QPR’s travel sickness woes continued as they were demolished by a rampant Chelsea team at a rain sodden Stamford Bridge. The 6-1 score-line even flattered Rangers as time and time again they were carved open at the back by defence splitting passes as our back-four seemed all at sea. Even the Thames Flood Barrier wouldn’t have helped as we went a goal down within a minute and four down twenty four minutes later. It was so one-sided I was actually praying that the game would be abandoned due to the torrential rain as we looked like a fish out of water in the conditions. You’ve all probably seen the highlights or even the live broadcast yourselves, but have you ever seen such a poor performance considering that we are fighting for survival ?
On the way to the game, I stopped off at Notting Hill Gate for some pre-match pints and lunch with an old mate of mine who supports them lot. I was joined by four regulars from this site. What greeted us as we got off the tube looked like a war zone as a four storey high scaffolding had collapsed at the junction of Pembridge Road and Notting Hill Gate. QPR fans arriving at Stamford Bridge were met with a collapse of similar proportions as we rolled over every time the hosts got possession it seemed.
I was actually pleased to see that we had Cisse playing alongside Zamora in what I thought was a two-pronged attack. The midfield quartet consisted of Mackie, Derry, Buzsaky and Barton with a back-four of Onuoha, Hill, Ferdinand and Taiwo with Kenny between the sticks. We were still discussing whether Cisse or Zamora would play upfront with either helping in midfield when we conceded within 45 seconds. I had said that Cisse’s pace upfront would be more fruitful and Zamora’s hold-up play would suit in a midfield area. As it turned out neither happened as it subsequently transpired that Cisse was in fact playing as an out and out left-winger !!! Added to that we had a midfield who looked like they were actually playing in quicksand rather than a very wet and muddy grass pitch. Then we had a defensive back-four who all seemed to be about ten yards apart rather than a tighter, narrower unit as Chelsea went forward.
The only redeeming positive I can muster is that we stopped them from getting double figures which would’ve been too much for even an optimist to bear. I cannot for the life of me see what Cisse was supposed to achieve playing out of position, especially when Traore, you know, the one who plays really well in a left-sided midfield position, was on the bench. As we all know, we shipped goals every five minutes for the first twenty five and we had nothing to offer going forward whatsoever in the first-half. Derry and Buzsaky were shown to be out of their depth, our back-four were total strangers to each other and Kenny hasn’t played as bad in hoops. But we did manage two shots on goal in the first-half.
When we were a goal down, Cisse tested Cech from twenty yards, but he had time to read the programme first before looking up to deal with the shot. Then just before the end of the first-half, Onuoha took aim from 25 yards, but the shot sailed harmlessly into the lower Shed End. Half-time: 0-4. It could’ve been more !
We started the second-half with the same eleven and formation which had me fuming. With Chelsea taking their collective foot off the gas so to speak, we appeared to see a lot more of the ball second-half, not that anything came of it. On 54 minutes, we had our first shot of note on target. Mackie picked the ball up in midfield and ran in a straight line for goal as he does. As the Chelsea captain slid in, he let fly with a right-footed shot that forced Cech into a decent save to concede a corner.
On the hour, Barton was booked for a foul on Lampard and to be fair, the ref had warned him twice before for previous fouls so no complaints on that front. A few minutes later, our worst nightmare came true. I said to Finney a few weeks ago that the worst case scenario would be getting relegated at the Bridge and Torres scoring a hat-trick. Mata picked out his fellow countryman with a precision pass as our back-four parted like the Red Sea. Torres had so much time and space it was embarrassing, and he duly picked his spot.
Within a minute, the reality dawned on Mark Hughes that his tactics weren’t working. It had taken five goals before he did anything though. Anyway, Traore replaced Buzsaky and he immediately went to left-wing and Cisse went upfront with Zamora in what looked like a 4-4-2 formation, but then all our players were all over the place so it was hard to fathom out.
Then Ramires set up Malouda for a soul destroying sixth goal with hardly any player even putting in a challenge as the home team really rubbed our noses in it. A minute or so before, Shaun Wright-Phillips replaced Zamora and it was nice to see him get a good reception from three sides of the ground, proving that they do have some decent supporters after all.
With seven minutes remaining, Cisse got a goal as he received a pass from Onuoha who had robbed the Chelsea captain and got to the bye-line before putting it on a plate for our No.23 to smash low and hard into the net. Believe me, it wasn’t a consolation goal, not when you’ve been thrashed out of sight. I stayed until the bitter end and sat there totally shell-shocked for what seemed about ten minutes after the whistle.
I eventually went back to Notting Hill Gate for some more drinks to drown my sorrows. The scaffolding was still in a right old mess, but the builders were trying to make it safe. I hope that Mark Hughes can rebuild our defence otherwise we can look forward to our next London derby at the Valley. Full-time: 1-6, a shocking all-round performance.
Team: Kenny 5, Onuoha 4, Hill 4, Ferdinand 4, Taiwo 4, Cisse 4, Barton 5, Buzsaky 4 (Traore 5), Derry 4, Mackie 4, Zamora 4 (Wright-Phillips 4)
Referee: H. Webb 8. He handled the game well which is all we ask for. He could’ve booked more players, but gave the benefit of doubt considering the wet conditions.
Attendance: 41,675 (including approx 3,000 very noisy R’s fans who deserved better)