It’s derby day in west London and as usual the stakes are high for both involved. Rangers’ 4-1 victory at West Brom last week looks to have given Chris Ramsey’s team genuine hope of survival. They have got three more winnable games after the draw at Villa and most would say that this is not one of them. Since their recent bouts of flirtation with the Premiership, the hoops have shocked their illustrious neighbours on more than one occasion and, the 6-1 drubbing aside, they usually prove to be stubborn opponents.
The big team news is that Diego Costa is out for what is likely to be the rest of April. The onus now shifts to a striker that used to lead the attack at Loftus Road, Loic Remy. The Blues have no fresh injury concerns and the starting eleven should be fairly reminiscent of the team that started against Stoke.
QPR’s shape is more attack minded than in previous years and they set up as 4-4-2 at Villa Park. Over the course of season, which of course started under the management of Harry Redknapp, Rangers have the worst defensive record and I would be surprised if Chelsea did not pick holes in a very susceptible back line. Charlie Austin has had a wonderful season and will of course be the main man on this occasion but Matt Phillips seems to be experiencing a real purple patch of late with goals and assists in his last few outings. The winger scored a stunner against Crystal Palace and will be full of confidence going into a big match.
Many Chelsea fans felt Fabregas was back to his best against Stoke and Willian finally put in a performance to warrant a starting birth. At this level you have to offer more than just the hard work that the Brazilian undoubtedly gives you and his showing against the Potters had both style and substance. He created many goal scoring opportunities and was a thorn in Wilson’s side all game down Stoke’s left flank.
It seems inevitable that Matic or Fabregas will collect their tenth yellow card of the season in what will surely be a tempestuous derby and be suspended for the Arsenal and Man United matches. Add Joey Barton as an opposing number to the coverage of John Terry’s return to the scene of such controversy and you have got a particularly sharp edge to a hotly contended contest.