Venue: Stamford Bridge
Date: Sunday, 29 April
Kick-off: 13.30 BST
Have we come back down to earth yet? Well, we probably haven’t but let’s hope the players have because after the excitement of the Champions League, it’s back to the Premier League today and our opponents are no Barcelona!
Ok, so given our last meeting in the Premier League saw us conceding penalties and a couple of red cards, you’d have been forgiven for thinking the ref had been drafted in from Uefa but as for QPR, even with the most ridiculous favours from the officials, they still had to cling on by their bootlaces to scrape the win.
We paid them back to an extent in the FA Cup but let’s be honest, what we really want is to add a nail to their Premier League coffin today with a win. And with Newcastle and Arsenal both dropping points yesterday, the three points definitely wouldn’t do us any harm in the league either…..just in case.
Going into today’s game, Roberto Di Matteo is, as ever unaffected by the speculation surrounding him – and his captain – saying “John Terry is fine and ready for Sunday’s game like the rest of the team, he has dealt with setbacks in the past. He’ll be very good. I think our players will be focused on trying to win the game and I think the rest is for other people to worry about. We just have to channel or energies onto the pitch and try and win now, that’s all. We’re feeling positive and we just have to try and keep this momentum going until the end of the season.
We seem to face every game a big challenge and it’s going to be another one – to get back in the Premier League mode and try to win the game against QPR. We take it game by game, will try to win Sunday to keep our hopes alive of finishing in the top four. We can’t speculate on the final. We are under pressure to win our games. That’s our position. It’s going to be a tough game because they are fighting against relegation and we know how hard it is to play against a team fighting against the drop. We played Wigan only a short time ago and it was very tough.”
QPR manager Mark Hughes meanwhile, aside from some nonsense about a guard of honour that no-one else seems to know anything about, has focused on RDM before this game, saying “He has done great and I think Robbie would obviously be delighted he has the opportunity that has been presented to him – he had to grab it with both hands and that is what he has done. I think the fact he was in and around the group with the previous manager meant he understood the issues the group had with the previous manager and he has been able to go in and, from the outside looking in it, it looks like he has been able to address issues. Who knows (if he will get the job). He has done his prospects no harm whatsoever. I think he has done everything that could be asked of him and that is credit to him because it was difficult circumstances as he was involved with the previous management team but he has come through.”
For Chelsea, Cahill and Luiz (hamtring) are both absent through injury, whilst Ivanovic serves the last game of his suspension.
For QPR, Diakite (illness) and Cisse (knee) are given as doubts and Taarabt is suspended following his red card last week.
CHELSEA (from): Cech, Ferreira, Bosingwa, Terry, Cole, Bertrand, Mikel, Essien, Meireles, Lampard, Ramires, Mata, Malouda, Drogba, Torres, Sturridge, Kalou, Turnbull.
QPR (from): Kenny, Cerny, Murphy, Young, Gabbidon, Onuoha, Ferdinand, Taiwo, Hill, Derry, Diakite, Barton, Buzsaky, Smith, Mackie, Wright-Phillips, Hulse, Cisse, Bothroyd, Zamora, Helguson, Campbell.
LAST MEETING (PL)
QPR 1-0 Chelsea (23rd October 2011)
On the bright side, QPR haven’t won at Stamford Bridge in the league since 1983, back in the old Division Two but whilst we probably come into this game bouncing off the back of the Barca game, they’re fighting relegation and stand to lose a lot more than us. With Newcatle and Arsenal both making a hash of things yesterday, three points today could be vital in our fight back towards a top four finish but I guess the outcome will depend on whether our lads are seeing qualification via that route as a necessity or not.