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Premier League

  • April 9, 2012
  • • 20:00
  • • Craven Cottage, London
  • Referee: M. Clattenburg
  • • Attendance: 25697
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Fulham - Chelsea Preview: Di Matteo chasing his ninth win in 11 matches since taking over to boost Blues’ hopes of top-four spot

The visitors have been in excellent form since their former player was appointed as interim manager but will know they face a tough task beating an in-form Cottagers side


PROBABLE LINEUPS

FULHAM

Schwarzer
Kelly, Hughes, Hangeland, J.A Riise
Ruiz, Dembele, Diarra, Duff
Pogrebnyak, Dempsey
CHELSEA

Cech
Ivanovic, Luiz, Cahill, Cole
Essien, Lampard, Meireles
Kalou, Torres, Mata

The hosts are unlikely to make many changes from the side that emphatically won 3-0 at Bolton. Pavel Pogrebnyak should be fit to come back, with former Liverpool youngster Alex Kacaniklic the most likely to drop out of the side.

Danny Murphy may come back into the squad after missing the Cottagers' trip to Bolton. Long-term injury victims Zdenek Grygera (knee) and Steve Sidwell (groin) again miss out.

Roberto Di Matteo could make a number of changes from the side that narrowly beat relegation strugglers Wigan 2-1. John Terry may again miss out with a rib injury, but veterans Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard are likely to overcome knocks and be back into the side in place of Ryan Bertrand and Florent Malouda, respectively.

Elsewhere, Salomon Kalou may take Daniel Sturridge’s place as one of the Blues’ attacking front trio. Fernando Torres is likely to get a chance to impress over Didier Drogba after coming off the bench against Wigan.


DID YOU KNOW?
  • Fulham’s last win in the Premier League over Chelsea was back in the 2005-06 season when they won 1-0.
  • The Cottagers have scored five or more goals at home on three occasions so far this season - a 6-2 win over QPR, a 5-2 win over Newcastle United and a 5-0 win over Wolves.
  • The previous league encounter earlier in the season at Stamford Bridge ended in a 1-1 draw. Juan Mata (pictured right) opened the scoring just after half-time before a Clint Dempsey finish tied up the match.
  • Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard has scored 10 or more Premier League goals in each of the last nine campaigns. He currently has 10 league goals so far this season.
  • Roberto Di Matteo has won eight of his ten games in all competitions since being appointed as the Blues’ interim manager.
  • Chelsea are one of seven clubs who have been in the Premier League since its inception - the other six are Arsenal, Aston Villa, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham.

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Players to watch

P. Pogrebnyak

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

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The tall Russian has been one of the best January transfer buys. Brought in to replace Bobby Zamora following his switch to London rivals QPR, the striker has made the most of the chances which have come his way with five goals from seven matches.

Fulham’s Premier League rivals are thought to be interested in signing him in the summer but Martin Jol will be desperate to keep him. His power and strength could cause all sorts of problems for the Chelsea backline and with the right service he could well get himself on the score sheet again.

David Luiz

Position: Defender

Games: 0

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The Brazilian defender has shown signs of improvement of late following a sluggish start to his Chelsea career. Brought for big money from Benfica, his solid performances against his former side in the Champions League could be the making of him.

He still needs to cut out the rash tackles that lead to needless yellow cards and improve his positioning. He will need to be at the top of his game against Pogrebnyak’s power and Dempsey’s pace if the Blues are to grab a crucial win.

Editor's Prediction

Fulham have put in a number of impressive displays at home this season playing an attractive and fast brand of football under Martin Jol. They will be hoping to add another win against a London rival after beating Arsenal at home earlier in the season.

Chelsea need a win as they look to finish in a Champions League spot, but could get distracted by massive upcoming games against Spurs in the FA Cup semi-final and Barcelona in the semi-finals of the Champions League. The Cottagers can capitalise on this and grab a win in an entertaining encounter.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Fulham

Chelsea

Wins
0
2
3
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Fulham FC FUL
Fulham FC Fulham
Draw
Chelsea FC CHE
Chelsea FC Chelsea
84%

Top 3 Predictions

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

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