An unbeaten Chelsea host a QPR side who have the most defeats in the Premier League so far on Saturday afternoon in a London derby.
Securing passing into the quarter-finals of the League Cup with a hard-earned victory over Shrewsbury Town in mid-week, Chelsea are continuing their dominant start to the season. Conceding a last minute goal last weekend away to Manchester United will still annoy Mourinho though despite their good start and he himself has admitted Chelsea could have a comprehensive lead at the top. A trip to Anfield follows an away trip in the Champions League to Maribor, so Chelsea will want to go into those matches with a succesful home performance.
Victory under the lights of Loftus Road last Monday saw QPR move off the foot of the table to 19th place and 7 points. The key now for the team is to find some momentum and get a run of form to help themselves out of the relegation area. The next 3 fixtures do not offer that unfortunately for an under pressure Redknapp with Chelsea, Manchester City and Newcastle – who are starting to change their fortunes – looking difficult prospects.
Diego Costa looks set to return from his troublesome hamstring injury, but it is unclear whether he will appear from the start or off the bench. Ramires could also return for Chelsea, but Remy is set to miss out until the end of Novemeber.
Midfield duo Mutch and Barton are likely to be out for a further week, while Rio Ferdinand starts a 3 match ban after his tweet was punished by the FA. McCarthy and Onuoha are also absentees for QPR.
Chelsea are one of 5 teams in Europe’s top 5 leagues that remain unbeaten this season (Bayern, Gladbach, Hoffenheim, and PSG are the others).
Didier Drogba’s goal against Shrewsbury was his third in 3 successive games for Chelsea – the first time since May 2010.
QPR’s disappointing start to the season is still not as bad as their previous season in the Premier League two years when they failed to win a match until round 17 of fixtures.
50% of QPR’s goals in the league this season have come from set pieces.
The Belgian international is starting to reach the top form he achieved last season with the goals and assists set to follow. With two goals and 1 assist to his name so far it has been a slow start for Hazard, but 18 chances created have been created while his quality has been shown in the build-up to Chelsea’s goals.
There was a moment last week against Manchester United that summed Hazard up – a speeding run and deft touch that saw him break through the defence with ease resulted in the corner Chelsea scored from and was reminiscent of his run against Arsenal that won the penalty. If QPR defend like they have for the majority of the season, it could result in a rewarding day for Hazard and the rest of the Chelsea attackers.
Despite their victory last weekend QPR had a major problem with retaining possession, if there is a repeat against Chelsea then the outcome won’t be as fortunate as against Aston Villa – which is why Leroy Fer will be important.
The start to his QPR career could have been better, but with the injuries to the London side Leroy Fer is the best passing option have in midfield – a passing accuracy of 82%. He also offers a threat going forward with an average 2.1 key passes per match, while in defence he has made 16 tackles and 8 interceptions overall. With the importance he has to his side this weekend, Fer will need to have mature game and make sure he is fully concentrated for the 90 minutes – something that is not always the case.
With Mourinho known for defensive solidarity due to the number of clean sheets his Chelsea sides have kept over the years, and the dominance Chelsea are expected to have, Chelsea to keep a clean sheet at 1.77 with TailorBet is a good bet.
In one of the easiest games to predict of the season, Chelsea will probe in the opening stages before winning by as many goals as their intensity deserves in what will be a dominant performance for the league leaders.