It's The League That Mata's The Most...
QPR 0-1 Chelsea
With QPR in rare territory, an FA Cup 4th Round Cup game, a controversial second half penalty saw Chelsea through to the next round, in what was a scrappy game at Loftus Road this lunchtime.
I could write this entire report on the build up to this game, but the media have done more than enough with the Ferdinand/Terry stuff, for me to just ramble on more about it. My own opinion on the matter is - you know what you said!! But a lot was said of the 'will he/won't' he shake his hand matter. Again, personally, I was in full support of Anton not shaking his hand. However, with the media again having a field day with this issue, Club Officials and the Football Association decided there would be no pre-match handshake, in an attempt to defuse further tensions. So, in the old fashioned way, the teams simply just ran out onto the pitch.
The gang all assembled as usual, unfortunately missing Lee and Jess who were very sadly, priced out by this one. Lee's seat was taken by the lovely Lorna, so many corners were shouted and appealed for this afternoon! The Club's decision to hike up the prices for a game not long after Christmas and before many peoples pay days was shocking and I can only hope that they took notice of the empty seats around the Stadium for a game that should have been sold out within hours of going on sale.
After all this, there was indeed a game of football to be had and both sides played out, what has to be said was a poor first half, with Terry getting booed whenever the ball went anywhere close to him. Mata had the only clear chance, forcing Paddy Kenny into a low save from the edge of the box after taking advantage of Luke Young's slip. There were half chances for Rangers but the final ball was always lacking. But defensively, Rangers were excellent and have looked so much more organised in recent weeks.
Onto the second half and Chelsea were looking much brighter. Rangers had replaced Helguson with Macheda. On the hour, Rangers had their best chance when Mackie was inches away from connecting with Wright-Phillips low, powerful cross. From there, Chelsea broke away and a cross from Mata was far too deep for Sturridge, who decided to fling himself to the floor as he received the slightest touch from Hill. Referee Mike Dean had a long look and then unbelievably pointed at the spot. At the time it seemed dubious and I am sure AVB will say it was nailed on. By text, Lee actually described the incident as - Sturridge went down quicker than Kerry Katona on a night out and on arrival home, this video clip says all we need to know...
But a penalty it was and Mata sent Kenny the wrong way to put Chelsea 1-0 up. In truth the game really just fizzled out from there on in, but Rangers had a chance in injury time to set up a replay at Stamford Bridge - Luke Young's fierce low drive was well saved by Cech, the ball found it's way to Wright-Phillips on the edge of the box who shot harmlessly over.
QPR: Kenny, Hill, Hall, Mackie, Buzsaky (Hulse 79), Barton, Young, Smith, Helguson (Macheda 46), Wright-Phillips, Ferdinand. Subs: Cerny, Orr, Derry, Ephraim, Onuoha.
Man of the Match - just three contenders for this one with Anton Ferdinand getting the nod from Sam and Corp. Jess gave her customary Luke Young vote, but with five votes from Jenson, PK, Luke, myself and Lee, today's winner was R's skipper, Joey Barton. Lee has asked for a Special mention to go to R's substitute, Rob Hulse who did extremely well when he came on for Buzsaky.
So, a bit later than normal, we are out if the FA Cup, but I think most R's fans will agree that Premier League survival is the priority and we did make a very good account of ourselves once more. It's just a shame that a poor decision has ultimately settled the tie. With that comment, Chelsea fans will no doubt point back to the league game. In fact, Chelsea Manager Andre Villas-Boas is STILL going on about it now. In a Radio 5 interview, he was asked if he was pleased to be through to the next round? His reply - I was pleased to finish here with 11 men. When asked if he thought it was a penalty? His reply - at least we didn't have nine men. When asked again if he thought it was a penalty? His reply - I don't wish to comment on that. In true twitter style, I will finish this paragraph with a hashtag #helmet!
LH are off to Villa on Wednesday where hopefully we will see one, two and hopefully a few more debutants? See you then....
Come on You R'ssssssssssss!!!