QPR vs. Chelsea Preview

Fa Cup

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Published: 02/02/2012

Mark Hughes will get his first taster of F.A Cup football as QPR boss when his side host Chelsea in the fourth round of the competition at Loftus Road on January 28.

With the club firmly locked in a relegation scrap following a dismal run of form under previous manager Neil Warnock, QPR could either be hindered or helped by a strong cup run.

Whilst the extra games could take focus away from the more important matter of the Premier League, the cup could also provide a welcome distraction from the club’s survival pressures and provoke an upturn in form and fortunes.

But if either of those effects are to be discovered, QPR will first have to get past a talented Chelsea side who are still a major force to be reckoned with despite falling some way short of expectations so far during the 2011-2012 campaign.

Andre Villas Boas’ team sit well off the pace in the chase for title glory so they are likely to be extremely keen on putting silverware in the cabinet via the F.A Cup, if nothing else but to provide some degree of compensation should they fail otherwise domestically and also in the latter stages of the Champions League.

In fairness to AVB and his Blues outfit, Chelsea have picked up somewhat following their major end of 2011 slump which saw them lose important games to the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Aston Villa.

The ten times F.A Cup winners also came away from Loftus Road empty handed when the two teams met earlier in the season – in what was arguably one of the most controversial games the Premier League has ever witnessed.

But with QPR in dire need of improvement and a thorough rebuild under the newly installed Hughes, Chelsea must surely be confident of turning that form around and gaining revenge for being beaten with nine men in late October.

The central talking point from that clash was of course the row between Anton Ferdinand and John Terry and the subsequent racial implications which have surfaced after England Captain Terry was accused of directly abusing his opposite number.

With that investigation still on going, there is likely to be a significant amount of tension in this tie and hostility towards Terry who continues to maintain his innocence regarding the matter.

But if Terry can keep his nerve and provide the rock which Chelsea are likely to need in what will be a gritty, physical cup tie, the visitors should have enough in hand to edge out the Hoops.

If this were a Premier League game, Chelsea would probably be a lot shorter to the 4/6 available looks decent value.

There were signs in the third round when trouncing Portsmouth 4-0 that Chelsea look up for the cup and it will probably take a better footballing side than QPR to stand in their way.

The battle between Barton and Lampard in the midfield should be an engrossing one but it is the latter who is fancied to make the greater impact and perhaps even get on the score-sheet at likely odds of around 2/1.


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