Hazard makes sure it's Bridge too Far for Rangers...
Chelsea 2-1 QPR
Rangers narrowly lost out to neighbours Chelsea after a performance full of heart, passion and commitment at Stamford Bridge yesterday..
This was a tough decision by many of us, but there was no LH representation at the Bridge as with booking fees etc, almost £60 for a game of football was far too much to lay out, especially to them too!! But with streams aplenty, no one would actually miss the game with the exception of Sam, who took the opportunity to visit the impressive poppy display at the Tower of London in honour of the First World War Centenary.
As kick off approached , the team news filtered through with just one change from the team that beat Villa on Monday night.. Junior Hoilett replacing Bobby Zamora, with Richard Dunne taking over the Captaincy.
Rangers went into this game full of confidence after the last two home performances, but after some of the away showings earlier in the season, it would be safe to say that most R's fans would be dreading this fixture and probably as expected, it was all Chelsea who forced a succession of corners in the opening exchanges. Oscar dragged an effort just wide and Ivanovic should have done better firing wide after a late run evaded the R's defence.
But Rangers were growing in confidence as the half wore on and good work from Hoilett saw Austin head just over. It was clear that some quick counter attacking was showing that the R's were starting to believe.
On 32 minutes, the hosts took the lead - some neat work from Costa and Fabregas drew in five R's players, before the ball was fed to Oscar, in space on the right who with the outside of his boot, curled his shot into the corner for a fine goal that even now, the commentators and media are still filling their boots over..
Onto the second half and it was almost cringe worthy that how the majority of the football media were waiting for the onslaught. It was nearly two nil on 55 minutes when Willian crossed from the right and Hazard was just short of connecting. But things drastically changed just after the hour mark when Vargas crossed hard from the right which Courtois only palmed out to Leroy Fer at the edge of the box, who's scuffed shot was cleverly backed heeled into the net by the in form Charlie Austin, who ran to join wild celebrations in the away end. How we would have all loved to have been involved in these celebrations!
Rangers were now smelling blood and just 6 minutes later, nearly found themselves ahead when Sandro's effort was deflected agonisingly wide.
An Oscar free kick was saved superbly by Green before Rangers again, broke at pace and Austin fired well wide following a great move. At this point the game could well have gone either way. But when your down the bottom, as we all saw against Liverpool, the luck certainly avoids you and Chelsea went back in front - Hazard and Vargas went shoulder to shoulder on the edge of the box and in typically Hazard fashion, he went down like a cheap tart and the referee pointed to the spot. Hazard sent Green the wrong way and Rangers had it all to do again.
Rob Green was at his best yet again with fine saves from Schurrle and Terry but the equaliser at the other end just didn't come despite Rangers continuing to keep battling away...
Queens Park Rangers
- 01 Green
- 14 Isla
- 22 Dunne
- 04 Caulker
- 13 Yun Suk-young
- 24 Vargas
- 20 Henry
- 30 Sandro
- 23 Hoilett (Zamora - 60' )
- 10 Fer (Traore - 84' )
- 09 Austin
- 03 Traore
- 06 Hill
- 07 Phillips
- 11 Wright-Phillips
- 19 Kranjcar
- 21 Murphy
- 25 Zamora
Luke picked out Charlie Austin who is in fine form with 3 in the last 2, but myself, Lee, Jess and Jenson, all agreed on yet another outstanding performance and indeed, a true Captain's performance from Richard Dunne who kept Diego Costa firmly in his pocket all afternoon.
Following an R's defeat, the social networks can be dreadful reading for QPR fans, but it was refreshing to read nothing but praise on an R's performance that was full of heart, passion and commitment. Seeing the team play with that sort of pride is all that we want from our team and as noted, their were little complaints. Long may it continue..
Frustration maybe of the manner in which the game was won by Chelsea, but Hazard certainly has history in these matters and it comes with little surprise.
It gets no easier for the R's as we host Champions Man City next Saturday evening and Lee will return to hopefully report on another great performance.
Keep the Faith and Come on you R'sssssssssssss!!!