December 12 2013 Latest news:
By Paul Lagan, at Stamford Bridge
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Premier League: Chelsea 0 QPR 1
QPR produced the shock of the season so far at Stamford Bridge, defeating the Champions of Europe 1-0 with ex-Blue Shaun Wright-Phillips scoring the vital goal which gave the bottom of the league side three crucial points in their quest for Premier League survival.
QPR boss Harry ‘Houdini’ Redknapp set up his side to frustrate, frustrate and then frustrate some more their illustrious near neighbours and it worked a treat.
Not since November 19, 2011 at Stoke City has The Hoops won away from Loftus Road.
Chelsea, by contrast can forget, on this insipid performance any lingering hopes of a title - challenge run.
The home side huffed and puffed but could not blow the visitors down.
Wright-Philips’s goal came on 79 minutes when a long-range effort arrowed into the corner of Ross Turnbull’s goal.
But it all started relatively well for third-placed Chelsea.
Marko Marin, making his first start in the Premier League was lucky to still be on the pitch after just four minutes when he scythed down Stephane Mbia.
Luckily for the Serbian-born winger, referee Lee Mason was in generous mood and only brandished a yellow card, when a red was more inappropriate.
While the Blues had the betters of the opening exchanges, QPR were in determine mood - forcing their near neighbours into mistakes.
The first effort from either side on goal came after 13 minutes when a scuffed David Luiz half volley from just outside the visitors’ penalty area, gave goalkeeper amyloid Cesar a little scare before watching the all dip over his crossbar for a goal kick.
David Hoilett lasted just 15 minutes, limping off to be replaced by ex-Chelsea winger Shaun Wright-Philips.
Three minutes later, and right on cue the Chelsea fans signalled their support for fallen manager Roberto Di Matteo, with cheers, a song and some hand clapping.
Adel Taarabat, tried a long-range effort that gave Ross Turnbull, in for injured Petr Cech, no trouble.
Oscar had a 25-yarder on his own on 19 minutes, but his was a wayward shot, that went well wide.
Wright-Phillips burst through on 25 minutes latching onto a Taarabt through-ball. He took one touch and let fly from 20 yards.
The flight of the ball gave Turnbull some problems, and the keeper slipped.
Thankfully for him, the ball swerved away from goal and dang.
A quick counter-attack with 14 minutes of the half to go saw Marin feed the ball to Oscar on the left. The Brazil midfielder attempted an right-footed curler from just outside the QPR penalty area but was deflected from goal,for a corner.
Such was the excellent work rate by QPR, frustrating the Blue at every turn, that Branislav Ivanovic was left with no real option on 37 minutes others than to try a speculative 30 yard shot, which got what it deserved a destination in row z of The Shed - a feat he attempted to repeat two minutes later - with equal results.
Oscar and Victor Moses went closer with Cesar doing well to kick away Oscar’s deflected effort while Moses’s follow-up inched over his the QPR crossbar.
The last chance of the half, again for tenBlues saw Frank Lampard clip a shot which crept just wide.
Neither manager made any changes of personnel at half-time, with the pattern of play identical to the first - Chelsea with the lion’s share of possession, QPR defending manfully at the back.
Victor Moses had the simplest of chances on 49 minutes when all he had to do, was tap in a Marin byline drive, but the Nigerian failed to get enough weight on the ball and it zipped a ross goal.
Ivanovic skimmed the QPR crossbar with a powerful header on 51 minutes from a Marin corner as the Blues turned the screw.
Fernando Torres was next to try his luck, and found Cesar in inspired form who thwarted the Spain forward’s close-range drive, parrying the ball away for a corner.
QPR, perhaps deciding that defending was boring went on a quick breakaway on 56 minutes. wright-Phillips speed Luiz a cleaner of heels on the left.
The ball was fed centrally to in-running Esteban Granero. The midfielder arrowed a powerful right-footer towards the Chelsea goal, from 25 yards out, which seemed destined for the top corner of the net. but Turnbull,until then, a spectator, plucked he ball out of the air.
Cahill then produced the perfect sliding tackle to prevent Jamie Mackie from getting a shot away a minute later. This was quickly followed up by Shaun Derry heading, unmarked towards the home side’s goal as QPR rested Chelsea back.
Ineffectual Marin was replaced by Eden Hazard on 60 minutes.
Lampard had the ball in the back of the net on 65 minutes but the goal was ruled out for office.
With no breakthrough looking imminent, Benitez had seen enough and replaced wide man Moses for the mercurial Juan Mata.
However it was QPR who made the breakthrough on 77 minutes with Wright-Philips stroking home a fine right-footer from the edge of the Chelsea penalty area past a hapless Turnbull.
Benitez’ s immediate response was to take off Lampard and replace him with Ramires.
Ivanovic almost equalised with two minutes left but his header was just too high.
QPR boss Harry Redknapp replaced Granero with Ji-sung Park with seconds to go as the visitors sensed an unlikely but very welcome three points.
Kieron Dyer soon followed onto the pitch for Taarabt.
The visitors hung on and must now be thinking the great escape is on.
Chelsea - Turnbull, Ivanovic, Luiz, Lampard, Torres, Oscar, Moses, Marin.
, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Bertrand
Subs - Hilario, Cole, Ramires, Mata, Hazard, Ferreira, Piazon.
QPR - Cesar, Derry, Hill, Taarabt, Mackie, Granero, Onuoha, Nelsen, Da Silva, Hoilett, Mbia Subs - Green, Ferdinand, JiSung, Cisse, Wright-Phillips, Dyer, Faurlin.