Preview: Chelsea vs. Queens Park Rangers

Sports Mole previews the London derby between Premier League leaders Chelsea and 19th-placed QPR, who are pointless on the road this season, at Stamford Bridge.

Queens Park Rangers will be without the suspended Rio Ferdinand when they make the ominous trip to Premier League leaders Chelsea on Saturday afternoon.

Ferdinand has been handed a three-match ban by the FA for comments that he made on social media in which he "included a reference to gender" at the expense of women.

The 35-year-old former England captain has not actually started either of QPR's last two games, with Richard Dunne again preferred as the Hoops won for the first time in seven by beating Aston Villa 2-0 on Monday.

That result lifted them off the bottom of the table, but things appear bleak for Rangers this weekend as they travel to the unbeaten title favourites having yet to pick up a point on the road this season.

They have already suffered four-goal thumpings at Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United, so they seemingly stand little chance of keeping out a Blues side who could welcome back top scorer Diego Costa.

The nine-goal striker has missed Chelsea's last four matches because of his fitness issues, although, in his absence, 36-year-old Didier Drogba has shown that he still has it by scoring in the 1-1 draw at Manchester United and 2-1 Capital One Cup escape against Shrewsbury Town.

Nevertheless, Jose Mourinho has hinted that Costa will start at Stamford Bridge, alongside several more of his first-team regulars after being unimpressed with how his fringe players performed against League Two opposition on Wednesday.

Andre Schurrle and Mohamed Salah bore the brunt of the criticism, so Eden Hazard and Willian should not be sweating on their places in the side, while Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic will also regain their midfield berths.

Thibaut Courtois, John Terry, Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic will all return to the back five, with Filipe Luis maintained at left-back as Cesar Azpilicueta serves the final game of his own three-match ban.

The hosts are also without sidelined Brazilian Ramires and former Rangers striker Loic Remy, who misses the visit of the club who sold him to the Blues in the summer with a muscle strain.

Rangers boss Harry Redknapp must decide whether to stick with the 4-4-2 system which was profitable against both Liverpool and Villa, or add an extra body in midfield to protect a defence which has conceded 12 times in four away games.

Bobby Zamora is likely to be sacrificed, with Junior Hoilett coming into the side to provide support to lone frontman Charlie Austin from one flank, with Eduardo Vargas continuing to do so from the other.

With Joey Barton, Jordan Mutch and Alejandro Faurlin still injured, Karl Henry will keep his spot in the centre of the park. Nedum Onuoha and Alex McCarthy will have late fitness tests ahead of the London derby.

QPR won on their most recent visit to Stamford Bridge, but have failed to score in six of their last seven away Premier League matches, while Chelsea have kept 10 clean sheets in their last 12 home games.

Recent form

Chelsea: WDWWWW


Possible starting lineups

Chelsea: Courtois; Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Luis; Matic, Fabregas; Hazard, Oscar, Willian; Costa

QPR: Green; Isla, Dunne, Caulker, Yun; Fer, Sandro, Henry; Vargas, Hoilett, Austin

Sports Mole says: 2-0

Who will win Saturday's match between Chelsea and QPR at Stamford Bridge?

Chelsea 'keeper Petr Cech during a game against a Thailand XI on July 17, 2013
Read Next:
Team News: Cech, Drogba among Chelsea starters
You May Like
Recomended from Sports Mole

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

1Manchester CityMan City24212170185265
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd24165349163353
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs24136547222545
7Leicester CityLeicester249783632434
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham2468103042-1226
13Crystal Palace2467112237-1525
14Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2466121941-2224
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2465132234-1223
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2458111733-1623
17Stoke CityStoke2465132550-2523
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom24311101931-1220
20Swansea CitySwansea2446141435-2118
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in with Facebook to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account