What We Learned From Chelsea’s Winner vs. QPR


Chelsea vs QPR – Flickr Creative Commons

Chelsea continued their unbeaten run with a win against QPR on Saturday, the Blues have only dropped four points this season.

With Southampton tugging at their heels, Chelsea could not afford to drop points this weekend. London neighbors QPR provided the Blues with tough opposition; and as I predicted, they didn’t come looking for a point.

Oscar put the Blues ahead in the 32nd minute of the match, but the Hoops came roaring back after Charlie Austin scored a cheeky equalizer in the second half. Eden Hazard would win and convert a 75th minute penalty to give Chelsea the victory, and keep them four points clear of Southampton.

I was spot on with my predictions during the week, it was a really difficult game which could have gone either way. Here are my thoughts on how things played out.

QPR Always Seem To Raise Their Game Against Chelsea

The Hoops are always firmly rooted to the bottom end of the table, and they have never really been a threat in the Premier League. They are probably the easiest opposition you could hope for, which is strange as they are pretty big spenders.

However, they always seem to play their best football when facing Chelsea. Looking back at the two teams’ last four Premier League encounters prior to Saturday’s match, QPR has had the advantage. The Hoops came out with two victories and a draw against the Blues, which means that Chelsea only got four points while they took seven.

“It was fantastic work by Harry to organise them defensively and they gave us a difficult match, but with our quality I would expect us to be stronger.” – Jose Mourinho

QPR had every reason to feel optimistic today; they showed no respect to their opponents, and stunned the Bridge with a goal in the 62nd minute of the match. Sandro came very close to adding a second, had it not been for a slight deflection off a Chelsea man, things could have played out very differently.

QPR Have A Great Defender In Richard Dunne

When he’s not too busy putting the ball into the back of his own net, Dunne can be a pretty good defender. The Irishman did very well, and he was able to keep Diego Costa quiet. Costa had only failed to score against Manchester City; he was expected to score against the League’s worst defense, but Dunne was up to the challenge. He won tackles, aerial balls and used his strength to great effect against the striker.

It could be argued that Costa isn’t 100 percent after missing four games due to three different problems, but Dunne could take lots of positives from his performance.

Oscar Is Chelsea’s Craftiest Scorer

While most of the plaudits have gone to Costa, Hazard and Fabregas, when it comes to scoring in style, Oscar is the man. The Brazilian started his Chelsea career with a bang — two bangs to be exact — against Juventus in the Champions League by scoring two of the best goals you will ever see.

Oscar has been criticized for being inconsistent, but he is living up to expectations this season. Three league goals in eight appearances — not bad at all for a midfielder. Against Crystal Palace, he scored with a scintillating free kick to open the scoring for Chelsea, and he was up to his usual tricks today. After getting on the end of a Fabregas pass, he produced magic by hitting the ball with the outside of his right foot to score from a tight angle.

Mourinho was full of praise for the midfielder.

"‘Oscar was our best player. When the team recovered the ball he was always sharp and fast, I think he was fantastic. He played last Sunday, on Tuesday and today. Some other guys didn’t play in midweek so I would expect them to be fresher and sharper than him.”"

Eden Hazard is — by far — the most creative player in the League, but Oscar certainly takes the award for scoring the best goals.

Jose Mourinho’s Tactics Were Spot On

Mourinho set the team up in his usual 4-2-3-1 formation, which really suits the players and his current philosophy. While he always encourages his players to press, the intensity seemed a tad bit higher today. The Blues did really well with their ball recovery; whenever they lost the ball, they simply crowded the opposition and forced them into mistakes.

Harry Redknapp’s tactics were pretty good as well, his men frustrated Chelsea by pressing their full backs while their own full backs got forward, taking on the Blues’ defenders. In the end, Chelsea came out on top as they played at a higher level.

This may not work as well against other teams, but it was perfect for today’s situation, as it was the high pressure which led to the first goal. The Portuguese is a shrewd tactician, he got it right today, as he almost always does.

Didier Drogba Will Not Be Used Sparingly

No one expected the Ivorian to feature against Shrewsbury on Tuesday, after having played 48 hours earlier against Man. United. Drogba played 90 minutes, also scoring the opener. He did very well to keep Chelsea afloat during Costa’s absence and he really looks fit.

Today Drogba replaced Willian in the 64th minute — another surprise. Earlier this season, I was of the opinion that Drogba would be used sparingly, but that is not so. The forward is playing a role more important than many would have imagined. I believe that he will still play major minutes when Loic Remy returns, as Mourinho has lots of faith in him. Some players just don’t fade.

The Blues will be traveling to Slovenia to face Maribor FC in the Champions League on Wednesday. Liverpool are next up for Chelsea in the Premier League.

Quotes taken from Chelseafc.com