Howard Webb is the man in the middle as Queens Park Rangers face Champions League finalists Chelsea.
The country’s premier official joined the National List of referees in 2000 before progressing to the Select List only a few years later – this leap ensured he hasn’t refereed Rangers since.
He has refereed several important fixtures during his career including the FA Cup final, Uefa Champions League final and most impressively the Fifa World Cup final.
Thus far this season he has taken charge of 44 games, dishing out 146 yellow cards and five reds – thus giving him an average of 3.43 cards per game.
He will be assisted by Darren Bond (Lancashire) and Scott Ledger (Yorkshire), with the fourth official Lee Mason – who presided over a controversial defeat at Manchester United recently.
Mr Webb’s first time overseeing QPR came at Bloomfield Road as Rangers travelled to Blackpool for the first time since 1990. The outcome was very much the same despite a brace either side of half time by Leroy Griffiths. John O’Kane and Graham Fenton levelled matters for Blackpool.
A slender win for QPR then ensued later that campaign under his watchful eye when Andy Thomson dispatched a penalty against Peterborough United to keep Rangers sniffing around the Division Two playoff places.
Webb was by now a familiar face to the QPR fans overseeing three QPR games in 2002/03 – firstly a convincing 2-0 win over Swindon Town with Kevin Gallen and Richard Langley notching for the hosts.
Following a horrendous Christmas period, things dramatically picked up and despite Dan Shittu’s goal being cancelled out by Mark Peters at Brentford, Marc Bircham then slammed home an iconic 90th minute goal to secure a priceless win.
Then came the moment of deep heartbreak – the Milennium Stadium, Cardiff. QPR looked weary after months of relentless pressure and this told with just over five minutes of extra time remaining – Andy Campbell putting Cardiff City into Division One.
Fast forward to this season’s Premier League campaign, and Rangers’ first visit to White Hart Lane since their relegation in 1996. Goals from Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart had given Spurs a two goal advantage for the dominant hosts.
Jay Bothroyd halved the arrears for Rangers with a well-taken close range header before another Bale stunner restored the two goal advantage for Spurs and ensured a well-deserved victory despite the R’s valiant effort.
The second time Webb took charge of QPR in the 2011-12 campaign was when champions Manchester United came to W12. Any hopes of keeping the Red Devils at bay were banished as Wayne Rooney nodded a first minute opener.
Rangers held their own for the majority of the encounter but were undone by an excellent counter-attacking goal. A rogue Joey Barton pass was capitalised on by Michael Carrick, and with options left and right he capitalised to power home from the edge of the area.
Another of England’s elite came to Loftus Road as Liverpool entered W12. Sebastian Coates and Dirk Kuyt put the visitors two goals to the good before Joey Barton was booed off by sections of the home crowd – then came a momentous come-back.
Shaun Derry’s header was soon added to by a typical poachers` effort from Djibril Cisse to level proceedings on the evening. Jamie Mackie sent the home faithful into delirium with a stunning injury time winner.
MR WEBB & QUEENS PARK RANGERS
Blackpool 2-2 QPR – 18/09/2001
Goals: John O’Kane 52, Graham Fenton 89; Leroy Griffiths 32, 46
Yellow: Richie Wellens; Terrell Forbes, Steve Palmer
QPR 1-0 Peterborough United – 23/03/2002
Goals: Andy Thomson 34pen
Yellow: Richard Langley
QPR 2-0 Swindon Town – 14/09/2002
Goals: Kevin Gallen 50, Richard Langley 56
Yellow: Terell Forbes; Alan Reeves
Brentford 1-2 QPR – 19/04/2003
Goals: Mark Peters 81; Dan Shittu 8, Marc Bircham 90
Yellow: Jay Tabb; Stephen Kelly, Dan Shittu, Marc Bircham
Cardiff City 1-0 QPR – 25/05/2003
Goals: Andy Campbell 114
Yellow: Graham Kavanagh, Andy Campbell; Steve Palmer, Marc Bircham, Paul Furlong
Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 QPR – 30/10/2011
Goals: Gareth Bale 20, 72, Rafael van der Vaart 33; Jay Bothroyd 62
QPR 0-2 Manchester United – 18/12/2011
Goals: Wayne Rooney 1, Michael Carrick 56
Yellow: Danny Gabbidon; Phil Jones, Rio Ferdinand
QPR 3-2 Liverpool – 21/03/2012
Goals: Shaun Derry 77, Djibril Cisse 86, Jamie Mackie 90; Sebastian Coates 54, Dirk Kuyt 72