A week before Chelsea begins its group stage play in the Champions League, QPR arrives on the schedule for continuing Premier League action.
The 2011 winners of the Champions League must keep any aspirations for a repeat at bay and focus on the Queens Park Rangers for its Saturday matchup.
While being a game featuring the league’s leader against the near bottom-dwellers, Chelsea must still take a QPR team seriously that played a close match against Man City. QPR, of course, will have its hands full with one of the best.
Let’s now preview each team and finish with a prediction of the outcome.
Who: Chelsea at Queens Park Rangers
Where: Loftus Road, London, England
When: Saturday, Sept. 10, 2012
Time: 10:00 a.m. ET
TV: FOX Soccer
Live Stream: FOX Soccer 2Go (link)
Gamecast: ESPN (link)
Chelsea Team Breakdown
Chelsea sits atop the Premier League at 3-0-0 in the standings.
Its tied for second with eight goals scored and locked in at third with just two goals allowed. It shut out Wigan 2-0 in its lone match away from Stamford Bridge.
Newcomer Eden Hazard has been as good as advertised. He has consistently facilitated teammates’ scoring with four assists and leads the team with nine shots (one goal scored).
Fernando Torres has erased all scoring doubts surrounding him in the post-Drogba era thus far in the early goings. He has tallied two goals while leading the team with three shots on goal. Fellow veterans Frank Lampard and defender Branislov Ivanovic have also been solid with two goals apiece.
Meanwhile, Peter Cech has been sensational in goal. His two shutouts are all the more impressive considering his lingering elbow injury. ESPN reports that he’ll have surgery this offseason.
Chelsea blogger Phil Lythell writes that one area of concern lies with the defensive midfield. The duo of Lampard and John Obi Mikel was exploited by Atletico Madrid and also in a quick scoring flurry by Reading that created a deficit for Chelsea at the end of the first half. The club will need to see more consistent defense from these two moving forward.
Overall, the Blues have had a phenomenal start to the 2012 season. They’ll look to continue that success when they travel to Loftus Road to face QPR.
QPR Team Preview
Nearly just the opposite of the team it’s playing against, QPR resides just one spot up from the bottom in EPL standings.
The Rangers are 0-1-2 on the season and have not looked good on either side of the ball. They’ve scored only two goals and allowed a league-worst nine scores.
A negative-seven goal differential is less than auspicious.
However, things have improved a bit after a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Swansea City to open the season. They fought to a 1-1 draw with Norwich and played tough against a strong Man City club in a closer game than what the 3-1 score would indicate.
Forward Bobby Zamora, though, still is the only registered scorer on the club. New 2012 captain Park-Ji Sung has been relatively AWOL in his new role. The team itself expects much more out of him in its fledgling position in the Premier League.
It’s rather difficult imagining QPR making this a competitive match. Chelsea is simply superior in just about all facets.
The Rangers will count on keeper Robert Green to stand firm against a formidable scoring club.
The recent dismal history (1-4 since 2008) for QPR against Chelsea will continue on Saturday in a rout. A 4-1 defeat will actually be an improvement over their 6-1 thrashing back in late April.
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