High-flying Chelsea travel to Loftus Road to face QPR on Sunday. Chelsea have been in fine form in recent weeks and sit in third place, while QPR’s new-look squad have risen to 11th.
QPR endured a relatively poor start to their Premier League campaign, losing to Bolton and Wigan within their first three matches. A late influx of players in the summer transfer window reinvigorated the squad and the results have since improved, however.
Neil Warnock’s side won impressively away against Wolves and gained creditable draws against Newcastle and Aston Villa in the following three games. A 6-0 loss at Fulham and 1-1 draw at home to Blackburn will have disappointed the QPR faithful, however.
New signings like Joey Barton and Shaun Wright-Phillips have added an extra element to QPR’s play, but Neil Warnock’s side still lack a quality goal scorer. The London side have only scored six goals in eight matches and no player has found the net more than once.
Chelsea have been in the ascendency in recent weeks. The first four matches of Andre Villas-Boas’ reign saw Chelsea draw with Stoke and scrape past West Brom, Norwich and Sunderland. Chelsea then lost 3-1 to Manchester United despite a decent performance.
Since then, Chelsea have been in free-scoring form. The Pensioners have scored 12 goals in three matches as they easily swept aside Swansea, Bolton and Everton.
Chelsea will see this weekend as a great opportunity to make inroads at the top of the Premier League. Villas-Boas’ charges are three points behind leaders Manchester City and a solitary point behind Manchester United. With the Manchester derby taking place on Sunday, Chelsea can gain ground on at least one of their main rivals.
The Chelsea forward line should cause QPR’s rearguard a host of problems. Juan Mata has been in sublime form since joining from Valencia and the Spaniard has added the crucial creative influence Chelsea lacked last season. Meanwhile, Daniel Sturridge has scored three times in two games and Frank Lampard is only one match removed from an impressive hat-trick against Bolton.
QPR will be missing DJ Campbell (cracked metatarsal), Daniel Gabbidon (knee), Robert Hulse (knee) and Kieron Dyer (foot). Heidar Helguson scored after replacing Campbell last week and should keep his place up front.
Fernando Torres is serving the last game of his three match suspension and Didier Drogba should continue to deputise for the Spaniard. John Terry should also return to the starting line-up at the expensive of David Luiz. Juan Mata was rested in the Champions League midweek and the Spaniard could replace Florent Malouda on the wing. Ramires and Michael Essien both miss out with knee injuries.