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Premier League

  • December 26, 2011
  • • 13:00
  • • Stamford Bridge, London
  • Referee: K. Friend
  • • Attendance: 41548
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Premier League Preview: Chelsea v Fulham

The west London neighbours go head-to-head with Andre Villas-Boas' side looking to build on their midweek draw at White Hart Lane as they pursue third place Tottenham


PROBABLE LINEUPS

CHELSEA

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



FULHAM

Stockdale
Kelly, Hangeland, Senderos, J. A. Riise
Ruiz, Murphy, Etuhu, Dempsey
Dembele
Johnson

David Luiz faces a race to be fit for Chelsea. His return would be a timely boost, given the injury Branislav Ivanovic sustained in the Blues' draw with Tottenham on Thursday - Jose Bosingwa may be forced to fill in at centre-back if the Brazilian is not passed fit.

In midfield, Ramires is suspended so Frank Lampard and Raul Meireles are both likely to feature. Oriol Romeu is likely to come in for John Obi Mikel, who also picked up a knock during the Tottenham match. Michael Essien remains sidelined.

Fulham manager Martin Jol has been fairly consistent in his team selection in recent weeks and looks set to continue with striker Bobby Zamora out of the starting line-up. Chris Baird could be replaced by Stephen Kelly at right-back after being substituted against Manchester United.


DID YOU KNOW?
  • Chelsea have faced Fulham 74 times in all competitions since the two sides first met in 1910. The Blues have dominated the match-up, their 42 wins dwarfing the Cottagers’ total of nine victories.
  • Andre Villas-Boas’ side held on with 10 men to draw 0-0 before winning on penalties in the League Cup in September when the two teams last met.
  • The highest scoring encounter between the two teams came in the 1983/84 season in what was then the Football League Division Two (now the Championship). On that occasion, Chelsea secured a 5-3 victory at Craven Cottage.
  • John Terry (pictured right) and John Obi Mikel give the ball away less than any other Chelsea player, with both maintaining a 91.6 per cent pass success rate. 
  • Chelsea have collected the most yellow cards in the Premier League so far this season, with the current total at 41.
  • Despite their 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Manchester United on Wednesday, Fulham have been in reasonable form in recent weeks. They have won two, drawn two and lost two in their last six, a pace that over a full season would likely put them in the top half.
  • That run has included not only Manchester United but also matches against top four contenders Liverpool and Arsenal.
  • Fulham have won four out of the five Premier League games in which Clint Dempsey has scored this season.
  • Steve Sidwell and Damien Duff are former Chelsea players in the Fulham squad but the former is injured and the latter is unlikely to start on Boxing Day having fallen out of favour in recent weeks.
  • Chelsea fans will have fond memories of Fulham defender John Arne Riise – the left-back headed in an own goal in injury time of the 2007-08 Champions League semi-final first leg while playing for Liverpool, tipping the tie in the Blues’ favour.
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Players to watch

Mata

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

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Neither Chris Baird nor Stephen Kelly have nailed down the right-back spot for Fulham and whoever gets the nod here will have to be on top form. The Spanish playmaker has been one of the stars of the season so far and has become an integral part of the Chelsea attack remarkably quickly.

D. Stockdale

Position: Goalkeeper

Games: 0

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The goalkeeper impressed while on loan at Ipswich Town and will now get a chance to shine in the Premier League with Mark Schwarzer injured. He will likely be kept busy by the Chelsea midfield and attack and will want to make the most of his opportunity as Fulham’s number one to reinforce his credentials as a potential England keeper of the future.

Editor's Prediction

Fulham have been tight defensively away from home, conceding only nine goals in eight matches – less than the likes of Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal – but they have only scored four and won once.

Chelsea have not been troubled by a mid-table club at home yet this season, and they shouldn’t be here, although the visitors will be determined to improve on the five they shipped to Manchester United.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Chelsea

Fulham

Wins
3
2
0
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Chelsea FC CHE
Chelsea FC Chelsea
Draw
Fulham FC FUL
Fulham FC Fulham
89%

Top 3 Predictions

Chelsea FC CHE
3 - 0
Fulham FC FUL
Chelsea FC CHE
3 - 1
Fulham FC FUL
Chelsea FC CHE
2 - 0
Fulham FC FUL

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