Chelsea battled to an unconvincing 1-0 win thanks to Fabregas’ last-gasp winner at a very sunny Loftus Road.
It means the Blues, whose only shot on target was Fabregas’ goal in the 88th minute, can preserve their seven-point gap at the top of the table, and only four more wins from seven matches are needed to see the Premier League crown return to SW6 for the first time in five years.
But it was hardly vintage Chelsea, who lost their creative spark throughout the 90 minutes, but clearly did not lose their champion’s instinct, grinding out what should be a precious three points.
Mourinho warned that when it comes to derbies, there is “no big or small team”, and though these two sides are at the opposite ends of the table, the very close proximity between them in terms of geographical distance definitely spiced up the atmosphere.
QPR started strongly and recorded an impressive 15 shots on goal throughout the game. Barton was pinging the balls well across the pitch and Austin and Zamora were a handful for Chelsea’s back-line.
For all Chelsea’s possession, of which they had the lion’s share, Robert Green was surprisingly under-used. Indeed, it was Courtois who was the busier, having to be especially alert when Phillips managed to turn and get a shot on goal.
But a forgettable game ended triumphantly for Chelsea. Green’s goal-kick was more high than long and Hazard raced onto it. The QPR defenders were slow to react and Hazard, via a one-two with Oscar, passed to Fabregas, who slotted home.
The irony, of course, would be that the former Arsenal ace has, with that goal, arguably killed off Arsenal’s title hopes, but he is certainly Chelsea’s now and, after a few months of below-par performances, he will clearly enjoy his Sunday evening.
As for Mourinho and his club, Chelsea still sit pretty at the top. No wonder Abramovich, who rarely makes away games these days, was sitting happily in his sunglasses basking in the sun, but he has to wait a long time for it.
Man of the Match
CESC FABREGAS: No-one was special today and it was a below-par Chelsea performance. Failure to grab three points from it and that would have been concerning, especially as Chelsea have not been good at all of late. Paradoxically, maybe Chelsea would have performed better had they still been in the Champions League, as the week-long breaks seem to really make the players lethargic, especially today in the sticky sun. Still, Fabregas popped up with the vital goal. 6/10
Mourinho was pragmatic: “It is one step closer. We need three wins and two draws. When we have one match more to play than the other teams. Our situation is good. Pure mathematics. We need 11 points.”
Ramsay was gutted his players’ efforts did not translate into points: “I am very, very disappointed to lose. Detail kills you and when you have top players like they do, you get done. One shot and the top players score.”