Jan 2 2013 By Yann Tear
Chelsea 0-1 QPR
QPR claimed the shock result of the season – and did it with a goal from the unlikeliest of sources as Shaun Wright-Phillips bagged his first ever Premier League goal for the Hoops.
The result is barely credible, given how dreadful Rangers were against Liverpool on Sunday and given their inability to fashion a league win at Stamford Bridge for nearly 30 years.
Perhaps they were just waiting for them to become Champions of Europe to make the moment even more delicious.
There is also the small matter of one win all season and none at all in 23 away games in the league – one short of equalling an unwanted club record - but this one will have made the wait worthwhile for the disbelieving Rangers faithful.
To begin with, it looked a case of simply regaining some pride with a stubborn and committed display that might frustrate a below par Chelsea.
But on 78 minutes, a clearing header at a corner fell to Adel Taarabt, who played a perfect first-time ball into the path of ex Chelsea man Wright-Phillips, whose low angled shot found the bottom corner.
No wonder the players milked the acclaim of the fans at the Shed End after the final whistle. This was one of the club's most famous wins. They will pen songs to this as they once did for Kevin Gallen.
Inevitably thoughts will drift towards the possibility of an improbable escape from the relegation trapdoor. “West London is ours!” those joyous fans proclaimed.
Harry Redknapp's men would no doubt have been encouraged by their opponents' team-sheet, which revealed a starting line-up without Ashley Cole, Ramires, Juan Mata and Eden Hazard.
But if Rafael Benitez expected the Hoops to be cannon-fodder, even to a below strength team, Rangers were in the mood to wreck his presumptions.
Chelsea's discomfort might have been more acute had Marko Marin received the red card he merited after four minutes for an awful lunge at the shins of Stephane Mbia.
The Blues inevitably moved up a gear at the start of the second half, and brought on the cavalry. Hazard, Mata and Ramires were all sent on as the Blues became more strained.
Victor Moses almost turned in a low cross from Marin and Branislav Ivanovic clipped the top of the bar with a header from the diminutive German's corner.
And it needed a firm near post stop from Julio Cesar to keep out a full-blooded effort from Fernando Torres to keep the Rs in the hunt.
Encouraged by the let off, Rangers dared dream of glory and Esteban Granero sent a curler at Ross Turnbull from outside the area before Jamie Mackie was denied by a superb Gary Cahill tackle as he was about to pull the trigger – Taarabt having played in the Scotland striker.
The signs were there, if we only cared to believe them.
The first half was awful, but that was good news for Rangers, who were desperate to make amends for last season's 6-1 massacre at the Bridge, as well as the debacle against Liverpool. They kept it tight at the back and avoided being over-ambitious. Keeping it simple and knowing their limitations, they exposed Chelsea's
Chelsea came closest to breaking the deadlock just before the break when Oscar's deflected shot almost got past Julio Cesar – an outstretched leg from the keeper just keeping it out. It didn't seem that significant at the time, but little did we know.
CHELSEA: Turnbull; Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Bertrand; Lampard (Ramires 78), David Luiz; Moses (Mata 75), Oscar, Marin (Hazard 60); Torres. Subs not used: Hilario, Cole, Ramires, Ferreira, Piazon.
QPR: Julio Cesar; Onuoha, Nelsen, Hill, Da Silva; Mackie, Derry, Granero (JS Park 90), Mbia, Hoilett (Wright-Phillips 16); Taarabt (Dyer 90). Subs not used: Green, Ferdinand, Cisse, Faurlin.