Chelsea closing in on title as Remy returns to QPR for decisive derby
Chelsea, odds-on with Coral at 4/11 to triumph, will make the short trip to Loftus Road knowing that this west London derby carries more meaning than most.
Victory for the Blues would see them edge ever closer to lifting the Premier League title, while third from bottom QPR (odds-on at 2/9 to be relegated) know they must keep collecting points to survive the looming trap door.
The visitors are now odds-on at 1/25 to win the league, but have come unstuck against their neighbours before, so must be cautious. Anything can happen in a local derby, and the Hoops, 8/1 to snatch a crucial three points, will be hoping to take advantage of the hostile atmosphere.
However, the hosts will be without sidelined centre half pair Richard Dunne and Rio Ferdinand plus left back Yun Suk-Young, and are 6/4 to concede three or more against their guests, having leaked the most league goals of any team this term.
The Blues, by contrast, lead the scoring charts alongside Manchester City and, having notched up a superb 63, as well as winning the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge earlier this season, should be full of confidence.
Dangerman Diego Costa is still injured and unavailable, but this duel should be all about Loic Remy, who returns to Loftus Road for the first time since departing last summer.
The flexible France forward has struggled for game time at the Bridge, but has seized his chance superbly in Costa’s absence, grabbing vital winners in his past two outings, so back him at a sensational 7/2 to strike last again and spoil QPR’s party.
Former Hoops coach Harry Redknapp, who helped bring Remy to England, said of his former charge: “It’s a waste really, it’s a bit of a waste of a real Premier League goalscorer. I don’t know what persuaded him to be number two at Chelsea. I thought Arsenal, where he would have played more, would be his move at the time.”
“Like all strikers, he needs a run, he needs to play regularly. If he did that, he would score a lot of goals. Costa’s a hard act to follow, but Remy’s movement is good. He makes good runs, he’s quick, he’s on the shoulder and he can score.”
Remy is certainly in rampant form, and is 4/1 bag a brace or better and prove his future is with the Blues, while exciting Eden Hazard, who hit home against the Hoops in the reverse, is 9/2 to net the opener.
Meanwhile, playmaker Cesc Fabregas (10/3 to be on target anytime) is expected to start despite being one booking away from a suspension and boasting a broken nose.
QPR have endured an undeniably calamitous campaign, but have shown recent signs of being able to turn their season around. Having picked up four points from a possible six in their past two games, the Hoops are 4/1 to split the spoils again and prove a thorn in Chelsea’s side.
Goal hero Charlie Austin is 11/4 to outshine Remy at Loftus Road anytime, while fellow in-form forward threats Bobby Zamora and Matt Phillips are 5/1 and 6/1 respectively.