Chelsea FC vs. Queens Park Rangers FC : 4 Things to Expect
When Chelsea visit Loftus Road on Saturday for their FA Cup fourth-round faceoff, there will be much more to the match than just football.
This will be the first time the two clubs meet after their heated meeting earlier this season. John Terry has been charged with making racially abusive remarks against QPR player Anton Ferdinand after the latter fielded a complaint against the Chelsea captain.
A heated atmosphere is being predicted by the authorities, and both clubs have asked their fans to celebrate the rivalry and not racism. Spectators have been forewarned of strict consequences should they be caught in the act of making racially abusive chants or comments.
On the field, the Blues will look to avenge their earlier 1-0 defeat at the hands of Mark Hughes' men.
In the following slides, we take a look at the four things that we can expect from the most-awaited match this weekend.
Lots of Jeers and Songs from Both Side
The last time Chelsea faced QPR, it was a very ill-flared match with Chelsea's Jose Bosingwa and Didier Drogba being sent off.
The match ended on a sour note as video replays showed Chelsea captain John Terry allegedly making some abusive racial remarks to QPR defender Anton Ferdinand. This time around, the match will be all the more tense.
The fans of both clubs are expected to be very vocal throughout the match, with jeers for both Ferdinand and Terry almost certain. While there might be that occasional rotten fan shouting out some expletives, in a group effort, it could be a song directed at either of the players.
Hence, the match promises to be filled with loads of noise, comprising mostly of jeers and boos for both players involved in the racial row.
A Gary Cahill Debut
Chelsea look seemingly content with one signing this January transfer window. With manager Andre Villas-Boas not showing much interest regarding any further signings, the arrival of Gary Cahill could be the only one this time around.
A bigger overhaul is being predicted for the summer, and Chelsea, too, are looking reluctant to pay inflated prices during this time after having learned their lesson well.
Gary Cahill arrived after a long-drawn negotiation battle between the player and Chelsea over the former's wage demands. After a few anxious weeks, in which fears of the deal falling through also emerged, Chelsea finally completed the £7 million signing of the English defender from Bolton.
Gary Cahill had been predicted to make his Chelsea debut last week against Norwich City, but Villas-Boas cited lack of match practice and adaptability for his omission. Chelsea went to Mallorca to practice in warmer temperatures and to also help Cahill fit into his new squad.
On his return from the camp, the highly-rated central defender stated how the camp helped him gel with his new teammates and feel more comfortable in the new surroundings. Hence, this weekend when the Chelsea face QPR in their FA Cup faceoff, one thing can be guaranteed—Gary Cahill making his debut in a Chelsea jersey.
Though it remains to be seen how he marks the start of his Chelsea squad.
A Goal from Fernando Torres
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He was denied a sure one against Sunderland by the goalpost. Against Norwich, he just ran out of luck in front of the goal.
Fernando Torres will surely be under even greater scrutiny as he looks to find himself that elusive goal he's tried to score in the past 16 games.
His blinder against Sunderland would have surely landed him the Goal of the Season award, but it hit the post to deny him the goal, which Lampard eventually scored.
Against Norwich, a much weaker opponent, the Chelsea fans had hoped the fixture would be the one that would end his misery and open the floodgates. But Torres failed to convert opportunities and can be blamed for denying Chelsea a win after foiling a sure goal-scoring chance.
With Didier Drogba gone, Torres is surely to start as the spearhead of Chelsea's attack against QPR on Saturday. Chelsea fans will be hoping that their £50 million man gets his first goal since the brace against Genk way back in October last year.
Against QPR, he stands a great chance to end the drought, and given his performances in the past couple of weeks, the floodgates might open for him at last.
Some Deliberate Tackles and Bookings
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The last Chelsea vs. QPR match ended with nine yellows and two ejections, which projects not a very tidy match at any cost.
In the previous match, Chelsea players were the more undisciplined of the two, getting seven bookings and two ejections. This time around, that might not be the case.
Both sets of players will be wary of the fact that any unnecessary shoving or pushing could land them in trouble, given the huge interest FA will have on the match proceedings.
But nevertheless, Mike Dean will undoubtedly have his hands full. A lot of hard tackles, some deliberately, followed by bookings is expected.
Given the rivalry of players from both clubs—more spiced after the race row—there will be many high-temper instances.
Nobody would be surprised if someone gets sent off again, failing to control his temper, given the charged-up atmosphere that will be in and around Loftus Road.