As I sat down to watch a high-octane West London derby, I was expecting an exciting, end-to-end game, but yet again, the spotlight was taken for different reasons.
Despite captain John Terry being cleared of charges relating to a ‘racially aggrevated assault’ on Anton Ferdinand, the QPR centre-half decided yet again to try and grab the headlines, by refusing the handshake to both him and Ashley Cole in front of the TV cameras.
Making a mockery of the Premier League’s sportsmanship campaign, the game was always going to take a backseat to this pre-match routine, with the media hyping it up ten-fold, and with Terry being booed by the Loftus Road faithful pre-match, like some sort of pantomime villain.
However, although the pre-match will they, won’t they, could’ve been laughed off, the impact on the match certainly could not. Only Andre Marriner knows whether all of the pre-match kerfuffle resulted in him turning away a blatant penalty on John Terry in the first period, or even the one on Eden Hazard later on.
Despite this, the score may well have been fair, both Hazard and Zamora squandered chances for either side, when it looked easier to score.
Nonetheless, it would have been a bitter pill to swallow for Di Matteo, whose side lost their 100% record, when had either penalty been given, it may well have been a different story for the European Champions.
Top of the league is still Chelsea’s though, and now face Juventus on Wednesday, as they face the first hurdle in retaining their European crown, whilst they then face Stoke and Arsenal in the league, sandwiching a League Cup fixture against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Like England’s draw with Ukraine in the week, this draw is no reason to worry, as Chelsea have in fact won just twice in eighteen games at Loftus Road, but no doubt Di Matteo will be demanding a quick-turn around to keep clear of the chasing back.
By Brad Smith