Chelsea vs. Fulham Preview

Premier League

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Published: 21/12/2011

After a tremendous last gasp win against Manchester City at Stamford Bridge earlier in December, the Blues are still hanging onto the coat tails of Roberto Mancini’s table toppers heading into the Christmas period, however both fans and pundits alike will have a much better idea of Chelsea’s title credentials and long term prospects by the time they line-up against Martin Jol’s Fulham on Boxing Day.

The West London derby action kicks off a busy day in the English top flight and Andre Villas Boas will be keen to send out a warning to his team’s main rivals as he seeks to repay the faith shown in him by club supremo Roman Abramovich.

Chelsea’s ultimate goal for the season may still be in tact should they manage to overcome Harry Redknapp’s Spurs on December 22 and their mood and buoyancy in this match will greatly depend on how they fare at White Hart Lane against a side who are also pushing for Premier League glory.

Crucially, despite having far more blots on the copy book than they would have intended, Chelsea still remain a major force to be reckoned with, especially at home – and have the firepower to beat any team on their day in front of their own supporters.

Although many feel it is a stage of transition for the Blues, players such as Daniel Sturridge and Juan Mata have sparked ten Premier League wins and counting for the hosts who will be heavy favourites to add to that tally when Fulham make the short trip over from Craven Cottage.

Fulham themselves may well be hoping that Tottenham have already hammered the final nail into Chelsea’s title coffin before this fixture as they are likely to face a rampant barrage of attack if their opponents are still majorly in the hunt.

Jol has set up his Fulham side to be tough and hard to beat however their steely resistance was dented massively when they were pegged back at home to Odense BK in the Europa League and subsequently eliminated from the competition.

The Dutchman now purely has domestic matters to focus on with his team and first and foremost the objective will be to secure enough points to stay in the top flight for another season.

The Cottagers will pack the midfield at the Bridge and look to frustrate Chelsea’s 4-3-3 system by crowding out the middle of the park and restricting the options of veteran Frank Lampard and the aforementioned Mata who has the ability to run riot when his team are firing.

The loss of Nicolas Anelka could well benefit this particular Chelsea side in the long run and his departure has undoubtedly offered England prospect Daniel Sturridge the chance to shine.

Despite being a tough nut to crack, Fulham have still been turned over on six occasions this campaign and this, coupled with their distinct lack of flair and guile, means that the hosts should have the ability and class to cruise past their opponents.

This may or may not be a game to take too much interest in from a betting perspective depending on each individuals take on the odds of around 4/9 for a home win. But providing that Chelsea are still in the chase and that they come out of their clash with Tottenham with at least a point, they look absolute bankers to kick off the Boxing Day schedule with a comfortable three points to provide a perfect start for those Christmas multiples and accumulators.


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