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Torres Chelsea v QPR

PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: CHELSEA V QUEENS PARK RANGERS

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…


TALKING POINTS
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.

KEY STAT
QPR have lost 21 of 29 away games since their return to the Premier League in 2011.


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.

Chelsea v QPR


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.

KEY TWEET
What are your three favourite Chelsea matches from 2012? #CFCPMB

 

Premier London League
P W D L F A Pts
Arsenal 5 3 1 1 13 8 10
West Ham 5 3 0 2 10 8 9
Tottenham 5 3 0 2 12 11 9
Chelsea 5 2 2 1 7 6 8
QPR 5 1 1 3 4 6 4
Fulham 5 0 2 3 4 11 2

 

Barclays Premier League fixtures
Wednesday
Chelsea v QPR 7.45pm
Liverpool v Sunderland 7.45pm
Newcastle v Everton 8.00pm - Sky Sports


Barclays Premier League table
Top Pld Gd Pts
1 Man Utd 20 +22 49
2 Man City 20 +19 42
3 Chelsea 19 +21 38
4 Tottenham 20 +10 36
5 Arsenal 19 +18 33
6 Everton 20 +8 33
Bottom
15 Newcastle 20 -11 20
16 Wigan 20 -13 18
17 Aston Villa 20 -24 18
18 Southampton 19 -11 17
19 Reading 20 -15 13
20 QPR 20 -20 10

 

Race for the Premier League Golden Glove
Clean sheets
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


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PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: CHELSEA V QUEENS PARK RANGERS

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.

Crespo Chelsea


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
Attendance 41,675

Chelsea

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).
Booked None

QPR
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)
Booked Barton


The reverse fixture this season
15 September 2012 Barclays Premier League
QPR…………….……..….0 Chelsea………..……0
                Att: 18,271


Chelsea v QPR in all competitions
Games played 52
Chelsea wins 20
Rangers wins 14
Draws 18

Head-to-head in the league at Stamford Bridge
Games played 21
Chelsea wins 11
QPR wins 4
Draws 6


Biggest league win at Stamford Bridge for each team
Chelsea 6-1 QPR - 29/04/2012
Chelsea 0-3 QPR - 28/12/1974


DAYS SINCE
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.

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