The Mask of Cesc to the rescue for Chelsea in west London derby
Chelsea came into this west London clash with QPR at Loftus Road four points ahead of the rest of the Premier League pack with games in hand, while the Hoops were in the relegation zone.
However, you could hardly notice the difference in quality between the two teams in this fixture, as the hosts made life very difficult for the wannabe champions, restricting them to very few shots.
Chris Ramsey’s men certainly were an organised unit throughout, and will very disappointed to get nothing from the encounter, as they had by far the better chances.
After a very dull first half, that saw one real chance, the derby came into life more after the break, and a late Cesc Fabregas goal was ultimately the difference.
QPR were on the attack early on but had no decent chances, but the visitors soon found their feet, and Willian unintentionally came close as his cross hit the post.
Charlie Austin had the best chance of the half, as his sweetly-hit long-ranged shot was destined for the corner of the goal, but Thibaut Courtois used all his height to save well.
Moments later, at the opposite end of the pitch, the masked Fabregas, who broke his nose against Stoke City, should have scored or at least been on target with his header, but his effort was well over the bar.
The Hoops were lively just after the break too, and Matt Phillips showed his all-round attributes down the right wing by sending in an enticing ball, but it was just past the post and beyond Bobby Zamora.
QPR continued to attack, and Clint Hill of all people tried a curling effort on goal. But it was easily collected by Courtois.
Phillips had an even better chance just after the hour mark, as he brilliantly turned Nemanja Matic in the area to get a well-hit shot on target, but again Courtois was at his best to deny the Scotland international.
Former Spurs midfielder Sandro, meanwhile, soon after had a crack on goal from afar, but he shot over the bar.
With just 10 minutes to go, and the score still goalless, Austin showed his determination to threaten to break the deadlock, as he shot into the arm of Gary Cahill, before latching onto the rebound, which was straight at the keeper.
But Fabregas, looking much like compatriot Antonio Banderas in Zorro (without the cape), broke home hearts at the death and saved the day. The Spaniard’s low shot in the area beat Rob Green low to his right, from a passage of play which was started by the keeper’s poor clearance.
Jose Mourinho will certainly not mind how his team won, as they are now seven points ahead of second-placed Arsenal with a game in hand, with seven fixtures to go.
QPR, meanwhile, are still in the bottom three, two points from safety, and have played a game more than most around them.