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Sunday, September 16, 2012

QPR Report Sunday: Chelsea Reports and Comments...Stan Bowles: 40 Year QPR Anniversary!...Support for Gianni Paladini to Birmingham!...Terry Hearing in a Week



Mel Eves Column:  Sunday Mercury-  Gianna Paladini would be excellent for Birmingham City

I’LL make no bones about it – Gianni Paladini and his consortium would be great owners of Birmingham City.

I’ve known Gianni for nearly 30 years and although his time in charge at Queens Park Rangers seems to have given some Blues fans a jaundiced view of him, I think they’re wrong.

The television documentary about QPR, ‘The Four-Year Plan’, appears to have coloured plenty of opinions since news broke this week that Gianni and a consortium of Italian backers were bidding to buy Blues from Carson Yeung and Co.

Yet some of the more ridiculous stuff that came out in that documentary was really down to flamboyant billionaire Flavio Briatore, who was part of the ownership group at Loftus Road but isn’t involved in this bid.

And, anyway, this is different. Gianni isn’t someone who’s come out of nowhere and thinks that Birmingham’s just north of London.
He’s lived here for 40 years and his kids were born in the city; he understands the mentality of Blues and their supporters very well and, frankly, if he does end up buying them, his credibility would be on the line far more than it would be at any other club.

I think that means he’d put that extra little bit in – and I don’t mean just in terms of cash. He’ll see it as somewhere he can get his feet under the table and really make a difference to the club and their fans.
He has a good track record in the past as an agent, bringing to England some of the first Italian players to appear here – names like Fabrizio Ravanellii and former Baggies favourite Enzo Maresca (pictured) – as well as the top-class Brazilian Juninho.

That shows he has a real handle on the value of good players.
He knows what it will take to get Blues promoted and if he’s got to spend a few million more, then he will, but he’ll want value for money. I think he’d be prudent, but he wouldn’t try to do things on the cheap.

And I certainly don’t see him as the kind of owner who would come in and impose players on Lee Clark and his management team – Gianni’s a real football man and I think he’d let the boss get on with it.
Most importantly, I think he would engender a sense of goodwill between the club and the fans, which Blues desperately need to rediscover.

He would be far more approachable than the current regime have been – he’d be in this city, not on the other side of the world, for a start! – and I think the club needs that kind of emotional lift.
There’s been a lot of cynicism around all the off-the-field money troubles and Blues need to get rid of that quickly, so that everyone can concentrate on getting the club back in the Premier League.
Carson Yeung agreeing to this bid and accepting that his time is up would be a good start. Sunday Mercury


Telegraph/Jason Burt

Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand plans civil action against Chelsea's John Terry in racism case

Anton Ferdinand is considering taking a civil action against John Terry should the Chelsea defender escape serious punishment from the forthcoming Football Association inquiry into his alleged racist behaviour.

Ferdinand refused to shake hands with either Terry or Ashley Cole at Loftus Road on Saturday, and the Queens Park Rangers captain, Ji Sung Park, also refused to shake Terry’s hand.

It was the first time Ferdinand and Terry had come face-to-face since the former England captain was acquitted in a magistrates court last July of a charge of racially abusing the QPR defender in the corresponding fixture last season. Cole appeared as a witness for Terry at that trial.

Terry now faces the FA hearing on Sept 24, before a three-man Independent Regulatory Commission, with the hearing set to run for two to three days, after the player was charged with using “abusive and/ or insulting words and/ or behaviour” towards Ferdinand including “a reference to ethnic origin and/ or race”. He denies the charge.

The scale of punishment he receives — if found guilty — could determine whether Terry has a future as an England international. It will also influence whether Ferdinand carries out the threat of a private prosecution.

Ferdinand’s legal team are watching the FA proceedings and have written to the organisation to set out their willingness to co-operate and to seek clarification on how the case will proceed.

There had been some debate as to whether the phone records of Terry, and possibly those of Cole, plus the records of Chelsea officials — including text messages — could be requested by the FA to see whether they might shed light as to what happened on the day of the incident.

The Metropolitan Police chose not to pursue that avenue of inquiry and now the FA has also decided not to request such information.
It is understood that this has dismayed Ferdinand and his legal team, who might attempt to ascertain the information themselves should they pursue a civil action.

At the same timeTerry has also grown frustrated with the drawn-out procedure, given that the incident occurred last October and he was acquitted in July.Terry was stripped of the England captaincy before the trial in a move that led to the departure of Fabio Capello as England manager.

Capello’s successor, Roy Hodgson, has made it clear he wants to continue to pick Terry and caused a stir by stating that he hoped the defender would be “freed” and cleared by the commission.
If Terry is found guilty, the commission could deliver a range of punishments — most likely a three or four match ban and a fine — but the wording of the findings could be most damaging.

Ferdinand’s camp has also sought to clarify the roles played in the incident by some Chelsea officials and it is understood that the player, and his older brother Rio, are determined to pursue the matter if possible.

The pair have promised never to shake hands with Terry or Cole, despite Cole having been a close friend of Rio’s.If Anton Ferdinand is not satisfied with the inquiry he will reconvene his legal team to pursue the possibility of High Court action, which could result in the whole case being reprised.

After yesterday’s failed handshake, Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo said: “We offered and we have done our part and if other people feel differently that’s not our problem.”  Telegraph


(Courtesy of Haqpr1963!)

Photos from QPR vs Chelsea

Fulham Chronicle/Jacob Murtagh

QPR defender faces spell on the sidelines

QPR defender Fabio Da Silva faces a spell on the sidelines after suffering a hamstring injury during this afternoon's west London derby draw with Chelsea.

The on-loan Manchester United full-back pulled up in the opening half an hour, and is set to miss the next couple of weeks.

Andy Johnson was also forced off with a knee problem in the first-half, while Anton Ferdinand took a knock late on.

And boss Mark Hughes will send the trio for scans to determine the full extent of the problem.

He said: “Fabio has pulled his hamstring and will be out for a number of weeks, which is a blow for us.

“AJ felt something in his knee. We hope he’s going to be okay, but it’s a little bit of worry.

“You need players like AJ in the squad because they give so much. We’ll send him for a scan over the next few days and hopefully he’ll be okay.

“It was a blow losing two players in the first-half, because it definitely comprised us in the second period when I would have probably made changes.

“Anton felt a little bit of tightness in his hamstring, but having made all three substitutes by that stage he just had to get through the final few minutes.”
http://www.fulhamchronicle.co.uk/london-....#ixz z26cSmEHwu


Johnson knee injury a concern for QPR

QPR striker Andrew Johnson will undergo a scan after suffering a knee injury in the west London derby against Chelsea.

Johnson was substituted during the first half as was Fabio, who picked up a hamstring strain and will be assessed on Monday.

Fabio was also injured.

“AJ will be scanned. He felt something in his knee,” Rangers manager Mark Hughes explained.

“We’re hoping he’s going to be okay. It could be more serious but we’re hoping it’s not.”

Aside from the injuries, Hughes had every reason to be pleased with his team’s performance against their neighbours.

Rangers put Chelsea under plenty of pressure in the 0-0 draw, with Ji-sung Park and Bobby Zamora both missing chances to put them ahead in the second half.

Hughes said: “I thought we were excellent. In terms of control of the game we were able to do that effectively for long periods and that augurs well for the future given that we were up against the European champions.

“We were always looking to win the game and create chances. All in all, it’s an improvement on what we produced against Man Cty and that’s what we’re looking for.

“It’s proof that we’re going in the right direction. It’s only a matter of time before we get that first win and then really get our season going.

“Playing Chelsea on our patch was a challenge for us and we were up to it.” West London Sport

Fulham Chronicle/Jacob Murtagh

Hughes: QPR are going in the right direction

MARK Hughes reckons QPR are heading in the right direction after the derby draw with Chelsea.

The R's put in an impressive display to earn a deserved point against the European champions.

And boss Hughes was delighted with his side's display.

He said: “In terms of controlling the game I thought we were able to do that, which augurs well for the future.

“We equipped ourselves really well and it just shows the longer we are together as a group and the longer we play as a group, the better we will become.

“All in all, as a performance, it was an improvement on what we produced against Manchester City and that’s what we were looking for.

“Now we’re looking for more good performances which, in the end, will almost certainly bring us positive results.

“Chelsea knew they had to perform today in order to stay in the game and I would imagine they are pleased with the point they gained.

“It’s proof that we are going in the right direction. It’s only a matter of time before we get the win on board and then we can really start to build our season.”



Hughes delighted with development of his team after 0-0 draw against Chelsea ..

It just shows the longer we are together as a group and the longer we play as a group, the better we will become"
Mark Hughes
MARK HUGHES has spoken of his pride after watching his QPR team more than match Chelsea at Loftus Road this afternoon.

A pulsating West London derby finished goalless in W12, and Rangers players left the pitch with a sense of disappointment that they only had a point to show for their efforts.

“In terms of controlling the game I thought we were able to do that, which augurs well for the future,” Hughes toldwww.qpr.co.ukshortly after the final whistle.

“We equipped ourselves really well and it just shows the longer we are together as a group and the longer we play as a group, the better we will become.”

Rangers went into the match looking to avenge their last league performance on home soil which resulted in a 5-0 opening-day defeat to Swansea, and Hughes added: “In our last outing here in the Premier League we didn’t do so well, but in terms of an improved performance that was as good as we could have expected today.”

QPR carved out a number of great opportunities, with Ji-Sung Park, Bobby Zamora and Djibril Cisse all going close.

“We were always looking to try and win the game, and always looking to try and create things,” Hughes said. “We had a couple of good chances. Ji probably had more time than he realised and could have brought the ball down instead of heading it, and Bobby rounded the keeper, and Djib had a good opportunity as well.”

Hughes was delighted with the performance of his squad as a whole but singled out his central defensive partnership for special praise.

“I thought Anton (Ferdinand) and Ryan Nelsen were excellent today,” he added. “Ryan has travelled half-way round the world in the week and I thought he produced an outstanding performance for us.

“All in all, as a performance, it was an improvement on what we produced against Manchester City and that’s what we were looking for.

“Now we’re looking for more good performances which, in the end, will almost certainly bring us positive results.

“Chelsea knew they had to perform today in order to stay in the game and I would imagine they are pleased with the point they gained.

“It’s proof that we are going in the right direction. It’s only a matter of time before we get the win on board and then we can really start to build our season.”


QPR and Chelsea play out dull derby draw

After the handshakes and headshakes, a football match broke out here yesterday, but like much of the build-up, it was undistinguished stuff.

Queens Park Rangers finished the afternoon the happier, their local pride upheld and a second point of the season achieved, features marked by a standing ovation at the finish. Chelsea were satisfied too, even if Manchester United cut their lead at the top of the table to a single point.

As for the principal performers of the little drama talking place before kick-off, all played rather well on a defender's day, although Anton Ferdinand pulled up near the end with what looked like a hamstring injury, and would have gone off had his team's allocation of substitutes not been used up – two of them in the opening half an hour.

Ferdinand's best moment was in dispossessing Fernando Torres on a Chelsea breakaway in the second half, by which time Rangers were asserting a measure of control. Ashley Cole was, nevertheless, rarely troubled by either Shaun Wright-Phillips or Jamie Mackie, who moved wide late in the game, and John Terry allowed his old Sunday football team-mate Bobby Zamora only one real opportunity, blocking the resulting shot with Petr Cech out of his goal.

Rangers lost the services of Fabio da Silva at the back and Andrew Johnson in attack to injuries suffered before half-time, and for all Mackie's willing running, Johnson's departure depleted them.

They have at least found a goalkeeper in Internazionale's Julio Cesar, whose performance suggested Robert Green will be looking at the League Cup for his appearance money in the immediate future. Another high-profile signing, Esteban Granero from Real Madrid, also impressed and overall Mark Hughes was delighted.

"I thought we were excellent," he said, "and proof that we're going in the right direction. The more we play together, the better we'll become." As for the whole handshake farrago, he repeated his suggestion that the pre-match parade be done away with. "A lot of things have moved on for the better but I'm not sure about this one. I've got the utmost respect for the Respect campaign but this part of it causes more problems than it solves."

Chelsea's Roberto Di Matteo was more sanguine: "We offered and did our part. If other people feel differently it's their problem." He also confirmed that Chelsea were not displeased with their afternoon's work. "The only disappointment was that we didn't score the goals from the chances we created," he said.

Chelsea had rested Juan Mata with the Champions' League game against Juventus in mind and Ryan Bertrand in his position on the left was understandably less creative. More encouraging was the cameo by Victor Moses in the last quarter of an hour. He set up a glorious chance for Eden Hazard, who had been rivalling Julio Cesar, Granero and Ryan Nelsen for the individual honours until he spooned a shot over the bar from seven yards.

The atmosphere, heavy with animosity, did not help the quality of football and after two early opportunities for the Brazilian keeper to demonstrate his capabilities, there were few chances for a long period. Not much more was seen of Torres, the man destined forever to be known as the £50m striker, who before the end had taken a knock and walked straight down to the dressing-room.

Chelsea might twice have had a penalty in the first half, when Terry and Hazard were both sent tumbling in the area, perhaps suffering from the theatricality of their fall. "Stonewall penalty," Di Matteo said of the former incident. Cech meanwhile made only one save, straightforwardly from Zamora. That pattern changed after half-time. Hazard's delicious flick-up the line was a rare moment of class and when Terry unwisely attempted similar deftness on the ball but was forced to pass back to his goalkeeper from beyond the halfway line, the home crowd were stirred to noisier involvement. Mackie responded to them by twisting to shoot at Cech, who was then grateful that Park Ji-Sung's header from a fine cross from Granero went straight at him.

Rangers' big opportunity came in the 75th minute when Mikel misjudged a long ball, allowing Zamora to home in on Cech and go round him, only to find four Chelsea players defending their goal and Terry – who else – knocking the ball away.

With Moses and Daniel Sturridge offering fresh legs and impetus, the visitors looked the more likely to score from then on. Moses, playing wide on the right, forced Julio Cesar into his third good save before setting up Hazard for a rare blot on the Belgian's copybook.

QPR (4-4-2): Julio Cesar; Bosingwa, Ferdinand, Nelsen, Fabio (Onuoha 20); Wright-Phillips (Cisse 69), Granero, Faurlin, Park; Johnson A (Mackie 32), Zamora.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, David Luiz, Terry, Cole; Mikel, Lampard; Ramires, Hazard E, Bertrand (Moses 58); Torres (Sturridge 81).

Referee: A Marriner.

Man of the match: Julio Cesar (QPR) Independent

Match rating: 5/10

Half-time 0-0 Att: 18,271 Independent

By Gerry Cox, Loftus Road
5:00PM BST 15 Sep 2012

A large banner laid out in front of the Loftus Road tunnel as the players emerged before kick-off read, “Get on with the Game”, but the racism row that has rumbled on since last October’s corresponding fixture refuses to go away.

The players did get on with a game – not the best this ground has seen – but only after the brouhaha over the handshakes continued. As expected, Anton Ferdinand refused to shake hands with John Terry and Ashley Cole, as did Ji Sung Park, QPR’s captain.

It was in the corresponding fixture last October that Ferdinand accused Terry of racist abuse, and though the Chelsea man was acquitted of all charges in July’s court hearing, with Cole as a character witness, the England captain still faces a Football Association charge.

Not that it affected him or Ferdinand, both of whom had solid games in a match dominated by defenders.

Chelsea lost the league’s only 100 per cent record because Fernando Torres and co could not get past Ferdinand and Ryan Nelsen, who was outstanding at the back. When Chelsea did get a sight of goal, they either squandered the opportunity or found Júlio César in terrific form on his debut.

The Brazilian goalkeeper, signed from Inter Milan last month, made an exceptional stop low to his left to keep out a first-time shot from Eden Hazard in the sixth minute, and then saved well from a shot on the turn by Torres 10 minutes later.

Hazard missed a simple chance late in the game, shooting high over the bar from 10 yards, while the ineffective Torres showed his frustration at a poor performance by marching straight to the dressing rooms after being substituted in the closing stages.

Petr Cech was only really called into meaningful action after half-time, when QPR sensed they could beat their neighbours and went forward with more conviction, but Park headed a great chance straight at the Czech keeper.

It was no game for the purist, yet both managers seemed satisfied with a point.

“I thought we were excellent,” said home manager Mark Hughes. “We were able to control the game comfortably for long periods and I think that augurs well for the future. Given that we were up against the European champions, I thought we acquitted ourselves really, really well.”

His opposite number, Roberto Di Matteo, rued his side’s inability to score for the first time this season, saying: “The only disappointment is we didn’t score the goal after the chances we created. The performance was very good. I thought we controlled the game and we had chances to score.”

He also believed Chelsea might have had two penalties, first when Terry was bundled over by Nelsen and then when Hazard went down under a challenge from Shaun Wright-Phillips.

Di Matteo added: “The one on Hazard, he [referee Andre Marriner] was in a good position and maybe he didn’t think there was enough. But the one on JT was 100 per cent, we all agree on that.”

Match details

Queens Park Rangers (4-4-2): Cesar; Bosingwa, Nelsen, Ferdinand, Fabio da Silva (Onuoha 20); Wright-Phillips (Cissé 70), Park, Granero, Faurlin; Zamora, Johnson (Mackie 32).
Subs: Green, Taarabt, Dyer, Hoilett.
Chelsea 4-5-1: Cech; Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Cole; Ramires, Lampard, Mikel, Hazard, Bertrand (Moses 58); Torres (Sturridge 80).
Subs: Turnbull, Romeu, Oscar, Cahill, Azpilicueta.
Booked: Moses, Ramires.
Referee: A Marriner (West Midlands)



Anton Ferdinand avoids John Terry's handshake as QPR draw with Chelsea

David Hytner at Loftus Road

Queens Park Rangers' Anton Ferdinand and Chelsea's Fernando Torres collide during the match at Loftus Road. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA
In other news, Queens Park Rangers held Chelsea to a scoreless draw. So consumed had everybody become over the Anton Ferdinand-John Terry confrontation, with the pre-match non‑handshaking subplot, that it had been easy to forget that there were three vital derby points at stake.

The one apiece was not bad for either side, even if the two dropped represented Chelsea's first blemish of the Premier League season. Both teams departed with regrets, with QPR's centring upon the two clear chances that they spurned in the second half. Park Ji-sung fluffed a gloriously free header while Bobby Zamora seized upon a loose Mikel John Obi back-pass to round Petr Cech only not to shoot. He finally unloaded after checking inside but the opportunity had passed. Chelsea were the better team in the first half and they might have snatched victory in the closing moments only for Eden Hazard to blaze over the crossbar from the substitute Victor Moses's low cross. Roberto Di Matteo lamented his side's lack of cutting edge for the first time this season. All of the passion, all of the huff and puff, came to nothing.

In the week that saw the publication of the Hillsborough report, the focus on whether two grown men would deign to acknowledge each other before a football match was pitiful. Handshakes, together with captains armbands, have become the great trivial obsessions of English football. The tension, though, was palpable when the QPR players began the staged pre-match walk past their Chelsea counterparts. Park was first up; he did not shake Terry's hand and, moments later, he did not do so again at the captain's coin toss.

As expected, Ferdinand ignored Terry and then Ashley Cole, who had given evidence on Terry's behalf at the magistrates court trial in July, when the Chelsea captain stood accused of racially insulting Ferdinand. Terry loitered in front of Ferdinand during the handshakes and he seemed to say something to him while Cole glanced over his shoulder after his confrontation with Ferdinand. José Bosingwa and Bobby Zamora embraced Terry. And that was that.

It was a spiky afternoon that featured the traditional derby ingredients: no-holds barred tackles, controversial decisions and caustic chanting from the stands. Terry's every involvement was jeered but, as usual, he pushed out his chest and looked unruffled. Cole heard plenty of abuse; Ferdinand got some from the travelling support. Each player emerged with credit for his performance.

The first half contained three loud penalty shouts and each one might have been given. David Luiz lunged recklessly at Fábio da Silva while Chelsea felt that Ryan Nelsen's man-handling of Terry and Shaun Wright-Phillips's dig at Hazard merited censure. Hazard's tumble was slightly theatrical.

Chelsea had the first-half chances. Hazard, after a incisive break featuring Fernando Torres and Ramires, drew a smart save out of Júlio César, the debutant QPR goalkeeper, whose inclusion relegated Rob Green, the Bosman summer signing, to the bench. Torres burst through, jinked and forced César to save while David Luiz was wasteful with a free header from a corner.

QPR only had a Zamora snap-shot in the first half but they were more fluent and purposeful after the interval. Esteban Granero oozed quality and it was from his floated pass in the 56th minute that Park ought to have scored. His free header, eight yards out, however, was straight at Petr Cech. Terry and Ferdinand suffered injury scares, the latter's looking the more serious. Ferdinand pulled up in the 89th minute and, after treatment, he returned with a strapping around his right thigh. Of greater concern to QPR, though, were the hamstring and knee injuries that forced off Da Silva and Andy Johnson.

Terry felt his right knee in the 72nd minute but, after performing a few stretches, he was able to continue. The home crowd's glee was diluted and they contended themselves with telling Terry that his "family is scum".

Torres strode straight off down the tunnel when he was substituted while the misses from Zamora and Hazard advertised the stalemate. Moses also drew a save from the excellent César. The mercy was that handshakes will now be off the agenda. Guardian

Chelsea Perspective


Posted on: Sat 15 Sep 2012
It was not the win to show clearly the players had put the defeat in Monaco behind them but Roberto Di Matteo was still content with the performance level, if not the result from a difficult derby at Loftus Road.

The Chelsea manager, in common with his players at the time and the Chelsea fans watching from a packed away end, believed at least one penalty should have been awarded in our favour, Ryan Nelsen appearing to wrestle John Terry to the ground at a set-piece and Eden Hazard being tripped in the box, but it was chances not taken that the Italian highlighted first.

On the game overall
'The only disappointment was we didn't score the goal with the chances we created because all in all, the performance was very good,' Di Matteo said.

'Playing at Loftus Road is always difficult because of the history and the rivalry of the clubs. We controlled the game very well, we created a number of chances and it was just the goal that was missing. One goal would have probably been enough for us to win the game.

'I am not concerned because we created chances. It is the first game we haven't scored, we normally do, and we will continue to do so if we create chances.'

On the decisions not to give Chelsea a penalty in the first half
'The one with JT and Nelsen looked a stonewall penalty to me. I have watched the replay. I know the ref doesn't have the replay and I don't know if he didn't see it or saw it and didn't think it was.

'The one on Hazard he was in a good position for and there was some contact but maybe he didn't think it was enough. It is a difficult job to be a referee. It is easy for us because we have the replays.'

On concentrating on the game given the high-profile build-up
'Both sets of players have shown a great attitude. They focused on the football, showed how professional they are and they played the game in the right spirit. It was a good derby to watch.

'Our players didn't have a problem with their focus and were very concentrated. We didn't concede much and with the penalties and the chances, on another day we could have scored.'

'We handled it very well and we were very professional and I was very pleased with the way they played.'

Looking towards the Champions League match midweek
'We need to assess the players tomorrow but it doesn't look like we had any major issues, just a couple of knocks. We will now shift our energy to Wednesday's game.'

Rangers manager Mark Hughes was just as happy with his team's display as his former team-mate at Chelsea had been with his.

'I thought we were excellent,' said Hughes. 'In terms of control of the game we were able to do that comfortably for long periods. Last time out here in the Premier League we didn't do so well but there were a couple of clear-cut chances today and it was an improvement on what we did at Man City.

'It was a game played in good spirit and it was very competitive. Chelsea had to perform today to stay in the game and I imagine they will be pleased with their point.'




Posted on: Sat 15 Sep 2012
The Blues were held for the first time in this league campaign in what, despite no goals, was not a dull derby encounter.

It was on the whole an even contest. Queens Park Rangers can point to more genuine chances, especially after the break, but Chelsea spurned the best of all when Hazard fired over near the end, and it is very hard to explain why we weren't awarded a penalty when the same Chelsea player was clearly fouled in the first half.

The bright, attacking link-ups that have been evident on occasions this campaign were few and far between in this game. Victor Moses came on for his debut in the second half and with Daniel Sturridge introduced late on as well, we opened the visitors up more, but Rangers too could have won it near the end.

Team news
John Terry returned from suspension with both he and Ashley Cole over the injuries that had ruled them out of England games. Gary Cahill made way. Ramires came in on the right of midfield with Bertrand again on the left.

QPR made one change, new keeper Julio Cesar selected. Jose Bosingwa started at right-back for his new club.

First half
Bertrand won a corner off Bosingwa inside the first minute from which Terry was only inches away from meeting with a near-post run.

With three minutes played Hazard should have scored from a flowing move he initiated. Torres weighted a ball nicely for Ramires to attack space down the right and the Brazilian whipped it in low - only for Hazard to fire too close to Julio Cesar.

With echoes of last season, QPR claimed an early penalty against David Luiz but Fabio had brushed against our defender and tumbled. However the home side did look to have teeth when they pushed forward in the early stages and Park crossed dangerously into our six-yard box before Cole headed away.

Ramires was the first player booked, for a trip on Alejandro Faurlin inside the Rangers half as he was just beaten to the ball with the home side trying to counter. Then Bobby Zamora brought the first save out of Cech. Torres then warmed the hands of Cesar as he turned back onto his right foot to shoot.

With 20 minutes gone, Fabio was replaced having admitted defeat in his attempt to overcome a couple of hard knocks received in the tackle. Nedum Onuoha came on for the on-loan Man United full-back and went to right-back with Bosingwa now on the left.

Both sides were taking turns to drive towards the other team's goal. It was fast, engaging football. Bertrand was booked for taking down Wright-Phillips as the ball was played into the former Chelsea man.

Both games between these sides at Loftus Road last season were decided by penalties, with one win apiece, and with Hazard on the pitch the odds were on spot-kicks, given or not given, being part of the story of the match again. The Belgian went on an incisive run towards the by-line and was clearly tripped from behind by Onuoha who had been left chasing. Referee Andre Marriner decided to award a goal-kick and Chelsea could not believe the decision. There had been an earlier claim too when Terry was wrestled by Ryan Nelsen as a Chelsea free-kick was played into the Rangers area.

The home team lost another player to injury, Andrew Johnson, so Jamie MacKie came on shortly before David Luiz escaped his marker and powerfully headed a Lampard corner not too far off target.

A quickly taken Lampard free-kick caused the Rangers defence to be on the backfoot for a brief period and Mikel's sweetly-struck shot looked goalbound before a hooped shirt got in the way.

Second half
QPR had the first shot of the second period, Zamora and Park linking before Mackie found space to swivel and shoot. Cech didn't need to move far to deal with the effort.

Then the temperature of the game rose a few more degrees. It started with the best moment of skill of the game from Hazard, playing a pass out to Terry from behind his standing leg. Then Cole was caught painfully by a follow-through but play was waved on before Lampard was whistled up when he appeared to win a challenge cleanly.

QPR should have scored on 55 minutes after Chelsea slackness allowed Park a free header. There was relief when he planted it into the gloves of Cech.

Moses made his Chelsea debut on 58 minutes with Bertrand the man replaced.

There was no denying that Rangers were now on top, but they were hampered by wayward crossing and shooting from the likes of Wright-Phillips and Park.

Chelsea appeared to be missing the link-up between Mata and Hazard - the latter was not seeing enough of the ball. We changed shape to 4-3-3 with Hazard on the left of Torres and Moses on the right. Ramires was now deeper in midfield.

From his flank, Hazard worked space to whip a cross over that Ivanovic had to stretch well to meet beyond the far post but when he did, the Serbian was angry with himself for heading wide.

On 68 minutes, Hazard picked the pocket of Onuoha on halfway and raced away, slipping the ball on to Torres who tried to take on Anton Ferdinand but lost out. It wasn't happening for the Spaniard up front today. At the much-discussed handshakes before kick-off, Ferdinand didn't shake with Terry or Cole.

On 76 minutes came the great escape for Robbie Di Matteo's men. Mikel, who had enjoyed a good game but needed treatment minutes before, somehow was unaware of Zamora's presence as he played a pass back. The QPR striker took the ball wide of Cech but delayed his shot too long and when he did fire on target, there were Chelsea men back to block.

The Blues went straight down the other end and Moses did well to get a shot on target from a wide position - Julio Cesar shovelling it away.

Sturridge replaced Torres with 10 minutes remaining and he immediately looked sharp in combining with Hazard before running the ball out of play as he crossed.

On 86 minutes came a Chelsea chance as good as any of those QPR wasted. It was Moses who squared the ball to unmarked Hazard but from inside the area, the Belgian blazed over. We could have won it at the death with a swift counter-attack had Lampard not been closed down well as he shot, but so could Rangers had Cisse not shot against the ankle of David Luiz who was the only defender back.

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