Team: Cesar, Bosingwa, Nelsen, Ferdinand, Fabio (Onuoha), Wright-Phillips (Cisse), Park, Granero, Faurlin, Zamora, Johnson (Mackie)
Subs Not Used: Green, Taarabt, Dyer, Hoilett
On a day when HQ was simply buzzing, we almost got what we deserved…3 points. Before a ball was even kicked and to the delight of the fans, Anton Ferdinand did the right thing, by showing that the law can be an ass.
As for the game, we rode our luck early on…10 minutes in and we could of been two down, Julio Cesar was the difference, showing class when it mattered. From that point on, we got a grip on the game, playing with composure both at the back and in the centre of the park.
What a joy to see Ale Faurlin back where he belongs so early in the season, alongside Grenaro who looks a class act. These two, if we can keep them fit, could be awesome. They controlled the show throughout. Was fat Frank out there ?
We kept our shape, kept the ball, never got bullied and played it OUR way. The work rate was second to none. Nelsen too, alongside Ferdinand, could grow into a formidable partnership. I still think there is a place for Adel Taarabt. Also, we too had our chances, Park in particular, but it wasn’t to be. We seemed to run out of ideas in the last third, when breaking forward our movement was poor and simply was not quick enough.
Two crucial saves early on from Julio Cesar and Ryan Nelsen did really well which also benefited Anton Ferdinand. There was plenty of slick passing in midfield and I thought that Andy Johnson worked very hard. Yes, was Lampard out there and wasn’t that a two-footed tackle from behind by Bertrand on Wright-Phillips ?
It was a cracking atmosphere – R’s fans were in top form and let’s hope that this contrived, farcical handshake nonsense is scrapped and that once again it’s left to the players themselves to decide.
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 the 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 leagues’ 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 Julio Cesar 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 the 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.
Gerry Cox – The Telegraph
I thought that we showed them too much respect first-half and could’ve been 2 or 3 behind at the break. They also had two penalty claims that thankfully were not given. Mark Hughes must’ve had words at half-time as our three midfielders, Park, Granero and Faurlin were superb and ran the show. But we had to dig deep for the last 15 as they upped their game and how Hazard missed that sitter at the end I’ll never know, or care !!! Our second-half performance augurs well for the coming months. I just wish we could score at home !
An excellent display in midfield, great tackling and some slick passing – the three boys looked so sharp. Cesar is one cool dude – he looked totally at ease, very impressive. Ferdinand and Nelsen looked solid, and even Onuoha had a good game which really surprised me, apart from one slip, which we could’ve paid dearly for.
Before Johnson went off, him and Zamora really showed their understanding of each other’s play, more’s the pity about his injury. Wright-Phillips looked sharp, but there always seems to be something missing from his game. Jamie Mackie never got into it, and surely there must be a place for Adel, even out wide. I know his play can be risky sometimes, but he can change the game.
We could’ve won it, but we also could of lost it. The work rate was absolutely first rate, and that, along with the skill augurs well for the future.
(The above pics were taken by Martin Percival. All rights are reserved and his photos are used by the Independent R’s with his permission)