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Fulham at Chelsea: Match Preview

last updated Saturday 02nd May 2009, 10:07 AM

Chelsea are without midfielder Deco and defender Ricardo Carvalho for the visit of Fulham.

The pair are struggling to regain fitness following hamstring problems, while Joe Cole and Paulo Ferreira are out for the season with knee ligament injuries.

Boss Guus Hiddink will again take the opportunity to rest some players against a Fulham side chasing a place in next season's newly formed Europa League.

Team Chelsea Fulham
Games Played 34 34
Goal Attempts
Goals 56 34
Ave Goals per game 1.65 1.00
Shots (excl blocked shots) 507 326
% Shots on Target 44% 40%
% Goals to Shots 11% 10%
Short Passes 15,782 12,327
Long Passes 1,917 2,083
Overall Pass Completion % 84% 75%
Total Crosses 848 705
Cross Completion % 25% 23%
Goals Conceded 20 28
Ave goals conceded per game 0.59 0.82
Tackles 689 746
Tackles Won % 75% 74%
Blocks, Clearances & Interceptions 1505 2194
Fouls 421 405
Yellow Cards 48 35
Red Cards 3 1
Tom Kell at SetantaSport - Opta Index

"There might be one or two changes,'' confirmed Hiddink. "Regarding that, it's not that we're going to decrease the quality of the players coming in.

"We have players on the bench with the quality to perform well. Maybe one or two will start tomorrow. We take this game very seriously.

"Roy Hodgson is doing a tremendous job at Fulham. He's one of the older managers, like me, who knows that the job is difficult.

"I respect the job he's doing. He's a man with a lot of experience and dignity.

"They've proved what can be achieved with a small squad for a prolonged period.''

Fulham striker Andrew Johnson is unavailable for the trip due to the knee injury he suffered in last weekend's 1-0 win over Stoke.

The former Everton striker has slight damage to knee ligaments, however, he is expected to be fit in time for next weekend's visit of Aston Villa.

Bobby Zamora will start in Johnson's place after he was passed fit after suffering a back spasm against the Potters and will partner Erik Nevland, who scored last week's winner after replacing him, up front.

Simon Davies will miss the remainder of the season as he needs surgery on a foot problem while Giles Barnes will miss the trip to Stamford Bridge with an Achilles injury but the midfielder is expected to return to training next week.

Manager Roy Hodgson has found preparation for the clash difficult because he has no idea which players Hiddink will select.

The match at Stamford Bridge is sandwiched between the two legs of Chelsea's Champions League semi-final against Barcelona and although Hodgson has an inkling Hiddink will want to rest players for Wednesday's crucial second leg, he admits he does not know what to expect.

"There is a chance the Chelsea management will look at this game and not want certain players to play three games in eight days and prioritise by giving someone a rest,'' he said.

"But on the other hand Chelsea are still in with a very serious shout of winning the Premier League.

"Manchester United still have some tough games and also are involved in Champions League semi-finals so Chelsea could say, `We believe Manchester United, with the injuries they have in their squad, will find it difficult to deal with the situation and that's going to open the door for us. We cannot afford to slip up in our last four Premier League games so we'll have to use our best players'.

"Which of those two scenarios is the right one I have no idea.''

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