Bridge Banter: QPR clash could be Norwich re-run
The weekend’s early FA Cup match between QPR and the Blues has the potential for fireworks because of John Terry’s looming court case, which has its roots in the league encounter between the clubs last October.
But like every overhyped game it will probably end up being tame and frustrating.
Both words could have been applied to last weekend’s journey to Norwich by the Blues, when the Canaries were delighted to share the points in a 0-0 match that forced AVB to yet again defend Fernando Torres.
Torres didn’t have a bad game, but missed the target when it looked simpler to score, giving Norwich their first clean sheet of the season.
On another occasion it was only the acrobatics of keeper John Ruddy that denied the Spaniard a goal after he sent a lovely curling shot heading in the right direction.
It has now been 17 games since Torres found the net for Chelsea.
AVB clings to the fact that the Blues keep making opportunities (‘We have to continue to create chances – this is the most important thing’), but the poor conversion rate is getting to everyone.
Major root-and-branch rebuilding of the Chelsea squad has now been deferred until after the final league game of the season, at home to Blackburn, on May 13.
Sweeping changes will see half a dozen high-profile arrivals at Stamford Bridge, with a similar number exiting. The task is getting through the three and a half months in between.
Missing a Champions League slot would be disastrous in terms of attracting talent to SW6.
Chelsea’s salvation may be that the pursuing pack – Arsenal, Newcastle and Liverpool – seem to be following even more self-destructive paths than the Blues.
Difficult fixtures loom. Swansea away on January 31 is tough, and Manchester United’s visit to the Bridge on February 5 won’t be easy either. Still, March will be a doddle, with only Man City and Spurs to see off.