The big rematch

Seconds out, round two.

Pull up your ringside seat and get ready for the latest instalment of your friendly neighbourhood west London derby.

As you may have heard by now, QPR go toe to toe with Chelsea at Loftus Road for the second time in three months as the pair clash in Saturday’s fourth-round FA Cup tie.

In the first game we had two red cards, a plethora of yellows and a shock win for Rangers – even if they were outplayed by nine men for the majority of it.

Oh, and John Terry was alleged to have racially abused Anton Ferdinand.

Apart from that, it was pretty dull.

Last time around Rangers had the element of surprise, with Chelsea seemingly unaware this was a London derby.

“Hopefully amidst all the bad feeling a football match will break out and if it does, expect Fernando Torres to miraculously rediscover his shooting boots.”

They began to get the picture when they stepped off the team coach into a bear pit, while their Spanish playmaker quickly realised the art of taking a corner while a baying mob are breathing down your neck is not simply a case of mind over Mata.

Once they threw caution to the wind, the Blues looked a formidable outfit but QPR somehow held on for what was arguably Neil Warnock’s greatest win at the club.

This time, the game will have the added spice (like it needs any) of former Chelsea darling Mark Hughes at the helm looking to put one over his old paymasters.

Sparky has been busy this week, signing Taye Taiwo on loan from AC Milan and Manchester City’s Nedum Onuoha.

I already tried cracking the lame gag that if QPR win on Saturday, Hughes will order his players to do a lap of Onuoha, but after the pasting I received on Twitter, rest assured I won’t be repeating it on here.

Chelsea, meanwhile, have gone off to Mallorca for some warm weather training ahead of Saturday’s game, although if they wanted to properly acclimatise they’d have been better off soaking in the white hot atmosphere of Mount Vesuvius.

The two clubs took the unusual step of issuing a joint statement warning fans about their conduct at the match, while there were rumours that Ferdinand had been asked to shake Terry’s hand – although if I were him I’d adopt the Elvis Costello stance and let it dangle.

The bookies meanwhile, never ones to miss a trick, were giving odds of 20/1 that the pair swapped shirts afterwards. I think more accurate odds would be slim to none and slim’s left town.

Just in case fans hadn’t got the message, QPR issued a reminder on their website the day after the statement, which read: “Queens Park Rangers Football Club is committed to confronting and eliminating discrimination, whether by reason of race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, age, ethnic and national origin, disability, nationality, religion or belief or gender reassignment.”

All very admirable, but where exactly does marital status fit in to the insults category?

Bound to score.

Can’t say I’ve ever heard anyone shout: “Oi, you @!*@$!* divorcee, do you want some?”

Hopefully amidst all the bad feeling a football match will break out and if it does, expect Fernando Torres to miraculously rediscover his shooting boots.

The Spaniard has netted five goals in 42 appearances for the Blues so far – or £10m a pop if you prefer – and has long since broken David Blaine’s 40-day world record for doing nothing inside a box.

But QPR are usually very accommodating when it comes to helping players rediscover their form – or hosting Loftus Road parties for champions elect on the final day of the season, so Torres will never have a better chance of filling his boots.

The striker mis-fired again in last weekend’s 0-0 draw with Norwich, with manager Andre Villas-Boas insisting he was simply “unlucky”.

Sorry, AVB, I don’t buy that. If you want proper misfortune, I’ll refer you to the words of Tommy Cooper: “I’ve always been unlucky – I once had a rocking horse and it died.”

Rangers meanwhile enjoyed back-to-back wins for the first time this season as the rather fortunate defeat of MK Dons was followed by a more comprehensive victory over Wigan.

Tommy Smith and Akos Buzsaky held their own goal of the day competition, while Joey Barton was playing his first game since his Twitter rant at Warnock.

Booed by some Warnock loyalists and serenaded with “Joey Barton, he Tweets what he wants” by others, the midfielder had a decent enough game, given that he’d missed the last three through suspension.

Personally I think he should put down Nietzche and George Orwell for a while and drink in the words of that other well-known philosopher Ronan Keating, who sagely opined “You say it best when you say nothing at all”.

This week Barton joined representatives from every Premier League club in naming their favourite books as part of a worthy initiative aimed at encouraging children to read.

He opted for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but the choice that caught my eye was made by Newcastle’s Mike Wiliamson – Bob Wilson’s Ultimate Collection Of Peculiar Sporting Lingo.

Words fail me.

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