Queens Park Rangers-Chelsea Preview
Top of the table Chelsea will be confident of getting back to winning ways when they welcome Queens Park Rangers to Stamford Bridge on Monday.
Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea (7-2-0) dropped points for just the second time this season when they conceded a late equaliser at Manchester United on Sunday. The Blues had looked in complete control of the game after Didier Drogba’s opener, but a late red card for Branislav Ivanovic left them short of numbers in defence late on, and Robin van Persie smashed in a set-piece rebound from close range to claim a last-gasp draw.
Chelsea needed a late own goal to see off Shrewsbury Town in the League Cup in midweek, and many of the first team players who were rested for that game are likely to return and attempt to make amends for Sunday’s disappointment.
"I thought we played well against Manchester United but obviously there was disappointment right at the end," Gary Cahill said, in an interview with the official Chelsea website. "On Saturday it’s another home game to look forward to but QPR are coming off the back of a good result. I watched them on Monday (against Aston Villa) and they were great, so yet again it’s another tough game in the Premier League.
"We have to prepare right, rest up after the Shrewsbury game and make sure we’re ready."
Harry Redknapp’s QPR (2-1-6) finally lifted themselves off the foot of the table with a 2-0 win over Aston Villa last weekend. Charlie Austin bagged both goals as Redknapp continued with his recent change of tactics, using Bobby Zamora as a target up top and sitting his defenders deep to negate a lack of pace at the back.
The win over Villa came as a massive boost after weeks of turmoil at the club, but Chelsea will pose a much sterner test on Saturday.
"We’ll need a top performance," Redknapp admitted. "They’re the best team in the country, the team to beat this season for sure, but we’ll give it a go. It’s a London derby and we’re ready for the game. We want to put on a performance for our fans."
"Our performances at home have been good – we’ve not had a bad one to be honest. We’ve got to maintain this now and if we do, we’ve got a chance in this league. There’s nothing in it. Hull in tenth are only four points above us – it’s a wide open league."
Redknapp may recall Adel Taarabt after the two patched up their differences following comments by the manager about the playmaker’s fitness and attitude. However, Nedum Onuoha, Jordan Mutch and Joey Barton are all doubts with hamstring injuries. Alejandro Faurlin will miss the rest of the season with a knee ligament problem.
Chelsea are without striker Loic Remy after he aggravated a groin injury, but Diego Costa may return after a two-week lay-off.
The last time QPR were in the top-flight (2012-13) they took four points off Chelsea and didn’t conceded a goal in either game – drawing 0-0 at Loftus Road and winning 1-0 at the Bridge. However, the Hoops have never scored more than a single goal against Chelsea in the Premier League era.