With John Terry and Anton Ferdinand likely to start, the magnifiying glass is on the pre-match handshake.
John Terry and Anton Ferdinand are set to go head-to-head as QPR and Chelsea face each other at Loftus Road in the Premier League tomorrow.
Terry is facing an FA charge, set to be heard on September 24, for abusive and insulting behaviour towards Ferdinand in last season’s corresponding fixture.
With both players likely to start, the magnifying glass has been put on the pre-match handshake with Ferdinand allegedly planning to refuse a handshake with Terry and his teammate Ashley Cole. The latter stood as a witness in the court case when Terry was cleared of racially abusing Ferdinand.
Both teams have been in contact with the Metropolitan Police and have told fans to behave in a responsible way. The FA are adamant that the handshake should go ahead but you have to question their judgment in what is likely to be a highly charged, volatile environment.
When QPR face Chelsea it is always a tense affair with the Loftus Road atmosphere proving tough for any visitors to combat. Last season’s remarkable match saw Chelsea stunned, losing 1-0 and having Jose Bosingwa and Didier Drogba sent off.
However, this season the European champions have started in scintillating form. They sit top of the table with three wins out of three. They have swept aside Wigan and Newcastle as well as defeating Reading in a close contest.
Fernando Torres has netted three times, while new signing Eden Hazard has been the signing of the season thus far. The Belgian has been involved in almost every Chelsea goal and alongside Juan Mata, Chelsea have a new-found flair.
In stark contrast, QPR have managed to gain just one point from their opening matches. The passionate fans at Loftus Road booed their team off the pitch at the end of their first match after Swansea destroyed them 5-0 in a result few would have predicted.
Since then, they have drawn with Norwich and fought valiantly against champions Manchester City before eventually succumbing 3-1.
Manager Mark Hughes has urged the supporters to be patient as he has added a staggering 12 players to his squad over the summer. In truth, it will take QPR until Christmas to gage their progress and assess the performances of their new-look squad.
While QPR have signed a vast array of talent, Chelsea have made six signings of their own. The aforementioned Eden Hazard has been the most notable, while Oscar and Victor Moses have huge potential over the coming seasons.
QPR will have to be at their best if they are to get anything from the match against their in form rivals. Park Ji-Sung will try to lead by example but all eleven men and the crowd need to get behind their team to have any real chance.
Chelsea are favourites, a tag they often enjoy playing under, and it wouldn’t be surprising if they ripped apart the fragile defence of their opponents with Hazard, Torres, and Mata running them ragged.
Hopefully the pre-match handshake saga will be brief and the real talking point is a feisty, fair, and thrilling London derby match.
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