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Fulham away to Chelsea ~ Match Preview

last updated Friday 23rd December 2011, 8:36 PM


Fulham manager Martin Jol
Fulham manager
Martin Jol
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Martin Jol
Stories
Chelsea must use this game to rubber stamp their credentials for a top-four place and it could be a chance for Fernando Torres to regain his form. Fulham go into this derby on the back of their heaviest home defeat since 1968.

They haven't won at Stamford Bridge in the top flight since 1964. They've beaten Chelsea just once in 30 meetings. No side has scored fewer Premier League away goals than the Cottagers and they've won just four of their last 44 away league matches! Grim statistics.

Andre Villas-Boas knows his Chelsea team must build on the very good point at Spurs with a home win here. They're unbeaten in five league matches, with the draw at Wigan being the only poor result in that spell.

Daniel Sturridge is scoring for fun. He has nine league goals already - more than twice the number scored by Drogba and Torres together. He has the pace and confidence to torment the Cottagers, who seem to be troubled by internal bickering.

It's approaching last-chance saloon time for Torres. Unless he starts firing soon, Chelsea must surely be tempted to take an offer in the January transfer window. This could be his day if he gets his first league start in two months.

Clint Dempsey could be Fulham's biggest threat in the air at set-pieces. Chelsea have struggled to defend them all season, although it has to be said they've conceded just seven goals in their last seven games - not bad for a defence that has been rubbished by many critics.

Villas-Boas knows they need strengthening. The old guard is nearing the end. Money will be spent. They can't afford to become one of the five teams who've dropped out of the top four between Christmas and the end of the season in the last 10 years. Roman Abramovich wouldn't stand for it.

Both managers are on shaky ground. But it'll be Villa-Boas with the late Christmas present.

    Head-to-head



  • Chelsea have not lost this fixture at home since October 1979, when Fulham won 2-0 in the old Second Division courtesy of goals by Gordon Davies and John Beck. Fulham's last top-flight victory at Stamford Bridge came in March 1964.


  • Fulham have beaten Chelsea only once in the last 30 league and cup meetings, spanning 32 years (D10, L19, including defeat in a penalty shootout in the League Cup last month). Their solitary success was 1-0 at Craven Cottage in March 2006, when Luis Boa Morte got the only goal.


  • Fulham

  • Fulham come into this game off the back of their heaviest home defeat in the top flight since 1968 (when beaten 6-0 by Leeds).


  • Martin Jol's side have scored the fewest away goals in the Premier League this season, netting only four times in eight matches.


  • The club has won only one of nine Premier League matches on Boxing Day (D4, L4).


  • They have neither lost a match in which they led this season nor won a game after going behind.


  • Damien Duff could make his 400th career league appearance.


  • Chelsea

  • Chelsea are two points better off after 17 matches than at the corresponding stage of last season.


  • They are unbeaten in their last seven home matches on Boxing Day since a 2-1 defeat by Wimbledon in 1995.


  • Didier Drogba needs three goals to total 100 in the Premier League, and just one to total 150 for Chelsea in all competitions.


  • Frank Lampard has seven career league goals against Fulham and has scored five goals on Boxing Day - the equal-most of any current Premier League player, along with Jermain Defoe.


  • Chelsea have used all three permitted substitutions in every league match this season, the only team in the top flight to do so.
























Source Jonathan Pearce at BBCSports
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