Home » EPL, Latest » Match Preview: Chelsea vs Fulham

Chelsea and Fulham will battle travel chaos in the capital and each other when they contest a West London derby on Boxing Day.

Tube strikes will wreak havoc on the plans of those travelling to Stamford Bridge, but a decision has been taken to go ahead with the game as planned.

Chelsea will enter the match looking to put down an early marker to their fellow title challengers, with the Blues set to get the post-Christmas action underway.

A 1-1 draw with Tottenham on Thursday has left them 11 points adrift of table-topping Manchester City, but Andre Villas-Boas insists his side remain in the hunt for the Premier League crown.

Victory over local rivals Fulham would offer them a timely boost, and their record against their near neighbours makes for impressive reading.

The Blues have suffered just one Premier League defeat to the Cottagers, back in 2006, and are unbeaten on home soil.

The last two meetings between the two sides have finished goalless, though, with neither team willing to give an inch on derby day.

Fulham will want to head back down the King’s Road with at least a share of the spoils on this occasion, with Martin Jol’s men eager to make amends for their last showing.

Manchester United swept the Cottagers aside 5-0 in midweek, with a disjointed first half display seeing Jol’s side leave gaping holes at the back.

Those leaks must have been plugged by the time they go to Stamford Bridge if they are to avoid suffering a similar fate on Monday.

Victory for Fulham would see them put clear daylight between themselves and the drop zone, while lifting them back towards the top half of the table.

They have, however, won just four of their last 45 top-flight fixtures away from Craven Cottage and none of their last 35 London derbies on the road.

Team News

Chelsea saw Branislav Ivanovic and John Obi Mikel pick up knocks at White Hart Lane in midweek.

Jose Bosingwa was forced to provide cover at the heart of the back four alongside club captain John Terry, who appears to be coping well with the added scrutiny being placed on him in the wake of his charge by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Ivanovic is nursing a hamstring problem, while Mikel was forced off with a slight knock against Spurs.

He could come back into contention against Fulham, while Villas-Boas is refusing to rule David Luiz out as he looks to shake off a knee problem.

Micheal Essien remains a long-term absentee, while fellow midfielder Ramires is suspended after picking up a fifth booking of the season.

Fulham have no fresh injury or suspension concerns to contend with.

The Cottagers are physically unscathed from their home defeat to Manchester United and have been boosted by Steve Sidwell’s return to training after a hernia operation.

The 29-year-old is unlikely to feature against his former club at Stamford Bridge, though, and will be joined on the sidelines by fellow midfielder Simon Davies (back), goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer (spine) and defender Zdenek Grygera (knee).

Possible starting XIs

Chelsea: Cech, Ferreira, Bosingwa, Terry, Cole, Meireles, Romeu, Lampard, Sturridge, Drogba, Mata.

Fulham: Stockdale, Baird, Hangeland, Senderos, Riise, Ruiz, Murphy, Etuhu, Dempsey, Dembele, Johnson.

Tags: ,

Related Posts

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.