Chelsea continue to rule the top spot on the table, being the best and the luckiest team in the Premier League. A gifted late winner from Loic Remy helped the Blues salvage three important points against an impeccable Stoke City side last weekend.
The Manchester derby is not the only derby taking place this Sunday as Chelsea travel to Loftus Road to play against local rivals Queens Park Rangers.
Let’s analyze our opponents in our opposition scouting report:
Queens Park Rangers Football Club was founded in 1882 after the merger of Christchurch Rangers and St. Judes Institute, and their traditional colors are blue and white. Owing to their proximity to other west London clubs, QPR maintain long-standing rivalries with several other clubs in the area. The most notable of these are Chelsea, Fulham, and Brentford. Their honors include winning the League Cup in 1967, being runners-up in the old First Division in 1975–76 and reaching the fInal of the FA Cup in 1982.
QPR are 18th in the Premier League table, three points from safety and have started to look dangerous again. Out of both these West London sides, it was QPR who had a more convincing win last weekend. The Rangers thrashed a strong West Brom side 4-1 and shared points with Villa in a 3-3 draw, but the Rangers have suffered at home without a single victory in their last six home games.
Last 5 matches: L-L-L-W-D
QPR Manger Chris Ramsey has a selection headache ahead of this crucial fixture, Adel Taarabt, Suk-Young Yun and Eduardo Vargas are all injured and bound to miss out on Sundays action. On the other hand, Leroy Fer and Richard Dunne might start on the bench after a quick recovery over the past few weeks. Michael Doughty and Rio Ferdinand are both ruled out.
Chris Ramsey will be opting for the 4-4-2 formation against the Blues with Onuoha and Caulker guarding the keeper, Barton and Sandro behind the two strikers with wingers Kranjcar and Phillips. Leading from the front will be Zamora and QPR’s very own star Charlie Austin, who is having one of his best seasons playing for the Rangers.
Strength – Key Player
Charlie Austin: The 25-year-old striker has 17 Premier League goals and is the joint second top scorer alongside Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero, just 2 behind Harry Kane and Diego Costa. His 78th minute goal against Villa might not have won his side 3 points, but his flawless performances haven’t gone unnoticed. The England international has been involved in 55% of QPR’s 38 goals this season. A man who has had a terrific season will play a massive role for the Rangers this Sunday.
With 20 defeats in 32 matches, the Rangers are a weak team who have recently struck form. Ramsey’s men have had an embarrassing home run with six consecutive defeats. With numerous injury concerns, their defense is easily penetrable, they have conceded the opening goal in 23 of their 32 league matches this season – a league high. Defensive set-pieces have been a concern over the season for QPR as they look lethargic with teams bulldozing them during important set-pieces. The defense will have a rough day this Sunday keeping tabs on players like Eden Hazard, Willian, and Loic Remy, who have the pace and quality to keep the defenders on their toes.
Head to Head
There have been 40 games between the two West London clubs with Chelsea winning 16, leaving Queens Park Rangers with 10. Both teams have shared the spoils 14 times.
– QPR have kept a clean sheet in three of their last four Premier League matches at home to Chelsea (W2 D1 L1).
– Chelsea have conceded in six of their last seven games against Rangers in the top-flight (W3 D2 L2).
– The Blues have scored first in 24 of their 30 Premier League games this term.
– Their next goal will be their 100th in all competitions this season.
– Eden Hazard will make his 100th Premier League appearance in this game.
Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas are both one card away from a 2-game suspension and will miss out on Arsenal and Manchester United, playing them would be a calculated risk. QPR are fighting for their lives to move out of the relegation zone, and they will not go down without a fight. After their recent success against the Baggies, they look hungry and motivated to earn at least one point against their local rivals. Although the two teams are miles apart in the Premier League table, should QPR continue their recent form, they are bound to upset Mourinho’s men. It is going to be a derby that is bound to be tight and fascinating throughout the 90 minutes.
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Edited By: Vikram Vadiganeni