year everyone.
|Premier London League|
Barclays Premier League fixtures
Chelsea v QPR 7.45pm
Liverpool v Sunderland 7.45pm
Newcastle v Everton 8.00pm - Sky Sports
|Barclays Premier League table|
Race for the Premier League Golden Glove
Asmir Begovic (Stoke) 9
Petr Cech 8
Joe Hart (Manchester City) 7
Simon Mignolet (Sunderland) 7
Leading scorers in all competitions
Robin van Persie (Manchester Utd) 17
Luis Suarez (Liverpool) 16
Fernando Torres 14
Jermain Defoe (Tottenham) 14
Miguel Michu (Swansea) 14
Theo Walcott (Arsenal) 14
Juan Mata 13
Demba Ba (Newcastle) 12
Click on tabs above for more briefing.
The pride of west London is at stake, but far more important for both sides are the three precious points. We look at what might swing them in Chelsea's favour.
There is no disguising the huge blow to Chelsea that Petr Cech is absent. The big Czech has been in imperious form this season and was arguably Chelsea's player of 2012 - not least for his heroics in the Allianz Arena.
With Cech's putative successor Thibaut Courtois on a season-long loan at Atlético Madrid, Rafael Benítez must decide between three players whose first-team involvement has been very limited recently.
Promising youngster Jamal Blackman's only experience to date was being on the bench for Arsenal's visit last season.
It was his fourth league appearance and the few saves he had to make with bring him confidence. Turnbull has faced QPR three times previously between 2005 and 2007 with Crewe and Cardiff and kept one clean sheet over two wins and one loss.
Manager Harry Redknapp is still struggling to find the right mix of players and formation at QPR, which may offer Chelsea opportunities to exploit.
He started the 0-3 defeat at home to Liverpool with a 4-4-1-1 system employing former Chelsea winger Shaun Wright-Phillips on the left and Jamie Mackie on the right.
Liverpool, and especially Suarez, found little to stop them in the final third and reaped maximum benefit in the opening half-hour.
The Rs were equally lack-lustre upfront and after 30 minutes Redknapp moved Mackie there to add some bite, then removed the disappointing Djibril Cissé at half-time - the Frenchman looks a shadow of the player who started his Rs career with six goals and two red cards in nine matches.
With a 3-5-1-1 set-up in the second period, Wright-Phillips acting as right wing-back and Armand Traoré left wing-back, no more goals were scored at either end.
Chelsea struggled against the back three of Juventus, but Clint Hill, Ryan Nelsen and Nedum Onuoha are not Bonucci, Chiellini and Barzagli, nor are either Samba Diakité or Stéphane Mbia comparable to Pirlo.
The hassling, all-out effort that just about saved their relegation skins last season often seems absent from the Rs at the moment. Perhaps it has been diluted by the flurry of summer signings, many of whom seem ill-equipped for the scrap that is currently required.
In his winter sales shopping Redknapp will no doubt be looking for Sherpas rather than Mercedes. Yesterday he also admitted a few players took knocks during the weekend defeat and will miss out tonight.
Interim manager Rafael Benítez will probably make changes in his midfield again, with Victor Moses and Oscar pressing for a start after starting on the bench at Goodison. Ramires was deployed in a less usual advanced role against Everton purely to counteract the threat of left-back Leighton Baines.
Frank Lampard, one notch behind the legendary Kerry Dixon on the all-time goalscoring chart, will hope to retain his place and will have noted the space around the edge of the box given to Liverpool by QPR at the weekend.
QPR will also have to find a solution for the problems that Juan Mata is causing teams with his clever decision-making in the centre on the ball at the moment.
Fernando Torres, who hit a hat-trick in this fixture last season, has hit seven goals in eight games in all competitions. An early goal could shatter the visitors' fragile confidence.
Click on tabs above for more briefing.
WE HAVE HISTORY
Chelsea's first ever game on 2 January was in 1911 at Stockport County, Bob Whittingham and George Hilsdon both netting equalisers in a 2-2 draw, Gatling Gun's coming in the dying embers of the action.
In recent years we have endured mixed results on this day. In 2012 at Wolves it was a Ram Lam ding-dong. Ramires opened the scoring ten minutes into the second half, whipping the ball into the net after a corner. Frank Lampard earned a 2-1 victory with an 87th-minute strike after Stephen Ward had levelled three minutes earlier.
2011 brought a bizarre 3-3 home draw with Villa (Lampard, Didier Drogba and John Terry scoring for the Blues), and four years earlier a trip to play the same opponent ended in an eminently forgettable 0-0.
You have to go back to the Boleyn Ground in 2006 for a previous win. Chelsea stormed 14 points clear at the top, despite West Ham's Marlon Harewood equalizing Lampard's opener.
Then Hernan Crespo came off the bench to round Roy Carroll and roll the ball into an empty net (pictured below), and Drogba converted Eidur Gudjohnsen's clever pass to make it 3-1.
Close to this day in 2008 - 5 January - Chelsea hosted QPR for the first time in 12 years at the Bridge, in the FA Cup. The Blues progressed thanks to Lee Camp's unfortunate own goal.
Today, Chelsea are hoping to extend our unbeaten run against QPR at Stamford Bridge to 14 games since Rangers last won here in the League Cup quarter-final replay in 1986.
The Rs' last league victory at Stamford Bridge was in April 1983 when they won 2-0 on their way to the old Second Division Championship.
Paul Goddard, Glenn Roeder and Martin Busby scored for Rangers when they last won here in the top flight in March 1979 (3-1). Chelsea replied through a Don Shanks own goal, when he turned in a Garry Stanley cross.
Our last 10 league meetings at Stamford Bridge
1986/87 - Chelsea won 3-1
1987/88 - Drew 1-1
1989/90 - Drew 1-1
1990/91 - Chelsea won 2-0
1991/92 - Chelsea won 2-1
1992/93 - Chelsea won 1-0
1993/94 - Chelsea won 2-0
1994/95 - Chelsea won 1-0
1995/96 - Drew 1-1
2011/12 - Chelsea won 6-1
LAST SEASON'S CORRESPONDING MATCH
Chelsea 6-1 Queens Park Rangers
Barclays Premier League, 29 April 2012
Ref Howard Webb
Manager Roberto Di Matteo
Team Cech; Ferreira, Bosingwa, Terry (c), Cole; Essien, Lampard; Kalou, Mata, Sturridge; Torres.
Scorers Sturridge (1), Terry (12), Torres (18, 24, 63), Malouda (79)
Substitutes Malouda for Mata (67), Ramires for Kalou (73), Hutchinson for Bosingwa (81).
Manager Mark Hughes
Team Kenny; Onuoha, Ferdinand, Hill, Taiwo; Derry; Mackie, Barton (c), Buzsaky, Cissé; Zamora.
Scorer Cissé (84)
Substitutes Traoré for Buzsaky (64), Wright-Phillips for Zamora (77)
The reverse fixture this season
15 September 2012 Barclays Premier League
Chelsea v QPR in all competitions
Games played 52
Chelsea wins 20
Rangers wins 14
Head-to-head in the league at Stamford Bridge
Games played 21
Chelsea wins 11
QPR wins 4
Biggest league win at Stamford Bridge for each team
Chelsea 6-1 QPR - 29/04/2012
Chelsea 0-3 QPR - 28/12/1974
Chelsea lost to QPR at Stamford Bridge: 9,835
QPR won away in the Premier League:410
Arsenal won a trophy: 2,783
Liverpool won the league: 8,278
Visit again at lunchtime for Part Two of the Briefing.
Chelsea have won seven of our last eight matches in all competitions.
West Ham away was the only occasion this season, out of 12, we have opened the scoring in the Premier League and went on to lose the game.
Everton was the fourth time we have come back to win after going behind in the Premier League.
Only Stoke, with nine, have kept more clean sheets than Chelsea's eight.
The Blues are 13 points better off compared to the corresponding 19 fixtures last season.
|Last six results|
|Dec 13||Monterrey (Club World Cup SF, Japan)||W 3-1|
|Dec 16||Corinthians (Club World Cup final, Japan)||L 0-1|
|Dec 19||Leeds (League Cup QF a)||W 5-1|
|Dec 23||Aston Villa (h)||W 8-0|
|Dec 26||Norwich (a)||W 1-0|
|Dec 30||Everton (a)||W 2-1|
Premier League scorers
Mata 7, Torres 7, Lampard 6 (2 pens), E Hazard 4 (1 pen), Ivanovic 4, Ramires 3, Cahill 2, Cole 1, D Luiz 1, Moses 1, Oscar 1, Sturridge 1, Terry 1. Total 39
League games since
A home win: 0
A home draw: 1
A home defeat: 4
|Chelsea's next three games|
|Sat 5 Jan||Southampton (FA Cup) away||3pm|
|Wed 9 Jan||Swansea (League Cup semi-final, 1st leg) home||7.45pm|
|Sat 12 Jan||Stoke away||3pm|
Frank Lampard requires one goal to equal our second highest top scorer in all competitions, Kerry Dixon with 193.
If selected, Ramires will make his 100th start in a Blue shirt.
Congratulations to Ross Turnbull who celebrates his 28th birthday on Friday.
1 League Cup in 1967
Rangers' best season was in 1975/76 when they finished runners-up to Liverpool in the old First Division.
Harry Redknapp has won three of his 16 managerial visits to Stamford Bridge - all in the Premier League with West Ham.
QPR have scored three goals in their last six away league games
Harry Redknapp's side have not won any of the 14 games when their opponents opened the scoring.
Rangers have won three points from a possible 30 on the road this term. There have been three draws at Norwich, Sunderland and Wigan and defeats at Manchester City, Tottenham, West Brom, Arsenal, Stoke, Manchester United and Newcastle.
Last season they had the worst away record in the Premier League with 11 points from a possible 57.
Manager Harry Redknapp
Days in charge: 39
|QPR's last 10 year league history|
|2002/03||83||4th||League Division Two||3|
|2003/04||83||2nd||League Division Two||3|
LAST PREMIER LEAGUE LINE UP
Queens Park Rangers 0-3 Liverpool
Sunday 30 December 2012
Manager Harry Redknapp
Team Julio Cesar; Onuoha, Nelsen, Hill (c), Traoré; Mackie, Diakité, Mbia, Wright-Phillips; Taarabt, Cissé.
Substitutes Derry for Cissé (h/t), Granero for Diakité (63), Fabio for Wright-Phillips (80)
Booked Mbia, Fabio
|Last six results|
|Dec 1||Aston Villa (h)||D 1-1|
|Dec 8||Wigan (a)||D 2-2|
|Dec 15||Fulham (h)||W 2-1|
|Dec 22||Newcastle (a)||L 0-1|
|Dec 26||West Brom (h)||L 1-2|
|Dec 30||Liverpool (h)||L 0-3|
2012/13 Premier League scorers
Taarabt 4, Cissé 3, Zamora 3, Mackie 2, Granero 1, Hoilett 1, Nelsen 1, own goal 1. Total 16
League games since
An away win: 23
An away draw: 1
An away defeat: 0
THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Lee Mason's two previous Chelsea games this season included 15 goals - the 4-2 win against Reading and the 5-4 Capital One win over Manchester United, both at Stamford Bridge.
There are no suspensions.
A player will now need 10 yellow cards before he is handed a suspension (five yellows will lead to a warning as to his future conduct rather than a ban). Whereas the suspension for five yellows before 31 December is one game in length, suspension for 10 yellows is two matches although that only applies until the second Sunday in April.
Chelsea succumbed to a first home defeat against neighbours Queens Park Rangers since 1983, thanks to a late goal from Shaun Wright-Phillips.
After a stale first half, Chelsea came out hungrier in the second period and more than once looked like opening the scoring, only for a sucker punch from former Blue Wright-Phillips, who had been introduced as a first-half sub.
Chances fell to Fernando Torres and Branislav Ivanovic in particular, but found visiting goalkeeper Julio Cesar in top form, and our visitors a more defiant opposition than they have been in recent months.
The result leaves us in fourth place, still a point adrift of third-placed Spurs, but with a game in hand.
Elsewhere Rafael Benitez opted to rotate with Marko Marin starting his first league match since arriving in the summer, and he was joined in the starting 11 by Oscar, with Juan Mata and Eden Hazard rested.
Visitors QPR also made changes. Junior Hoilett came In for Djibril Cisse and Fabio in at full-back. Wright-Phillips dropped to the bench.
Marin's first contribution was to pick up an early yellow card for a late tackle on Rangers' Stephane Mbia, who would not be the last player in the wars in a fiercely contested opening period.
Hoilett was forced off after just 15 minutes, replaced by Wright-Phillips, while shortly afterwards David Luiz, who to that point had taken the game's only meaningful effort, volleying narrowly over, clattered into his own team-mate Oscar inside the centre-circle, with the younger Brazilian requiring treatment from Chelsea medical staff.
Once recovered, Oscar shot wide from distance, while Marin bent over from the edge of the box as Chelsea looked the more threatening side, though without a real chance to speak of in the opening half-hour.
Oscar caught a decent sight of goal inside the area when Marin slipped him in, but his curling effort was deflected wide by the head of Clint Hill.
On rare forays out of their half, QPR had seen Wright-Phillips twice scuff wide with unlikely efforts, but were otherwise struggling to leave their half, the mercurial Adel Taarabt suffering near anonymity at the front of their formation.
Two minutes beforethe break, Julio Cesar was forced into his first save, knocking another deflected Oscar effort away with his feet, before seeing Victor Moses fire the follow-up over from 18 yards.
The game could not really have got any worse at half-time, but it picked up quickly and Chelsea almost took the lead three minutes after the break.
Marin twisted and turned his way in from the left and squared across a crowded penalty area, where Moses just failed to make a true enough connection to put his side in front.
Moments later Lampard was crowded out as he was about to pull the trigger, but you sensed an opening goal may not be far away, with corner after corner beginning to come our way. Ivanovic headed over, via the crossbar, from Marin's centre and then Torres was denied at point-blank range by a flying Cesar.
QPR's first effort on target came two minutes before the hour mark, when Esteban Granero, following intelligent build-up from Wright-Phillips and Taarabt, whipped an effort towards Turnbull's far post. Alert and nimble, the goalkeeper was able to hold the well-struck shot.
Turnbull was quick off his line again, but needed the help of Gary Cahill to intervene after Taarabt's deft backheel put Jamie Mackie in on goal, and then Shaun Derry sent a free header straight at the goalkeeper as his big night came to life.
On 66 minutes Chelsea thought the breakthrough had been made. Moses had seen his powerful drive deflected wide, and from the resultant corner, the ball fell loose to Lampard, who sent an unstoppable half-volley into the bottom corner. The linesman's flag was already raised though, and the wait went on.
With Mata on for Moses, a goal seemed more likely than ever, and it came, but not where it was expected.
A QPR corner fell to Taarabt outside the Chelsea box, and another neat touch from him knocked the ball down to Wright-Phillips, whose low drive into the bottom corner would have beaten any goalkeeper. It was the best of the little winger, and quality all too rarely seen during his Stamford Bridge days. He did not celebrate the goal, his first in the league since May 2010, which set his side up for their first away win of the season.
Desperate for an equaliser, Chelsea piled forward, and it was Ivanovic who drew the foul from Hill 20 yards from goal. David Luiz took the shot, but it was straight into a densely-populated QPR wall.
A minute from time, the Serbian met Mata's cross and it looked for all the world like a goal, but the ball flew just over the bar, consigning us to a first league defeat in a month, and the worst possible start to 2013.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Turnbull; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic, Bertrand; David Luiz, Lampard (c) (Ramires 78); Marin (Hazard 59), Oscar, Moses (Mata 74); Torres
Unused subs Hilario,Ferreira, Cole, Piazon.
Booked Marin 3
QPR (4-1-4-1): Julio Cesar; Onuoha, Nelsen, Hill (c), Fabio; Derry; Mackie, Granero (Park 89), Mbia, Hoilett (Wright-Phillips 15);
Taarabt (Dyer 90+2)
Unused subs Green, Ferdinand, Faurlin, Cissé.
Goals Wright-Phillips 78
Booked Hill 85
Referee Lee Mason