Chelsea and QPR count the cost of fiery west London derby
Sunday 16 September 2012
Chelsea and QPR today moved from counting handshakes to counting the cost of a predictably fiery west London derby.
Anton Ferdinand's pre-match snub of John Terry and Ashley Cole set the tone for yesterday's goalless Barclays Premier League draw at Loftus Road, which saw rival players snap into each other from the first whistle.
Ironically, Terry and Ferdinand were among the walking wounded at the final whistle, with both having required treatment in the closing stages.
Chelsea captain Terry typically elected to play on after pulling up with a knee injury, something manager Roberto Di Matteo was keen to play down ahead of his side's Champions League opener against Juventus on Wednesday.
"It doesn't look like we have any major problems," Di Matteo said.
"It was a tough battle for everybody, there were plenty of knocks.
"We'll assess it tomorrow morning and then shift our attention to Wednesday."
Ferdinand hobbled off in the dying seconds with what looked like a hamstring injury but QPR boss Mark Hughes was more concerned about problems picked up by Andrew Johnson and Fabio.
Both had to be substituted in the first half with respective knee and hamstring complaints and face scans to determine the extent of the damage.
Terry - who shook off an ankle problem to start yesterday - was not Chelsea's only injury concern, with John Obi Mikel having also taken a knock in the back.
The Blues can ill-afford either to be missing as they open the defence of their European crown this week.
They can also ill-afford Fernando Torres to go AWOL in the manner he did yesterday, the striker producing a performance as bad as any since his £50million move from Liverpool before storming down the tunnel upon being substituted.
Di Matteo refused to criticise the petulance of Torres, who got almost no change out of Ferdinand and Ryan Nelsen all afternoon.
Hughes, meanwhile, hailed the performance of both his centre-halves, Ferdinand for coping with the added pressure of his reunion with Terry and Cole, and Nelson for shrugging off a gruelling trip back from New Zealand just 48 hours earlier following the international break.
"I thought Anton was excellent alongside Ryan Nelsen given he (Nelsen) had flown halfway around the world and had only one training session before the game," Hughes said.
The Rangers boss also defended his predictable - but nevertheless controversial - decision to start Julio Cesar ahead of Rob Green.
England goalkeeper Green found himself axed after just three games for his new club and Hughes said: "I spoke to him this week and told him my intention.
"It's difficult for Rob because we have put him in a situation that he didn't feel he would be put under and we are all very aware of that.
"It wasn't something that was pre-meditated, it wasn't a case of getting Rob in knowing we were going to bring Julio into the club. But it progressed and we had the opportunity to bring in one of the top keepers in the world.
"I think everybody saw in the manner of his performance today, it was the right decision to bring him into the team."
The game proved to be one for goalkeepers and defenders as QPR remained winless - and in the relegation zone - while Chelsea dropped their first points of the season but held on to top spot.
Neither side deserved to emerge victorious, although either might have done had Eden Hazard, Bobby Zamora or Park Ji-Sung - who also snubbed a handshake with Terry - produced better finishing.
Chelsea also saw two decent penalty shouts rejected but they will be satisfied at least by the clean sheet given the way they were torn apart by Atletico Madrid in the Uefa Super Cup last time out.
Terry was this summer cleared in court of racially abusing Ferdinand during last October's QPR-Chelsea game and he denies the similar FA charge against him.
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