QUEENS PARK RANGERS

v

CHELSEA

Loftus Road, London

October 23rd, 1600 GMT

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After a gap of fifteen years, a new set of rivalry is rekindled in the Premier League, as the fans get to savor the flavor of the West London derby. Interestingly, the rivalry goes back to 1968 and last time Chelsea Football Club and Queens Park Rangers clashed in a top flight encounter was in 1996, where the Glenn Hoddle mentored Blues got the better of the Ra��s.

Since then, though, the Rangers have been struggling to stay afloat in the top division. Last yeara��s impressive run of victories brought the Championship title to Loftus Road, eventually buoyed the West Londoners to the premier division.

After the recent big money takeover by Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes, there is certainly something common among the two West London clubs as they lock horns against each other in a late evening kick off.

Team News and Tactical Brief

Queens Park Rangers FC

Neil Warnocka��s side has had a decent start to the Premier League, with the Londoners harnessing nine points from their opening eight games. The concern for Neil Warnock lies in the fact that Rangers havena��t been able to win a home match since the inception of the new season. The Ra��s were frustrated by Blackburn Rovers who denied them their first home win after Samba was left unmarked from a corner, who cancelled out Helgusona��s strike.

QPR would be without the services of striker DJ Campbell for coming six weeks, as the Brit has been sidelined due to a torn metatarsal. All is not pink in the QPR camp as reports surfaced of a spat between Barton and Taarabt, while Warnock verbally attacked a fan who leaked team news one day prior to the match.A�The squad should keep this entire episode aside as they prepare for the tough Chelsea challenge – especially after the humiliating loss to Fulham in the previous derby.

Heidar Helguson is expected to start once again, as he did against Blackburn Rovers last week. Taarabt has been under the microscope of many fans after delivering hot-&-cold performances lately. He is expected to start along with Shaun Wright-Phillips and Joey Barton in the middle of the park. As defender Daniel Gabbidon and striker Rob Hulse are still missing due to injuries, Warnock would be lamenting the fact that striker Patrick Agyemang was loaned out to Millwall FC, as he finds his team in a sort of striker crisis.

Probable Starting Line-up (4-4-2):A�Kenny (GK); Hall, Young, Ferdinand, Traore; Wright-Phillips, Barton, Derry; Taarabt, Helguson, Faurlin

Chelsea FC

Andre Villas-Boas led Blues travel to the north of the Borough of Hammersmith after a long time to face the local challenge of newly-promoted QPR. As the second West London derby beckons for the Blues, there is no attesting the fact that Terry and his lads would be clear cut favorites to win this tie and keep the pressure up on the Manchester clubs, which face off a little bit earlier on Sunday.

Chelsea have certainly turned on the champagne football quotient and are enjoying a purple patch with team having garnered thirteen sleek goals in their last three games. Chelsea equaled their UEFA Champions league record margin of victory over a team in midweek as the Blues overwhelmed Belgian side Genk at home. Chelsea FC is currently slotted at third in the league having harvested nineteen points from their opening eight fixtures, and Andre Villas-Boas will not be taking this game lightly as a tricky derby win could catapult Blues above rivals Manchester United, depending on the result at Old Trafford.

The crowd has always played a huge factor in derbies, and will be expected to roar on the top of their voices as they would be seated very close to the pitch, but Chelsea coaching staff would be more concerned about the likes of former Newcastle man Joey Barton, former Chelsea midfielder Shaun Wright-Phillips, defender Anton Ferdinand and star player Adel Taraabt.

Villas-Boas is expected to deploy a different and a more experienced line-up on Sunday as dropping points against local rivals could abruptly dent the good form Chelsea has managed to churn since the loss at Old Trafford. Captain John Terry is expected to partner Ivanovic at the centre, which would see David Luiz warm the bench.

Ramires would be out for this tie with a knee injury the Brazilian suffered after tapping in the third goal against Everton last weekend. Even though Oriol Romeu impressed the purists with an influential performance against Genk in the mid-week, John Obi Mikel would be a safe bet to replace him in the centre of the park, just ahead of the last line of defense. Florent Malouda will start from the bench as he would be replaced by Juan Mata, after the Spaniard was rested for the Genk match.

Didier Drogba is expected to start upfront alongside in-form Daniel Sturridge, who just cana��t stop scoring at the moment, having grasped four goals in the last four matches. Fernando Torres, who had a good run out against Genk showing his class as he slotted two immaculately placed shots in the net to score a brace, will not travel as he is still serving a domestic ban.

Will he be missed in the derby?

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Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-3): Cech(GK); Bosignwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole; Meireles, Mikel, Lampard; Mata, Sturridge, Drogba

A�Key Facts:

  1. Chelsea have only managed to win once in their last ten league games at Loftus Road.
  2. Rangers are yet to win at Loftus Road in eight attempts.
  3. Chelsea custodian Petr Cech has only kept one clean sheet in last 12 games for the Blues, the one coming on the opening day against Stoke City.
  4. Chelsea have never gone down against newly promoted sides in the Premier League in their last 63 encounters, since April 2001.
  5. The Blues have won all their matches when they managed to take a lead.
  6. Solomon Kaloua��s next appearance from the bench would be his 100th, maximum for any Chelsea substitute.

TheHardTacklea��s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR

Didier Drogba ( Chelsea FC )

The big Ivorian is on the verge of making history with a club which he joined in the summer of 2004. The next time Chelsea number eleven takes the field, which will be this weekend against QPR, he would have played the second highest number of matches ever by a foreign player for Chelsea FC. It would be his 313th cap for the former champions. Drogba has been surprisingly very quite in terms of goals this season but has sparkled in bits during matches. He would be our man to watch out for in the derby as he would be looking to bring his season right on the track.

TheHardTacklea��s PREDICTION

QPR 1-3 Chelsea

Chelsea would go out all guns blazing against an unpredictable QPR side and would not approach the derby in a complacent manner. With all the veterans returning to the side, Chelsea would be flaunting a lot more teeth in all the areas on the field, and keeping QPR’s home record in check, it will be very surprising if R’s manage to garner anything out of this tie.

TheHardTackle’s BLAST FROM THE PAST

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[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVzdmgRXWb4]

QPR v Chelsea – Carling Cup 2009

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One Response to “QPR v Chelsea – Preview: Villas-Boas’ First Taste Of This West London Derby”

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  1. abhi says:

    will torres not play?