Chelsea have a defensive crisis as both Gary Cahill and David Luiz are out injured.Branislav Ivanovic serves the last match of his domestic suspension, leaving John Terry as their only fit centre-back.
Queens Park Rangers midfielder Adel Taarabt is suspended following his red card last week
Samba Diakite has not trained all week due to illness, while Djibril Cisse is also doubtful with a knee problem.
What a week it’s been for Chelsea and they can look forward to a heroes reception on their return to Stamford Bridge following Tuesday’s incredible game in Barcelona. However, it’s not going to be all smiles and handshakes between the two teams when they meet face-to-face ahead of kick off.
It’s the first league meeting since John Terry was charged with racially abusing Anton Ferdinand during the match between the sides at Loftus Road last October, so the pre-match handshake was set to take centre stage and dominate the headlines.
That’s not going to happen now following the Premier League’s decision to cancel the ritual for this one game because of the legal situation involving the two players. It also avoids the potential of the whole thing descending into farce or acrimony before a ball is even kicked.
QPR badly need the points as they strive to avoid relegation but, as we’ve all seen, Chelsea are a different proposition now compared with just a few weeks ago in the latter stages of Andre Villas-Boas’s short reign.
They’ve only lost one match of the 15 played since Roberto di Matteo took over on a caretaker basis, with 10 wins and four draws. The highlight of course is reaching the Champions League final, where they’ll play Bayern Munich in the Allianz Arena on the 19 May, but they might have to win it to be in next season’s competition.
Chelsea currently sit in sixth position in the table, four points behind fourth-placed Newcastle with four games to play, including a home match against the Geordies. If Chelsea were to finish as Champions League winners but outside the top four, then the fourth-placed team would have to enter the Europa League instead.
This will be Chelsea’s eighth London derby in the league this season and they haven’t managed to win any of the previous seven. QPR in contrast, have won three of the seven derby matches they’ve played so far, but all the wins have come at home.
Their away record over the whole season isn’t good at all with a division-low 11 points collected on the road. Mark Hughes’s team have alternated between home wins and away defeats in their last eight games, with victories over Liverpool, Arsenal, Swansea and Spurs hoisting them above the relegation zone going into the weekend.
Chelsea’s defeat to QPR in October was only their second in their last 15 league and cup games against their west London rivals.
The last time Rangers enjoyed a league victory at Stamford Bridge was in 1983 when they won 2-0 in the old Division Two.
Their last win in all competitions at the ground was a League Cup fifth-round replay in 1986.
This is the 51st meeting between the sides and the first at Stamford Bridge in the league since March 1996 when the sides drew 1-1. John Spencer scored for Chelsea and Simon Barker for QPR, a result that sent Rangers to the bottom of the league. They were later relegated.
They have not conceded a goal in the first half of a match since a 2-0 defeat to Everton on 11 February and in none of their seven Premier League matches under Roberto di Matteo.
Chelsea have won 399 games in the Premier League.
The Blues have won only four matches out of 16 so far this season against teams in the current top 10 of the Premier League.
Queens Park Rangers
Rangers have scored three goals direct from free-kicks this season – only Sunderland (four) have more.
They have received eight red cards this season, making them only the seventh different team to pick up that amount of sending offs in one season. Sunderland hold the record with nine set in 2009-10.
Despite huge investments on players, 22 of QPR’s 39 goals this season have been scored by players who helped get them promoted from the Championship.
Source : BBC Sports