Queens Park Rangers: Rating the QPR Players in the Victory over Chelsea
A solitary Shaun Wright-Phillips goal was all that separated the two teams in terms of scorelines and started QPR's 2013 off with a bang.
Every man played his part in the first victory at Stamford Bridge since 1989, but some had more impact on the game than others. Junior Hoilett, Ji-Sung Park and Kieron Dyer won't get a rating as they didn't have enough time on the pitch to warrant a fair assessment.
Here are my player ratings of the 11 men that gave QPR their unbeaten start to the year. As always, you don't have to agree, so let me know your thoughts in the comments box below.
Julio Cesar: 8/10
Julio Cesar punched more than David Haye in that 90 minutes, but he kept a clean sheet and made a terrific couple of saves throughout the match.
Denying Fernando Torres from seven yards out and Oscar just before the break, Cesar looked comfortable in goal and should keep hold of the No. 1 spot, if not simply for keeping two clean sheets against Chelsea.
Nedum Onuoha: 7/10
Sometimes shaky in previous matches, Onuoha stepped up his game and matched the effort of the rest of the back line. He handled Marko Marin as well as possible, but looked to struggle more when Eden Hazard came on. A professional display, even though he didn't shine as much as some of the other players on his side.
Fabio da Silva: 6.5/10
Fabio worked hard and seemed to have an understanding with the three other defenders Wednesday. Although sloppy at times, his chested ball back to Cesar shows just how much confidence he has in himself and hopefully can carry that through into the rest of the season.
Ryan Nelsen: 9/10
Man of the match for me. Ryan Nelsen didn't put a foot wrong all game and, along with Cesar, was one of the main reasons QPR kept a clean sheet. One commentator said his handling of Fernando Torres was "like taking candy from a baby." At 35 years old, Nelsen is proving that age is nothing but a number.
Clint Hill: 7.5/10
Clint Hill once more put his body on the line and wore his heart on his sleeve. One of the most loved players by Rangers fans, his defensive display was almost as controlled as Ryan Nelsen. The one negative was his hotheadedness, with a rash challenge on Branislav Ivanovic five minutes from time that very nearly cost QPR.
Shaun Derry: 7/10
Shaun Derry yet again put everything into this game. Not the most technical player on Wednesday, his rating is for sheer determination and effort. He made some crucial tackles and often stepped back to help his fellow defenders stifle the Chelsea attack. And his clothesline challenge on Marin won't have gone unappreciated by the fans.
Stephane Mbia: 7/10
Stephane Mbia is endearing himself to QPR fans both on the pitch, and on Twitter. He was solid in defense (despite one swing-and-miss near his own penalty box) and looked to move up into attack when the opportunity was there. Not his greatest performance, but was fairly integral to the park-the-bus tactic employed by Redknapp.
Esteban Granero: 6/10
Perhaps Harry Redknapp had a word with the Spaniard, as he looked to put more of an effort in when he got the chance. Granero was probably the least influential player on the pitch for QPR as he found it very hard to get a good handle on the ball although he has improved from more recent performances.
Shaun Wright-Phillips: 7/10
I feel a little bad only giving Shaun Wright-Phillips a seven, as he scored the goal that gave QPR the win against their rivals. However, for the large part of the game he was not very good. I would like to rate him higher, but until that goal that will undoubtedly get played at Loftus Road for the rest of the season, he didn't really do anything at all.
He would have got a four if he hadn't scored.
Adel Taarabt: 8/10
Adel Taarabt seems to be getting better and better. This was not quite the one-man-show like against Fulham, but still a very good performance. His lack of stepovers and silky skills may well have convinced some people that he didn't play all that well. But he gave something even more important against Chelsea, and that was heart. He ran all over the pitch and gave a very solid and dependable performance.
Jamie Mackie: 7/10
And talking of "running," Jamie Mackie is the definition of the word. He worked hard both on and off the ball and could well have grabbed himself a goal if it wasn't for a superbly timed tackle by Gary Cahill. For a striker who was alone up top from the majority of the game for a team that only had seven shots, he was involved in a lot more of the match than a certain Djibril Cisse would have been.