Wed 28 Nov 2012 19:45 (Attendance: 41,707)
It is once more down to the Bridge for our second home game in four days. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton look local…
Although Chelsea lost ground to former boss Steve Clarke's West Bromwich Albion by drawing with Manchester City, a draw and a clean sheet against the English champions was a creditable result.
That was the Blues' first Premier League shutout since the same scoreline at QPR in mid-September.
Only Wigan and Southampton have conceded more than one goal in a league game more often than Martin Jol's Fulham team, who have managed it eight times. Only the Saints and QPR have conceded more total goals than the Whites' 23 in 13 games.
Fulham's defensive capacity is compromised further by the loss of centre-back Brede Hangeland, red-carded in the shock 1-3 home defeat by Sunderland a fortnight ago (pictured below).
With Didier Drogba's favourite defender Philippe Senderos instead of the influential skipper, Fulham fell 0-1 to Stoke at the weekend - a simple tap-in from a Peter Crouch knockdown.
New manager Rafael Benîtez will be keen to build on the solidity of Sunday by increasing Chelsea's firepower in front of the opposition goal.
Three shots on target in the two games against Juventus and City has to improve if the Blues are to improve on a record of two wins in the last nine matches in all competitions. That sequence includes four defeats.
This is the first of two London derbies in four days, with the Boleyn Ground the venue when west meets east on Saturday. Chelsea are the only unbeaten side in capital clashes so far this season; Fulham have not won either of their derby matches.
|Premier London League|
By the time you read this, the 250,000,000th spectator is likely to have passed through the turnstiles of a Barclays Premier League match.
In 20 years since the opening day, Saturday 15 August 1992, Chelsea have recorded the fifth highest total home attendance: 13,710,252. The only clubs with higher aggregates are Manchester United (24,322,356), Arsenal (17,036,537), Liverpool (16,491,290) and Newcastle (15,878,733).
Back in 1913/14 and 1919/20 Chelsea were the first British club to break the 30,000 and 40,000 barriers for average home attendances, so the current figures reflect consistently high crowds over the last century.
To celebrate the 250m landmark, four Chelsea fans have the chance to win an 'ultimate matchday experience'.
Barclays are launching a 'Find the Fan' competition to reward a supporter and three friends from each of the 20 clubs with a VIP trip to see their team in a Barclays Premier League match, including hospitality and first class travel and accommodation.
Photographers will be at all 20 fixtures on November 24 and 25, and 27 and 28, and will be taking exclusive pictures of both home and away fans on the matchdays to find a fan from each club to represent the 250 million fans. The images will be uploaded onto the Barclays Football Face.book site
Fans will be asked to identify themselves to be eligible for the VIP prize draw.
Barclays Premier League fixtures
Chelsea v Fulham 7.45pm
Everton v Arsenal 7.45pm
Southampton v Norwich 7.45pm
Stoke v Newcastle 7.45pm
Swansea v West Brom 7.45pm
Tottenham v Liverpool 7.45pm
Manchester United v West Ham 8.00pm
Wigan v Manchester City 8.00pm - Sky Sports
|Barclays Premier League table half|
Click on tabs above for more briefing.
Both sides need to return to winning ways. We look at the factors that will decide which way the game may go.
Both teams saw key players move on in the summer, but while Chelsea countered the departures of Didier Drogba et al with the signature of keen attacking midfielders, Fulham replaced Clint Dempsey (a regular thorn in Chelsea's side) with a more efficient marksman who fills the same deep-lying position, Dimitar Berbatov (pictured below). Berbatov plays behind another successful signing, striker Mladen Petric.
Rafael Benítez's pairing of Branislav Ivanovic and David Luiz at centre-back was a success against City's stellar attack, but Fulham have stealth too. The Serbia-Brazil axis was helped by César Azpilicueta's growing confidence at right back, and the manager may elect to stick with that four despite Gary Cahill's recovery from fever.
Benítez, who will be aware of the need to rest some players ahead of an enormously busy schedule, may re-examine his central midfield to press more effectively and quicken the attacking momentum, possibly with the reintroduction of Oriol Romeu. In any case, at previous clubs the manager earned a reputation for changing his starting line-ups.
Jol complained that his players allowed Stoke to 'bully' them - Chelsea have shown less capacity to do that in the last few matches than has been the case in previous seasons.
The Fulham manager likes to play offensively from midfield and even down to 10 men during the home defeat by Sunderland he made positive substitutions and the Mackems' Simon Mignolet was the busier keeper.
The Whites' summer signings Hugo Rodallega and Giorgos Karagounis, 35, have yet to stamp their authority and Jol also has a problem at the back. One of the foundations of the side he inherited was the solid, seasoned central defensive partnership of Aaron Hughes and captain Brede Hangeland.
Hangeland's suspension necessitates a change and Benítez must hope that Fernando Torres, who has not managed a shot on target in his last three outings, can regain the venom of early season.
Squad fitness news
Frank Lampard (calf), John Terry (knee) and Daniel Sturridge (hamstring remain out). Fulham's injury problems are three hamstrings - Alex Kacaniklic, Bryan Ruiz and Kieran Richardson - and Simon Davies (hip).
Click on tabs above for more briefing.
WE HAVE HISTORY
Chelsea are looking to extend our unbeaten run against Fulham to 14 games since our last defeat - in March 2006 by Luis Boa Morte's only goal.
This fixture was first played at Stamford Bridge in April 1911 and ended in a 2-0 victory for the Pensioners, Billy Bridgeman and Bob Whittingham the scorers.
Although Fulham is the oldest London team in the Premier League, they were originally in the Southern League, and this is only the 23rd season that Chelsea and Fulham have been in the top flight together.
It has been quite a one-sided affair at Stamford Bridge. Fulham have won two of our 33 previous league meetings. They were 1963/64 (1-2) in the old First Division and 1979/80 (0-2) in the old Division Two.
Former Blues boss Bobby Campbell was the visitors' manager the last occasion Fulham came away from Stamford Bridge with maximum points in October 1979.
The hosts' biggest margin of victory, 4-0, has been recorded twice, both in Division Two. The first was in September 1925 under David Calderhead, the second towards the end of our successful promotion campaign in April 1984.
Malcolm MacDonald's Fulham had had no answer to Chelsea's confidence and determination in a 3-5 defeat at Craven Cottage, but their former Blues midfielder Ray Lewington suggested in newspapers beforehand that Sheffield Wednesday were a better team and his old side had flair but 'leave the door open at the back.'
Chelsea's sense of purpose was symbolised by full-back Joey Jones (pictured below left), typically running to each corner of the ground with his fist clenched to encourage fans.
It was the attacking triumvirate of David Speedie (pictured above middle), Pat Nevin and Kerry Dixon (two) who proved irresistible, though, snaffling up the goals in front of just under 32,000 ecstatic supporters. Seven games later the Blues returned to the top flight as champions - ahead of Sheffield Wednesday on goal difference.
Our last 10 Premier league meetings at Stamford Bridge
2002/03 - Drew 1-1
2003/04 - Chelsea won 2-1
2004/05 - Chelsea won 3-1
2005/06 - Chelsea won 3-2
2006/07 - Drew 2-2
2007/08 - Drew 0-0
2008/09 - Chelsea won 3-1
2009/10 - Chelsea won 2-1
2010/11 - Chelsea won 1-0
2011/12 - Drew 1-1
Other matches last season
9 April 2012 Barclays Premier League
Dempsey 81 Lampard 45 pen
21 September 2011 League Cup third round
Chelsea won 4-3 on penalties after extra time
Fulham v Chelsea in all competitions
Games played 76
Chelsea wins 42
Fulham wins 9
Head to head in the League at Stamford Bridge
Games played 33
Chelsea wins 19
Fulham wins 2
Biggest league win at Stamford Bridge for each team
Chelsea 4-0 Fulham 26/09/1925 and 07/04/1984
Chelsea 0-2 Fulham 27/10/1979
Chelsea won at home in the Premier League: 53
Fulham won at Stamford Bridge in the top-flight: 17,798
Arsenal won a trophy: 2,748
Liverpool won the league: 8,243
Visit again at lunchtime for more briefing.
Chelsea have used 19 players in the Barclays Premier League this term, fewer than any other club.
The Blues are eight points better off after 13 games compared to the corresponding games last season. A win tonight will increase that to 10.
Chelsea have not lost when we have opened the scoring (six wins, two draws)
Chelsea have won just three points from the last 15 available.
Man City was our first clean sheet in the league since Stoke in September. Only the Potters (six) have kept more shut-outs than Chelsea's five.
We have won 18 of our 26 matches at Stamford Bridge in 2012. The two defeats were against Newcastle and Man Utd.
|Last six results|
|Nov 3||Swansea (a)||D 1-1|
|Nov 7||Shakhtar Donetsk (Champions League h)||W 3-2|
|Nov 11||Liverpool (h)||D 1-1|
|Nov 17||West Brom (a)||L 1-2|
|Nov 20||Juventus (Champions League a)||L 0-3|
|Nov 25||Manchester City (a)||D 0-0|
Premier League scorers
Mata 4, Torres 4, Hazard 3 (1 pen), Ivanovic 3, Lampard 3 (2 pens), Cahill 2, Cole 1, Moses 1, Ramires 1, Sturridge 1, Terry 1. Total 24
League games since
A home win: 3
A home draw: 0
A home defeat: 2
|Chelsea's next three games|
|Sat 1 Dec||West Ham away||12.45pm|
|Wed 5 Dec||Nordsjaelland (Champions League) home||7.45pm|
|Sat 8 Dec||Sunderland away||3pm|
We need two more goals for the half century for the season. Today is our 23rd match.
Sixteen years ago at the end of the 1995/96 season Fulham were 17th in the Third Division (fourth tier) and in the next five seasons won three promotions including being champions of the Second and First Divisions. The Cottagers have never won a major trophy.
Fulham are in their 12th successive season in the Premier League which is the longest spell they have ever spent in the top flight.
Fulham have not won in five matches and only once in the last eight.
Only Manchester United (32) have scored more goals than Fulham's 25.
Fulham have lost 14 points from winning positions.
Fulham have won six points from a possible 21 on the road - winning at Wigan with defeats in their first two away games at Manchester United and West Ham and at Stoke on Saturday.
They have failed to win any of the games their opponents opened the scoring.
Manager Martin Jol
Days in charge: 540
|Fulham's last 10 year league history|
|Last six results|
|Oct 20||Aston Villa (h)||W 1-0|
|Oct 27||Reading (a)||D 3-3|
|Nov 3||Everton (h)||D 2-2|
|Nov 10||Arsenal (a)||D 3-3|
|Nov 18||Sunderland (h)||L 1-3|
|Nov 24||Stoke (a)||L 0-1|
Premier League scorers
Berbatov 5 (2 pens), Petrić 4 (1 pen), Duff 3, Sidwell 3 (1 pen), Baird 2, Kačaniklić 2, Ruiz 2, own goals 2, Richardson 1, Rodallega 1. Total 25
League games since
An away win: 4
An away draw: 1
An away defeat: 0
FULHAM'S MAJOR SUMMER MOVES AND AUTUMN LOANS
Ins Dimitar Berbatov (Man Utd, £4m), Kieran Richardson (Sunderland, £2m), Hugo Rodallega (Wigan, free), Mladen Petric (Hamburg, free), Sascha Riether (Cologne, loan), Giorgios Karagounis (Panathinaikos, free), Ashkan Dejagah (Wolfsburg, undisclosed)
Outs Moussa Dembélé (Tottenham, £15m), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham, £6m), Danny Murphy (Blackburn, free), Andy Johnson (QPR, free), Dickson Etuhu (Blackburn, undisclosed), Orlando Sa (Limassol, free), Bjorn Helge Riise (Lillestrom, free), Marcel Gecov (KAA Gent, undisclosed), David Stockdale (Hull, loan)
THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Anthony Taylor is making his second visit to the Bridge this season. He was the referee during our 4-1 win against Norwich in October.
Fulham captain Brede Hangeland is suspended.
It was a consecutive stalemate at the Bridge and in similar fashion to Sunday's match, mostly sound defending at one end was in contrast to a shortage of attempts on-target at the other.
The Blues looked like a side that had not won for four games. There was an edginess to some of the passing that led to attacks breaking down too often. Fernando Torres had the best Chelsea attempt of the first half, Ramires the best in the second although neither truly troubled Mark Schwarzer in the Fulham goal.
The visitors who kept many men back for most of the game, tried to catch us on the break after half-time and Petr Cech, a spectator in the first half, had to be sharp to save twice.
There was a small amount of squad rotation by Rafael Benitez, Oriol Romeu coming in at the base of the midfield for John Mikel Obi and Ryan Bertrand lining up in midfield on the left flank, Juan Mata named on the bench. Having kept a clean sheet on Sunday, the defence was unchanged.
Fulham restored former Chelsea player Damien Duff and Hugo Rodallega to their side in wide positions. Mahamadou Diarra came in to their midfield in place of Chris Baird.
After a scoreless draw at the weekend, Stamford Bridge was hungry for a goal but a skied shot by Ramires was the main moment of a quiet opening 10 minutes in which Chelsea had enjoyed territorial advantage. Torres to Bertrand and Oscar to Torres had been clever passes that threatened to open Fulham up but in the end to no avail.
It took until the 17th minute before Fulham created anything remotely like a chance - Berbatov jumping to meet Riise's cross but with David Luiz marking tightly, the Bulgarian could do nothing but hook the ball skywards. Cech would remain largely idle for the whole half.
Midway through it Rodallega handballed 30 yards out from the Fulham goal and with Mata on the bench, David Luiz had a clear run at the free-kick. Unfortunately his effort was more suited to the New Zealand All-Blacks who were inside Stamford Bridge watching the game.
On 29 minutes Chelsea sprung forward with some zip in our play - started by an Ivanovic charge and then an Azpilicueta cross low to Torres. The Spaniard, controlling it with back to goal, spun sharply enough but hit his left-foot shot straight at Schwarzer.
Torres somewhat fortuitously was awarded a free-kick on the left-hand edge of the Fulham penalty five minutes later but Hazard's attempt to slip the ball behind the wall to Oscar floundered. The Belgian clipped the leg of one of the opponents lined up ahead of him.
Chelsea were forcing Fulham deeper and deeper but with all but two white shirts often back in their own area, it was a tough job penetrating the Cottagers' rearguard. Romeu, who minutes before had tried his best to hit Torres early with a pass from halfway, was fouled by Steve Sidwell 35 yards out. This time David Luiz played the free-kick out wide but Azpilicueta's cross was too deep. It was symbolic of a half when attacking attempts by both sides were disjointed.
The second period picked up where the first left off - Chelsea pressing against a shut white-and-black backdoor. Hazard helped on a pass in the direction of Oscar who was running inside the six-yard box but Diarra had tracked the Brazilian's run and tackled.
Then on 55 minutes Fulham had the chance to counter-attack for the first time in the match. Chelsea had got ourselves into a mess on halfway and the ball was lofted forward to Riise, breaking from left-back. With Cech to beat from a tight-ish angle and the ball bouncing high, the Norwegian made a poor connection on his shot.
Mata was asked to add a creative spark so far missing when he was introduced just past the hour, Bertrand making way. The Spaniard was soon taking the best delivered corner of the game so far and Ivanovic was annoyed with himself to only glance it with his back, sending it wide of the far post.
Ivanovic picked up the game's first caution, for dissent after Romeu had fouled, then Romeu himself was shown a yellow for impeding a Fulham break. The hat-trick of bookings was completed soon after with David Luiz entering the book for what the ref said was a tug back on Riether. It looked harsh. The Brazilian will now miss a game through suspension.
A minute later, Riise struck a shot with much more characteristic power and it looked to be creeping inside the near post until Cech intervened.
On 76 minutes, Romeu again sought out Torres with a pass from deep and for a moment the striker appeared to have chested it through a crowd but the chance to shoot didn't materialise. Torres also hooked a ball towards goal acrobatically, cleared by a defender. It was going wide anyway.
Fulham wanted a penalty with 10 minutes left on the clock after substitute Frei had dribbled and tumbled but replays showed Ramires had excelled in getting a boot to the ball first.
Still the white blockade held firm. Marko Marin was introduced for his Premier League debut with time running out. As stoppage time began, Ramires bore down on the Fulham goal with the visitors back peddling but when the shot was released, Riether was able to block.
The seconds ticked by until Mata took a corner - half-cleared just outside the area but Azpilcueta planted the final kick of the game a couple of yards wide.
With West Brom losing, the point takes Chelsea back into third place on goal difference.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech (c); Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, David Luiz, Cole; Ramires, Romeu; Hazard (Marin 82), Oscar, Bertrand (Mata 63); Torres.
Unused subs Turnbull, Ferreira, Cahill, Mikel, Moses.
Booked Ivanovic 67, Romeu 70, David Luiz 72.
Fulham (4-4-1-1): Schwarzer; Riether, Senderos, Hughes, Riise; Duff, Diarra (Baird 63), Sidwell, Rodallega (Petrić 83); Karagounis (Frei 73); Berbatov (c).
Unused subs Etheridge, Kelly, Kasami, Dejagah.
Referee Anthony Taylor