Scotland V England Saturday 24th February. 4:45PM. BBC One Scotland v England renew their rivalry…
QPR V Chelsea
Sunday April 12th. 1:30PM. Sky Sports 1
The Premier League season is heading towards a thrilling climax at both ends of the table and Sunday’s showdown at Loftus Road could go a long way to deciding the fates of West London’s giants.
At one end of the table Chelsea are edging closer and closer to another Premier League title; at the other, QPR are scrapping for their lives.
It should be another explosive West London derby. We can hardly wait.
R’s In Trouble
Chris Ramsey has performed well since inheriting Harry Redknapp’s strugglers and a return of four points from the last two matches has reignited their slim hopes of survival. However, they start a truly hellacious run of fixtures starting with this derby and the R’s could well see their fate sealed long before the final ball is kicked.
QPR’s next four matches are Chelsea, West Ham, Liverpool and Manchester City. Considering the Hoops are already two points adrift and have played a game more than most other teams, it looks bleak to say the least. However, Ramsey will ensure that his men stay positive and remind them that anything can happen – especially in a derby.
The absence of Chelsea Diego Costa will inspire confidence and the Hoops can at least count on Charlie Austin to pose a threat. If captain Joey Barton can lead the midfield battle with authority, then there is nothing to stop the hosts having a real go.
Under normal circumstances this would be viewed as a bonus fixture. Unfortunately, circumstances dictate that the pressure is well and truly on. It could be a damaging afternoon for the Hoops.
Blues Cruise At Loftus Road?
Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea have already got one hand on the title and could take another huge step towards the trophy with a third successive Premier League win.
The Blues face Manchester United and Arsenal in their two subsequent fixtures so Mourinho will demand a positive result from his star-studded squad in order to keep a little bit of breathing space heading into those crucial back-to-back contests. Chelsea might be missing top scorer Costa, but there is no question as to who the favourites are at Loftus Road.
Even without Costa, Chelsea boast the talents of Loic Remy, Eden Hazard, Oscar and Cesc Fabregas to name just a few; creating chances should not be a problem for a team that already boasts 33 strikes in 15 away outings.
There have been a few defensive issues on the road but the champions elect are an experienced bunch and should cope with the conditions of this derby with ease. They will be made to work for their victory, but most will expect the gulf in quality to prevail. Expect Chelsea to take one step closer to the title.
Chelsea V QPR Betting
Despite conceding home advantage, the league leaders are huge odds-on favourites at 4/11 with Bet365 and that pretty much tells a story on its own. Meanwhile, the draw can be backed at 4/1 whilst QPR are available at 15/2 to cause a major upset.
There is a sense of inevitability surrounding the match outcome, but it’s hard to say how hard the visitors will be made to work. From a betting perspective, though, we have to look at Chelsea all the way.
Mourinho will demand professionalism in this one. As long as the defence keep a close eye on Austin, it should be a relatively routine afternoon for the Blues.
Chelsea to win to nil @ 11/8 with SkyBet
As an outside bet that tickles our fancy, we’re backing Hazard to step up and make his mark on proceedings.
The Belgian has been widely praised over the past two seasons and has regularly come up with the goods at important times. We’re backing him to work his magic once more.
Eden Hazard to score first @ 11/2 with Bet365