Chelsea FC: Predicting the Blues Starting XI for EPL Clash with QPR

Greg ProbertContributor IISeptember 11, 2012

Chelsea FC: Predicting the Blues Starting XI for EPL Clash with QPR

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    This Saturday sees an all-London clash between two of the summer transfer window's biggest spenders.

    Queens Park Rangers host Chelsea for what is usually a feisty affair, which is very evident in this fixture last season.

    The two clubs have had very different starts to the season, with only Southampton stopping them from being at extreme opposites of the table.

    QPR have only managed to gain one point from their opening three games, while Chelsea are sitting pretty at the top of the table with a 100 percent record.

    Chelsea have been subjected to an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Atletico Madrid since their last Premier League game.

    Despite this loss, Chelsea are heavy favourites to take the three points, with odds at around 4/6 being the best you can get in most bookmakers.

    Chelsea do have a few injury concerns with John Terry, Ashley Cole and Marko Marin all doubts.

    Terry and Cole could yet return in time to face QPR, but this starting XI will not feature either player just in case they are rested to make sure they are fully recovered.

Goalkeeper

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    Some of you may have read some stories on the subject of an elbow injury to Petr Cech.

    When I read the headline, I nearly spilt my tea all over my lap, because I don't have much confidence in Ross Turnbull if Cech was to be sidelined long-term.

    But there isn't too much to worry about; Cech just occasionally gets pain in his elbow if he over-stretches it.

    He will more than likely be rested more often than usual until his surgery scheduled for this summer, but I would expect him to play in more important games.

    And any Premier League fixture this early in the season is considered important, so I would be surprised if Cech wasn't starting between the sticks against QPR this weekend.

Defence

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    Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Bertrand

    As I stated on the first page, this lineup is assuming that John Terry and Ashley Cole aren't deemed ready to return to action by Saturday.

    Chelsea's defence hasn't been as solid as in recent years so far this season, as Falcao kindly showed us in the Super Cup final.

    But even with the injuries to their most senior defenders, on paper, Chelsea still have a very handy set of defenders that could start against QPR.

    Despite the signing of Cesar Azpilicueta, Branislav Ivanovic has been the best performer in Chelsea's defence so far this season, so I wouldn't think his position was in too much jeopardy.

    The centre-backs basically pick themselves with Terry being injured, but the partnership of Gary Cahill and David Luiz has worked well in the past, and I wouldn't think that any opposing forward would expect an easy afternoon.

    The position of left-back is slightly more difficult, with the usual Ashley Cole replacement, Ryan Bertrand, having been playing in a more forward role recently.

    But despite this, Ryan Bertrand is a very capable defender, and with Chelsea's new attack-minded approach, he will still have the ability to get forward when the play requires it

    So unless Roberto Di Matteo thinks Azpilicueta can make his debut on the left, then Ryan Bertrand should get his start.

Central Midfield

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    Lampard and Mikel

    It has been a good week or so since Chelsea's disappointing result in Monaco for Frank Lampard after an impressive performance for England against Moldova.

    In typical Lampard fashion, he proves his doubters wrong once again and scores two first-half goals during a top-class international performance.

    But let's be honest, even if Lampard had a bad game for England, with the sales of Raul Meireles and Micheal Essien, he'd more than likely be in Chelsea's starting lineup regardless.

    The same goes for "Mr. Love Him or Hate Him," John Obi Mikel.

    He has been playing okay this year, but he still looks unsure on the ball on some occasions and still manages to slow down Chelsea 's attacking plays too often.

    But if he can have a solid performance against QPR, then he will do a lot towards stopping attacks and protecting his defence, who need all the protection they can get at the moment.

Attacking Midfield

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    Oscar, Hazard, Mata

    Chelsea are flush with attacking midfield talent this year, so the most difficult decision for Roberto Di Matteo is what players to choose.

    Eden Hazard will probably be the first name on the team sheet after his blistering start to the season.

    And Juan Mata has linked up with Hazard well, which will work in his favour for selection, and add to that the fact he is still an exceptional player, then there won't be too many arguments if he is picked to start.

    The other position in the "3" in the 4-2-3-1 formation is more up for debate, with a few players scrapping for that place.

    Ramires has been favoured there recently, but the beauty of having so much talent in one position is having the option of rotation.

    Players like Daniel Sturridge, Oscar, Florent Malouda (no chance) and Marko Marin are all players with the ability of playing on either wing.

    I would like to see Oscar starting this year. He has looked very impressive for both Brazil and Chelsea this year and looks to be ready to make a big impact on the Chelsea squad.

    He has the ability to drift across the pitch seamlessly and fits nicely in to this new fluid movement that the Chelsea midfield seem to use now.


Striker

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    Well, this wasn't the hardest decision I've ever had to make; it wasn't even a decision.

    Fernando Torres is Chelsea's only real front man at the moment, but luckily for him and Chelsea, he is fine form at the moment.

    He looks much more like the Torres of old and has gained back a few yards of pace, and finally, he found his scoring boots that must have been lost in his wardrobe somewhere last season.

    He looks dangerous every time he receives the ball in the final third, and with the creative talent now playing behind him, he is always a goal threat.