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Premier League

  • November 10, 2010
  • • 19:45
  • • Stamford Bridge, London
  • Referee: M. Atkinson
  • • Attendance: 41593

Premier League Preview: Chelsea - Fulham

Premier League Preview: Chelsea - Fulham

Home Comfort For Ancelotti
Chelsea have been fantastic at Stamford Bridge this season, and remain the only team to maintain a 100 per cent record on their own turf. They have also scored more number of goals (16) than any other team in their home games, and are also the only side not to have conceded a single goal in their own backyard.

Away day blues may have prevented Carlo Ancelotti’s charges from running away with a healthy lead at the top of the table, but their home unblemished home form means that the visitors have their task cut out.

The table toppers will also want to get back to winning ways as soon as possible, owing to the recent 2-0 loss to Liverpool. It was a game that saw their opponents showcase some strong form, while the Blues themselves wilted under a forceful first-half performance from their opponents.

With a tough set of fixtures in the form of a trip to Birmingham City and then Newcastle United coming up, with Everton, Tottenham, Manchester United and Arsenal waiting in line to take on the champions, their ability to take away three points from games like this will likely determine whether or not they can successfully defend the Premier League title.

Tough Derby Day In Prospect
Fulham have a history of being poor on the road, but have gone some way to shake off their performances away from home this season. But it’s been a mixed bag of results overall, as the team appears to be compensating for being beaten only once on their travels.

Over the weekend, Mark Hughes’ men put in a performance that was average at best, with lingering doubts as to whether they deserved a draw with Aston Villa. Brede Hangeland rescued the team on that occasion with a goal scored during the death.

The draw marked one more in a list of eight games in all competitions, of which the Cottagers have won only one. So the short trip to Stamford Bridge does not come at a good time for the club, as they are still trying to find their footing.

The absence of striker Bobby Zamora has also been a telling one, as his replacement Moussa Dembele - despite being a decent replacement - has not been able to provide his side with the necessary amount of goals. His tally stands at a meagre two goals so far, while two assists prove to make his record somewhat acceptable.

But all said and done, the team as a whole will have to take their game to another level to get a result at Stamford Bridge.
Frank Lampard (groin) is expected to remain sidelined for this game as well, but manager Carlo Ancelotti is hopeful that fellow midfielder Michael Essien could return from a toe injury to play some part in the west London derby.

The Italian boss will be expected to start with Didier Drogba, having left the Ivorian on the bench during the recent loss to Liverpool. This would put Nicolas Anelka on the right, with Florent Malouda and Salomon Kalou competing for the wide role on the other side.

Jose Bosingwa could make a start after having played 20 minutes at Anfield.

Possible starting XI: Cech; Bosingwa, Alex, Terry, Cole; Essien, Mikel, Zhirkov; Anelka, Drogba, Malouda.


Carlos Salcido (ankle) will play no part in this encounter, having been injured in a tackle with Aston Villa’s Luke Young during the weekend game at Craven Cottage. Stephen Kelly would be expected to replace the experienced Mexican.

Dickson Etuhu and Damien Duff are expected to make the cut into the starting line-up for this encounter, with the Republic of Ireland international having occupied a spot on the bench over the weekend while his Nigerian team-mate is believed to have shaken off an ankle injury.

Andy Johnson is likely to remain on the bench, with manager Mark Hughes going with Moussa Dembele and Clint Dempsey in the attacking third of the pitch.

Possible starting XI: Schwarzer; Baird, Hughes, Hangeland, Kelly; Davies, Etuhu, Murphy, Duff; Dembele, Dempsey.

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Last Five Matches
Team News
Available Squads
1Petr CechGoalkeeper
3José BosingwaDefender
2Branislav IvanovicDefender
26John TerryDefender
3Ashley ColeDefender
-Michael EssienMidfielder
12John Obi MikelMidfielder
18Yuri ZhirkovMidfielder
15Florent MaloudaMidfielder
21Salomon KalouStriker
11Didier DrogbaStriker
21Ross TurnbullGoalkeeper
20Paulo FerreiraDefender
5Jeffrey BrumaDefender
44Gäel KakutaMidfielder
51Josh McEachranMidfielder
15Daniel SturridgeStriker
23Mark SchwarzerGoalkeeper
2Stephen KellyDefender
-Brede HangelandDefender
18Aaron HughesDefender
17Matthew BriggsDefender
29Simon DaviesMidfielder
13Danny MurphyMidfielder
20Dickson EtuhuMidfielder
16Damien DuffMidfielder
30Mousa DembeleStriker
2Clint DempseyStriker
-David StockdaleGoalkeeper
11Zoltán GeraMidfielder
4John PaintsilDefender
7Eddie JohnsonStriker
8Kagisho DikgacoiMidfielder
27Jonathan GreeningMidfielder
8Andy JohnsonStriker
Players to Watch
Didier Drogba
Didier Drogba
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 11
Games Goals YC RC
4 0 0 0
Didier Drogba was left on the bench for the recent game against Liverpool, but is expected to make the cut into the starting line-up on Wednesday. He will undoubtedly want to prove his mettle to the boss yet again, particularly after the weekend opponents steamrolled past his side over the weekend.

And the Ivorian’s thirst for success is unlikely to have been quenched just yet, and will look to solidify his side’s lead at the top of the table.
Brede Hangeland
Brede Hangeland
Position: Defender
Squad Number: 5
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Brede Hangeland’s confidence will be high after scoring a late goal that ensured a draw for his team over the weekend. And with the three-pronged nature of Chelsea’s attack, the Norwegian will have to be on his toes if Mark Hughes’ men are to take something away from this game.

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