Sat 21 Sep 2013 17:30 (Attendance: 41,608)
For the second Saturday running Chelsea are in tea-time action, and on this occasion it's a local affair. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton size up the SW6 derby…
It is kind when the neighbours know you are having a bit of a rough time and pop straight round to see how you are. Unfortunately Fulham will not be knocking on the door on Saturday evening with a bottle of red, chocolate and compassion. At the same time, the Whites should prepare themselves just in case the greeting they receive is a bit brisk.
Chelsea's home group stage defeat by a tenacious Basel, our first in the Champions League since the opening match of the 2003/4 campaign proper (an even more surprising 0-2 to Besiktas), follows the narrow league loss at Everton.
The squandered chances of Goodison were not so abundant against the Swiss, which will concern Jose Mourinho. Chelsea may not have a mountain to climb but the Swiss made the route to the knockout stage a little steeper and the Blues need a lift.
Although it is decades since we lost in this branch of the west London derby, Fulham have drawn four of their last seven at the Bridge, including the most recent two. We have not scored more than one home league goal against them since Christmas 2009.
A win for under-pressure Martin Jol's team would inflict a third successive defeat for the first time since May/August 2006, when the newly crowned Premier League champions slipped up in the final two league games against Blackburn and Newcastle and the Community Shield against Liverpool.
The last hat-trick of defeats when it mattered was in September/October 2002 when our failure at Viking Stavanger in the UEFA Cup was sandwiched between league losses at home to West Ham and away to Liverpool.
The Dutch coach has squeezed just one win from a dozen meetings with Chelsea at Tottenham and his current side. The victory came at White Hart Lane and against 10 men. He has drawn four of the others and taken nil points on seven occasions.
The most recent west London derby was in mid-April at the Cottage, the visitors running out easy 3-0 winners.
Jol's men are finding goals equally hard to come by so far this season, notching three in four Premier League outings.
After just four matches no Premier League side can boast a perfect start. That is for the second successive season, but the previous four campaigns all had teams protecting a 100 per cent record at this stage. Are the stronger teams growing weaker or has the general standard improved?
A win will put the Blues above both Manchester clubs, who play each other on Sunday. Chelsea then detour to Swindon Town (our first visit for 20 years) in the League Cup on Tuesday night before facing Tottenham away Saturday lunchtime.
Barclays Premier League fixtures
Norwich v Aston Villa 12.45pm - BT Sport
Liverpool v Southampton 3pm
Newcastle v Hull 3pm
West Brom v Sunderland 3pm
West Ham v Everton 3pm
Chelsea v Fulham 5.30pm - Sky Sports
Arsenal v Stoke 1.30pm - Sky Sports
Crystal Palace v Swansea 1.30pm
Cardiff v Tottenham 4pm
Manchester City v Manchester United 4pm - Sky Sports
|Barclays Premier League top six|
Despite set backs in the past week, Chelsea start this game knowing that nine of the last 10 league fixtures at Stamford Bridge have been won by the hosts. Jose Mourinho may well ring changes again after Wednesday, with John Terry's return a distinct possibility and might there be a start for Cesar Azpilicueta, Branislav Ivanovic having played every minute of every club game so far this season?
Terry netted twice in the Blues' 3-0 win at the Cottage in April - both headers from set-pieces in which Juan Mata was heavily involved.
Ramires, who missed the Basel defeat through suspension, will be pressing for a return in the Blues' midfield, as will Kevin De Bruyne. Fernando Torres's absence from action in midweek suggests he may be involved today. He is the only Chelsea centre-forward to have scored so far this season.
Surprisingly Steve Sidwell finds himself Fulham's joint top scorer. Along with Scott Parker, he forms an all-former Blue defensive screen in Martin Jol's preferred 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-1-1 set-ups. Damien Duff, used more sparingly these days, will meet again the manager with whom he lifted back-to-back Premier League trophies.
Jol strengthened virtually all areas of the pitch in his summer transfer dealings. Goalie and fellow Dutchman Maarten Stekelenburg was the star signing from Roma (his arrival allowing Mark Schwarzer to be released and join Chelsea).
However, he injured a shoulder on his debut at Sunderland and will almost certainly miss this game with much-travelled 27-year-old David Stockdale in goal - he played in Fulham's draw at the Bridge on Boxing Day 2011. Chelsea had 12 shots on target that day, managing just the one goal, and in truth the Blues will want to extend him more than was the case that day.
The Whites' central defence is also missing the unsung hero Aaron Hughes. Philippe Senderos, who has often had a difficult time of it against Chelsea and especially Didier Drogba, should partner skipper Brede Hangeland.
Jol has also recruited Darren Bent from Villa, Scott Parker (Spurs) and Adel Taarabt (QPR), while Derek Boateng (debut Sunderland) was among others to transfer in for free.
Whether Dimitar Berbatov and Bent can hit it off as a front two remains to be seen but they do share one thing: both are expected to return from hamstring injuries this weekend.
Fulham conceded late in the game against West Brom to draw a game they should have won. They looked fluent in attack but injuries to Bryan Ruiz and Dimitar Berbatov, added to the sidelined Darren Bent, must have alarmed Jol.
Hard-working Ruiz's absence would be a problem. So great is his influence (along with raiding right-back Sascha Riether) that a disproportionate number of Fulham's attacks go down his right flank. If he is not required as a back-up centre-forward, Hugo Rodallega could play on the right. He has been a thorn in Chelsea sides in the past and that area has been productive for opponents this season.
Sadly not much has been going right for Eden Hazard of late but he has the confidence to keep taking players on and taking risks. Hopefully his luck will change soon and the SW6 derby is as good a stage as any.
- Remember to make your score prediction and you could be in with the chance of winning two hospitality match tickets.
WE HAVE HISTORY
Chelsea are looking to extend our unbeaten run against Fulham to 16 games. Our last defeat came in March 2006 after Luis Boa Morte's lone goal.
This is the biggest west London derby but for many years local supporters of each club were friendly rivals, frequently watching the other team play when theirs was away that weekend.
Although Fulham is the oldest London team in the Premier League, they were originally in the Southern League, and this is only the 24th season that Chelsea and Fulham have been in the top flight together. Half of those have come in a straight run since the Whites were promoted in 2001.
Fulham have won two of our 34 previous league meetings at Stamford Bridge. 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 in the old Second Division.
Malcolm 'Super Mac' MacDonald was the manager 30 years ago towards the end of the 1983/84 season when John Neal's Chelsea were chasing promotion from Division Two.
Colin Pates had been delighted when Neal installed him as captain for the run-in in the absence of Tony McAndrew. 'It was a total surprise but I thrive on responsibility and this is just what I need,' enthused the cultured centre-back. 'I've always wanted to be skipper. It means you have to be totally involved throughout the match.'
Yet this was a side full of personalities. Joey Jones (pictured below left) performed his usual ritual of running to each corner and shaking his fist to encourage the crowd and even raised cheers when he karate-kicked Fulham's Paul Parker, earning a yellow and intimidating the full-back out of the game. Fellow Welshman Mickey Thomas was all magic and mischief too as the hosts ran riot.
The third biggest crowd at Stamford Bridge that season, 32,000, was present to see a classic Kerry Dixon-David Speedie-Pat Nevin show in front of goal. All three scored, with Dixon hitting the first and the third in a master class of sweeping football and finishing.
Chelsea were promoted a few weeks later and it would be 18 years before the Whites' next league stroll up the Fulham Road came again.
Our last 10 Premier league meetings at Stamford Bridge
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
2012/13 - Drew 0-0
Other match last season
17 April 2013 Premier League
D Luiz 30
Terry 42, 71
Chelsea v Fulham in all competitions
Games played 78
Chelsea wins 43
Fulham wins 9
Head to head in the League at Stamford Bridge
Games played 34
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 lost to Fulham at Stamford Bridge in the top flight: 18,095
Fulham won an away game in the Capital: 188
Arsenal won a trophy: 3,045
Liverpool won the league: 8,540
In the Premier League Chelsea have won 28 points of the last 30 at Stamford Bridge.
|Last six results|
|Aug 18||Hull City (h)||W 2-0|
|Aug 21||Aston Villa (h)||W 2-1|
|Aug 26||Manchester United (a)||D 0-0|
|Aug 30||Bayern Munich (Super Cup) lost 4-5 on pens||D 2-2|
|Sep 14||Everton (a)||L 0-1|
|Sep 18||Basel (Champions League h)||L 1-2|
Premier League scorers (4)
Ivanovic 1, Lampard 1, Oscar 1, own goal 1
League games since
A home win: 0
A home draw: 3
A home defeat: 11
|Chelsea's next three games|