The Loftus Road lions who suddenly turn into lambs

As John Terry resumed the role of pantomime villain, his heroic team-mates had a right old knees-up.

With the ‘Enfant Terryble’ headlines ready to roll off the presses, the 10 men of Chelsea stood strong to pull off a remarkable result – 2-2, even Torres scored.

I’m not exactly Chelsea’s number one fan but few could deny them their place in the Champions League final after an astonishing backs-to-the-wall performance at the Nou Camp.

“Next up for Terry is the visit of those friendly neighbourhood rivals QPR to Stamford Bridge.”

In all honesty, I’m not over-keen on Barcelona either. Yes, when they’re good, they’re very, very good, but when things aren’t going exactly how they want them to, the toys come flying out of the pram at the injustice of it all.

At one stage I was half-expecting Lionel Messi to scream “It’s not fair!” before tucking the ball under his arm and announce that he was going home.

So much for the El Clasico final – and once Real Madrid’s hopes came down to a penalty shoot-out against the Germans, Jose Mourinho had about as much chance of meeting up with his old Stamford Bridge muckers as Terry has of playing at the Allianz Arena.

Although if you believe what you read, he could still be allowed to lift the trophy if Chelsea win next month – which is akin to sending a team of mountaineers to climb Everest before getting a helicopter to drop you off at the summit to plant the flag.

The skipper was less Captain Fantastic and more Captain Caveman as he inexplicably slammed his knee into Alexis Sanchez’s back.

When he was first interviewed, Terry tried to give the following explanation: “The player checked his run and piled into the back of me. He put his weight on the back foot, so that’s why my knee went up.”

As excuses go, that’s right up there with: “My dog ate the homework.”

He continued to protest his innocence, saying: “I would not deliberately striker another player – that would be madness.”

Actually, seven blokes strolling down the street locked together while singing One Step Beyond – that would be Madness.

Once he had seen the footage, an ashen-faced Terry fessed up to his crime and said: “It does look bad on the replay, but I’m not that type of player to intentionally hurt anyone.

“I raised my knee which maybe I shouldn’t have done in hindsight, but hopefully the people out there who know me, know I’m not that kind of player.”

Course we do, John.

Sky pundit Gary Neville summed up the whole sorry affair with this wonderful piece of insight: “When you go to knee somebody in the back for no reason, you’re asking for trouble.”

A few minutes later, following Ramires’ fantastic goal, Neville added: “I can’t tell you how good that finish is.” So he didn’t.

Next up for Terry is the visit of those friendly neighbourhood rivals QPR to Stamford Bridge, where of course there’s no chance the visiting fans will remind him that he won’t be playing in the Champions League final.

In fact, the song suggestions are coming thick and fast on the assorted QPR forums, but of the 264 offerings so far, only this one – to the tune of the Okey-Cokey – is suitable for a family website:

“Ohhhh, you won’t play in Munich
“Ohhhh, you won’t play in Munich
“Ohhhh, you won’t play in Munich
“Kneed him, sent off – ha ha ha!”

Naturally, Rangers won’t win on Sunday because the Lions of Loftus Road turn into lambs as soon as they set foot outside the Uxbridge Road.

While Chelsea will undoubtedly rest some of the stars who brought home the bacon on Tuesday, Rangers will be without their most influential player after Adel Taarabt was shown the club’s eighth red card of the season in the win over Spurs.

The Moroccan got the winner – this time with a sweetly-struck 30-yard free-kick – despite Harry Redknapp’s insistence that Brad Friedel “has not had a save to make in all honesty”.

The rare glimpse of sunlight in west London was put forward as an excuse for “unsighting” Friedel, although it was still not warm enough for Taarabt to remove his gloves. He’s like the polar opposite of those women in Sloane Square who insist on wearing sunglasses in January.

The fight for Premier League survival is tighter than the duck’s proverbial, with Bolton the latest to pick up the baton with a shock win at Villa Park to drag Alex McLeish’s side right into the dogfight.

All of which means there’s now five clubs’ remaining fixtures for fans to pore over as they take on the role of amateur soothsayers trying to predict who will avoid the dreaded drop.

After much soul-searching and brain-aching, I’ve decided to take on board the wise words of a Mr Ted Hendrix on the Loft For Words messagaboard: “You’re all gonna permutate yourselves to death if you’re not careful.”

Fulham unwittingly did QPR a favour by seeing off in-form Wigan last weekend as Pavel Pogrebnyak got on the scoresheet again. I knew it had been a while because after perfecting the spelling of his name a few weeks back I had to look it up again while writing this.

Apart from the odd 6-0 thrashing of their neighbours here and a dodgy decision at Old Trafford there, I haven’t written that much about Martin Jol’s side this season – mainly because on the whole they have been steady, with no danger of going down or finishing in the top four.

Although at this point in time I’d happily write a 10,000 word essay on Fulham’s exciting battle to avoid the drop, while demoting mid-table QPR to a paragraph at the bottom.

Brentford’s play-off charge has also spluttered to a halt in the last couple of weeks, with a pair of goalless draws followed by defeat at Stevenage, whose on-loan striker Patrick Agyemang declared: “If I can start scoring we’ll make the play-offs.” Good luck with that.

Which brings us nicely to a gag in a Rod Liddle column on the back of Sky Sports reporter Geoff Shreeves cheerily breaking the news to a startled Branislav Ivanovic that a booking against Barcelona had ruled him out of the Champions League final.

Liddle wrote: “As a result there are now lots of Geoff Shreeves jokes doing the rounds. My favourite is this: ‘So, Shaun Wright-Phillips – great goal today but tell me, what does it feel like to be adopted?”

A cracker I’m sure you’ll agree…Shaun Wright-Phillips scoring? Pull the other one.

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