Chelsea come home off the back of a brutal last few weeks to face London "rival" Queens Park Rangers. Three points in this one are a must, as Chelsea currently sit 6th in the table. Today's games could change that, and with Newcastle coming up mid-week we could have a real opportunity to make our move domestically now. Taking advantage of weaker opposition and improving our goal differential a bit would be awfully nice as well.
QPR has been a bit of an issue for us this year. John Terry has obviously had his issues with this club, and the last time we faced them in the league we got two players sent off en route to a 1-0 loss. While the 9 players on the pitch did very well in that one, the loss was a bad one. We'll be looking for a bit of revenge tomorrow, and the media will surely be in a frenzy every time Anton Ferdinand and John Terry get within 50 yards of each other. Yay.
Time/Date: 13:30 BST (8:30 AM EST), Sunday 4/29/12
Venue: Stamford Bridge, London
Chelsea will be facing a bit of a dilemma in the back four. John Terry is "fit" with two broken ribs. David Luiz and Gary Cahill are both sidelined due to leg injuries and will not take part this weekend. Branislav Ivanovic is serving the final game of his 3 game suspension for punching a hobbit. That doesn't leave too many options in the center of the defense, but Jose Bosingwa always plays well when started out of position...right? There's also John Obi Mikel, Oriol Romeu, and Michael Essien to consider as well as the possibility of a debut for Nathaniel Chalobah or a return to the first team for Sam Hutchinson. Should Roberto Di Matteo choose to slot Bosingwa in at CB, it will be interesting to see who starts on the right.
QPR have their fair share of selection issues in this one as well. Adel Taarabt will be suspended for this one, while Heidar Helguson, Kieron Dyer, and Alejandro Faurlin will all be out injured. Samba Diakite and Djibril Cisse are both facing late fitness tests, and at this point it sounds unlikely that either will be available for the clash.
I'd have to assume we see a 4-2-3-1 from Chelsea, as that seems to be the preferred lineup these days. Chelsea need three points from this contest, and I'd expect to see them pushing hard for an early goal. QPR will likely line up in some semblance of a 4-3-3 formation. I'd assume the wings will drop a bit deeper than normal, as QPR sit only one point clear of the relegation zone and are facing a tough opponent on the road. With that in mind, I'd expect a little less pressing than we've seen from them recently and a bit more of the parked bus.
With those factors in mind, here's what I expect to see Chelsea do tomorrow:
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Petr Cech, Ramires, Jose Bosingwa, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Michael Essien, Oriol Romeu, Daniel Sturridge, Juan Mata, Salomon Kalou, Fernando Torres
This may be way off, the upcoming fixture list, injury situation, and dire need for three points makes this a tough one to call. I'd like to see Ryan Bertrand start again, but with the makeshift defense out there I have to think we roll with Cole. Three points are a must tomorrow, so let's go Blues!