Queens Park Rangers vs. Chelsea  0 - 0


Di Matteo proud of Chelsea amid controversy

15 September 2012 20:59

Roberto Di Matteo was proud of the way his Chelsea players handled the John Terry and Anton Ferdinand handshake situation 'professionally'.

The 0-0 draw with QPR at Loftus Road on Saturday almost played second fiddle as the attention was focused on whether the two defenders – who were infamously embroiled in a race row last season which led to a trial for Terry – would shake hands with each other ahead of kick-off.

Ferdinand ended up snubbing both Terry and Ashley Cole – who was a defence witness at the July trial – and Di Matteo was perfectly happy with the conduct of his own squad.

"I have to say both sets of players showed a great attitude this afternoon. They focused on the football and played the game in the right spirit," he told reporters.

"Our players handled the situation today very professionally.

"We offered (to shake hands), we did our part, if other people don't want to that's their decision.

"I think we should shift the focus to the football side, not the handshake before and the handshake after."

The game did eventually take centre stage and Di Matteo's worry was that his side could not put the finishing touches to their chances.

"The only disappointment is we didn't score the goals from the chances we created. Coming to Loftus Road is always difficult because of the history and the rivalry between the clubs," he said.

QPR boss Mark Hughes, meanwhile, voiced his opposition to the pre-match handshakes between clubs, which were brought into practice as part of the Football Association's 'Respect' campaign.

"I've got the utmost respect for the Respect campaign, and it has done fantastic work. But this element of it causes more problems than it solves," Hughes told reporters.

"I don't want to get misty eyes about the old days but that (shaking hands only at the end of the game) is how we used to do things."

And Hughes was buoyed by the performance of his side up against the might of the Champions League winners.

"I thought we were excellent in terms of control of the game. That augers well for the future given we were up against the European champions," he said.

"In terms of an upgraded performance, that was as good as we could expect today.

"We were always looking to try and win the game. As a performance, it’s an improvement on what we produced against Man City.

"We're going in the right direction. It's only a matter of time before we get three points on the board."


Premier League: Queens Park Rangers 0 Chelsea 0

15 September 2012 18:27

Chelsea dropped Premier League points for the first time this season after being held to a 0-0 draw by QPR at Loftus Road.

The Blues failed to score for the first time in the new campaign, but a clean sheet means they maintain their unbeaten start and stay top of the league.

The pre-match hype firmly surrounded Anton Ferdinand, John Terry and Ashley Cole following July's racism trial in which the Chelsea left-back gave evidence on his team-mate's behalf against Ferdinand.

All three were included in their respective starting line-ups, and, as speculated, Ferdinand refused to acknowledge either player in the handshakes prior to kick-off.

While tensions never boiled over as the football quickly became the focus in west London, they did help to produce a fast-paced and thoroughly entertaining first half.

Eden Hazard proved the focal point of the away side's fluid play through the middle of the park, and the Belgian was afforded the first chance of the game, only to be thwarted by Julio Cesar in the QPR goal.

Hazard was unfortunate not to win his side a penalty after half-an-hour, going down under pressure from Shaun Wright-Phillips in the box, but referee Andre Marriner waved away any suggestion of a spot-kick as he had also done with Terry's earlier appeal.

Yet the hosts were never under the too much pressure, with Mark Hughes' side often displaying the tenacity to catch Chelsea on the break, with Bobby Zamora managing to test Petr Cech.

Their cause may not have been helped by the loss of both Fabio da Silva and Andy Johnson to injury, but Hughes' men went into the break on deservedly level terms.

And it was QPR who looked most likely in the opening stages of the second period, with Jamie Mackie testing Cech well with a swivelled shot from the edge of the box, while Wright-Phillips and Jose Bosingwa were both looking to make in-roads against their former club.

A John Obi Mikel error that nearly led to the deadlock being broken, with the Nigerian's loose back-pass inadvertently playing Zamora through on goal, however, the striker was unable to find the angle after rounding Cech, allowing Terry the time to get back and clear the shot.

Di Matteo handed cameo appearances to Victor Moses and Daniel Sturridge, and former Wigan man Moses looked lively, teeing up Hazard late with a gilt-edged opportunity.

Yet the 21-year-old blazed his effort high over the bar, with both sides forced to settle for a point.


Di Matteo greenlights Terry and Cole

14 September 2012 15:17

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo has confirmed Ashley Cole and John Terry will be fit to play Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.

It will come as a welcome boost to Chelsea, with both players returning from ankle problems as the team look at retain their lead in the English Premier League.

"They've recovered, had a couple of days training and we expect them to be available for tomorrow," Di Matteo said.

In what promises to be a much-talked about game, it could potentially see QPR defender Anton Ferdinand facing Terry for the first time since their court case in the off season.

The Chelsea captain was charged with a racially aggravated public order offence after a confrontation between the two players last season, with the England defender found not guilty.

His team-mate at club and international level, Cole, was called upon as a character witness by Terry's defence team during the trial.

After opting not to conduct pre-match handshakes during the clubs' second meeting of the season last term, Di Matteo confirmed they would go ahead on Saturday.

"We'll go ahead with it, yes," he said when asked about the issue.

"We're going to respect the rules and the protocol that is in place from the Premier League and set a positive standard to the millions of people watching across the world."


Zamora happy to shake Terry´s hand

14 September 2012 10:14

Queens Park Rangers striker Bobby Zamora says he will shake John Terry's hand when his side meet Chelsea on Saturday.

The two teams clash at Loftus Road in the first meeting between the pair since Terry was cleared of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand last October, but Zamora is looking forward to facing his old friend.

"I've known John Terry for years and he's a very good friend of mine. We grew up together and of course I'll shake his hand if he's playing on Saturday," Zamora told The Sun.

"All this stuff happened a long time before I joined QPR. I came in as an outsider to it and I won't be paying attention to any of it.

"John is a very good player and it's going to be a real battle between us. I'm sure it's not going to be an enjoyable game with him coming through the back and smashing the life out of me.

"But that's what he's been like ever since we played together in Barking for Senrab when we were 13 along with Ledley King, Paul Konchesky and Jlloyd Samuel.

"My abiding image of JT then was a box-to-box midfielder with a curtains haircut, smashing in headers from corners.

"We've stayed in touch ever since and for me this game will simply be a case of getting out there, doing my job and getting points on the board for QPR."

The atmosphere at Loftus Road is expected to be in stark contrast to the recent Olympics but the former West Ham man says he is not interested in what people say about footballers.

He added: "I don't watch any sport. I didn't even know Andy Murray had won the tennis until someone told me the other day. Before the Olympics I said I wasn't going to watch a single thing.

"As it turned out I did see a few bits — the 100 metres and a couple of the other main events.

"As far as I'm concerned, the guys who competed at the Olympics... brilliant. But the Olympics are over now and all the focus is back on football. And whatever people are saying about us doesn't really bother me."


Premier League preview: Queens Park Rangers v Chelsea

13 September 2012 09:22

Leaders Chelsea will hope to put their horror show away at Queens Park Rangers last season to bed, in the corresponding fixture on Saturday.

The Blues have strung together three wins from three, conceding just twice in 270 minutes, to top the Premier League table, but they have unfinished business with London rivals QPR, after they had two men sent off at Loftus Road.

QPR won the match 1-0 for their first win over their Stamford Bridge opponents in 16 years, however the goal came from a soft penalty converted by Heidar Helguson.

It would be a brave tipster to predict the same will occur this time around, however, as Chelsea are at the top of their game while QPR have just one point to show for their opening three matches.

While the Blues were humbled by Atletico Madrid in the European Super Cup at their last start, their league form has been excellent in dealing with the challenges of Wigan away, Reading and Newcastle United.

Rangers' form has been on the up after their disastrous 5-0 home loss to Swansea on the opening day, with a come-from-behind draw away to Norwich and a somewhat respectable 3-1 loss to Manchester City, as they were level at Eastlands on the hour mark.

It is worth noting, too, that Chelsea have beaten QPR since their last league outing at Loftus Road, winning an FA Cup tie there 1-0 and also thrashing their local rivals 6-1 at Stamford Bridge in the league in April.

The resounding victory, of course, came under the tutelage of current boss Roberto Di Matteo, who has transformed the club from underperformers under former boss Andre Villas-Boas to European champions.

Chelsea have a fairly full squad to choose from too, with Ashley Cole likely to return to the line-up from an ankle injury.

Captain John Terry will miss with an ankle problem, and Marko Marin will be unavailable due to a hamstring complaint.

QPR also have a fighting fit squad, with Anton Ferdinand the only absentee with a shoulder injury.

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25