John Obi Mikel totally ignores Adel Taarabt's attempted high five.
Chelsea's reward for beating Portsmouth 4-0 at Stamford Bridge in the third round of the FA Cup is another trip to Loftus Road. Last time we went that way was one of the most damaging results of the year - a 1-0 loss, two red cards and then a racist abuse scandal involving John Terry and Anton Ferdinand. Obviously, it wasn't the best day in our history.
The loss earlier this season has very little to do with what's going to happen on Saturday. David Luiz isn't going to give away another penalty*. Jose Bosingwa won't get sent off*. Didier Drogba also won't get sent off**. Chelsea are a much better team than QPR, and they should win this game, as long as Andre Villas-Boas puts out a strong lineup. Shoulds, however, don't result in won games - the one thing tomorrow will have in common with October's match.
And, of course, there's a certain elephant in the room. John Terry vs. Anton Ferdinand. I've said my piece - I'm pretty disgusted with the way some Chelsea fans have handled the allegations made against our captain, and I'm really hoping that the team decides to sit him out for this one. This is the perfect opportunity to blood the Gary Cahill-David Luiz tandem, but it sounds like the team is going to be stubborn and play the captain anyway, which means we'll probably see John Terry alongside Gary Cahill. Yay! Ish.
Also, the fact that this is going to be one of the most contentious matches we've played in our recent history means that we've had the fixture rearranged for lunchtime, and that means I have to get up at 3:30 in the morning to watch it from the USA. I'm not the happiest of bunnies about this.
Now that my favourite basketeer is out on loan, I'm not going to be nearly as militant about getting the kids playing time, but I sure would like to see Ryan Bertrand and Romelu Lukaku get the start. Fernando Torres might need a confidence booster, but I'd rather see Lukaku get a chance to impress over everyone's favoure/most-hated [delete as appropriate] striker standing around and looking sad. Here's my favoured lineup, although I doubt it'd be the one Andre Villas-Boas goes with.
You'll notice I haven't said much about QPR, and that's mostly because I have no idea how seriously Mark Hughes will take this match. If I were him I'd have better things to be doing than worrying about a fourth round FA Cup tie against a Premier League and European powerhouse... but pride does odd things to people.
The match begins at 12:00 PM GMT (7:00 AM EST). Join us here for the match thread and me desperately attempting to caffeinate myself.