Chelsea managed only a single shot in the match on target, but Cesc Fabregas’ 88th minute winner was enough for the Blues to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League by seven points, after Arsenal closed the gap to four points with their 1-0 away victory at Turf Moor on Saturday.

The man in the mask, Fabergas, kicked home from 16 yards, after the Hoops goalkeeper Rob Green’s poor clearance; this was the Spaniard’s fifth goal of the season.

The leaders played poorly and struggled with spirited and well organised Rangers, who worked hard and were pressing throughout the match. Joey Barton put in a man-of-the-match performance, as he was the catalyst for everything that was good about QPR’s play.

But it was a good day for the Blues keeper Thibaut Courtois, who made a few misjudgements recently, which last week culminated with Stoke Charlie Adam’s 66 yards wonder-strike. The Belgian goalkeeper helped his team win the match on Sunday, with a couple of excellent saves – he denied QPR’s 17-goal man Charlie Austin, and also their player of the month for March - Matty Phillips was denied twice.

Chelsea’s goal celebrations were marred by some of the home fans throwing plastic bottles, coins and other objects at the Blues players; the Serbian right-back Branislav Ivanovic was struck by a cigarette lighter. QPR boss Chris Ramsey has condemned the Rangers fans, who spoiled the dramatic end to the West-London derby contest.

Chelsea did not display a good performance, but Fabregas’ late winner was sufficient to keep them at the top, as they built a 12-point gap with their early season rivals Manchester City in fourth-place.  It was also a good news for the Blues manager that neither Fabergas nor Nemanja Matic were booked, and would be available for Chelsea’s next two matches: they have visits to Manchester United, followed by a trip to the Gunners, and will only need three wins and two draws in their remaining games to claim a fourth Premier League title.

QPR stay 18th, two points from safety.

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