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Match Preview: Chelsea Vs Fulham

SoccerSouls
ANALYST
Preview
21 Sep 2013, 00:28 IST

Chelsea v Fulham - Premier League

Chelsea Vs Fulham
September 21, 2013 5.30pm (UK)
Stamford Bridge — London
Referee: A. Marriner

Chelsea have not had the best start to the season so far with Jose Mourinho’s men failing to win two on two consecutive games. Things got pretty aggravated by their shock 2-1 loss to FC Basel in the Champions League match midweek, a defeat which certainly rang a few alarm bells. Thus, they would definitely want to get back to winning ways when they take on Fulham at their home ground on Saturday. Given Mourinho’s home record, the Blues fans will be looking forward to a win nonetheless.

The main problem for Chelsea has been their misfiring attacking unit which has not scored the requisite number of goals. This apart, Jose Mourinho is yet to pick the best eleven, rotating too many players in the midfield.If Chelsea are to do well, Eden Hazard must step up as he has been the main man for the Blues this far, creating the maximum number of chances. Oscar has also looked comfortable in his role, scoring against Basel. He should also get a chance in the attacking midfield and help the team.

It is still very much the beginning of the season and as the dust settles down, Mourinho and co should be looking to gel this relatively new team together before things get out of hand.

Fulham, on the other hand started off with 3 points against Sunderland on the opening day of the season but since then have not had any success and Martin Jol would be aiming to pick up at least a point from the West London derby.

Team news

Jose Mourinho is lucky enough to have a full squad available at his disposal. But again, there comes a selection headache and selecting a forward out of the three misfiring forwards looks like a pretty tough one. After failing to impress in his first two matches, Samuel Eto’o may be benched for this encounter and Fernando Torres may again be called back into the side.

A match against Fulham is always a tough fixture for Chelsea with them winning just one in their last five matches against Martin Jol’s men. But on the other hand, they have remained unbeaten in their last 14 matches against them.

Martin Jol’s tactics have been criticised this season as he has often opted for a strategy that has been defensive. The other thing that will worry Jol will be the list of his team’s injuries. Their front man Dimitar Berbatov is suffering from a hamstring problem and is uncertain for this game (although latest rumours suggest that the Bulgarian will be playing). New signing Darren Bent may return from his own injury for this match though.

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Bryan Ruiz has had an ankle injury scare in his last match and may be rested for this match. But goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg and defender Aaron Hughes will definitely miss out as both of them are nursing their injuries.

Possible starting lineups

Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Cole; Oscar, Lampard, Ramires; Mata, Hazard, Eto’o

Fulham: Stockdale; Riether, Senderos, Hangeland, Richardson; Duff, Sidwell, Parker, Ka?anikli?; Kasami; Berbatov

Match Facts:

  • Chelsea have won seven and lost none of the last 14 Barclays Premier League derbies with Fulham.
  • Fulham have conceded more corners than any other Barclays Premier League side so far this season (32).
  • If goals from strikers were excluded this season then Chelsea would be top of the table.
  • Jose Mourinho has never lost a Premier League home game (W48 D14).
  • Fernando Torres is yet to record a shot on target in the Premier League this season (126 minutes of action).
  • Fulham won only one of their five London derbies away from home in the 2012-13 Premier League (L2 D2).
  • Samuel Eto’o could become the ninth African to score a Premier League goal for Chelsea (after Drogba, Kalou, Essien, Babayaro, Geremi, Weah, Ba and Moses).

Stats courtesy of Yahoo sports

Prediction:

Although this should be a close encounter without too much of goal mouth action, Chelsea might just scrape through with a 1-0 win. ?

Blast from the past:

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