EPL Betting: Hail the home-coming heroes
Fernando Torres must be on top of the world after his game against Barcelona
When the Blues play embattled QPR at Stamford Bridge in their Premier League match-up on Sunday, Lee Dixon can already hear the crowds welcoming home the conquering heroes.
After Tuesday night's Champions League semi-final between Barcelona and Chelsea, the Blues will be treated as returning heroes at the Bridge on Sunday.
However, this match has controversial precedents, with Terry set to stand trial for using racially abusive language against Anton Ferdinand later this year. I'd like to focus on the football and I expect both sets of players will do the same. There's a lot at stake - Chelsea need to keep winning to give themselves any chance of finishing in the top four and Queens Park Rangers are involved in the fight of their lives.
Mark Hughes is a good manager, he proved that a Blackburn and Fulham, but he does tend to need time before he starts to turn around his teams' fortunes. With three matches to play, time is what Rangers don't have. They pulled off an excellent victory over Tottenham last weekend and, if they are to avoid an ignominious return to the Championship, they need to carry that impetus to Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea are unbeaten in six in the league and Roberto di Matteo has turned their fortunes around. We have seen big name bosses come and go in recent seasons but I reckon Roman Abramovich might be prepared to give the Italian the job full time at the end of the season, especially if he wins the Champions League. Chelsea's Premier League form hasn't been phenomenal of late, but draws against Tottenham and Arsenal show that they remain difficult to play against.
Opta point out that the Blues have played seven London derbies this season and won none. Indeed, they were beaten by QPR at Loftus Road and Joey Barton and co. would be thrilled to do the double over them. I'm afraid I can't see it happening and I think the market is right to make Chelsea big favourites. Beating Bayern Munich may well be their most reliable route back in to the Champions League, but victory on Sunday will keep the pressure on Newcastle and Tottenham.
Momentum means everything at this stage of the season. Of course, that could mean that the visitors can follow up last week's win with another. More likely, the hosts will hit the ground running. At the kick-off, home fans will cheer every player who touches the ball - with the possible exception of the captain - and I'm expecting an early goal.
Fernando Torres must be on top of the world after his game against Barcelona, and playing for a place in the Champions League final, he will be determined to find the net again. That competition within the Chelsea squad, as well as the positive vibes around Stamford Bridge, lead me to think Chelsea will be ahead at the break and the end.
Chelsea to win to nil/Correct score
Opta tell us that QPR have earned just 11 points on the road in the Premier League this season. The only team who have scored less away goals is Wolves so Chelsea are fancied to win to nil. Without wishing to contradict myself too much, I'll also have a bet on 3-1, just in case Bobby Zamora or Djibril Cisse does manage to ruffle a few feathers up front.