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PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: FULHAM V CHELSEA

TACTICAL BRIEF
The pride of SW6 is at stake, so where will game be won and lost?

Key battles
At his pre-match press conference Rafael Benitez reiterated the need to use all available players throughout the games left in this longest ever Chelsea season.

If Benitez stays true to recent pattern, and providing Vincent Kompany has handed the player his shirt back, Fernando Torres will be expected to start as the manager rotates his strikers. Although the Spaniard played alongside goalscorer Demba Ba on Sunday, he may be ploughing a lone furrow again this evening.

Whoever is upfront needs to be aware Fulham's centre-back Brede Hangeland (pictured below) likes to bring the ball out from deep - and can be caught in possession.

Hangeland Fulham Terry Chelsea

Like Chelsea, the Whites will be without a few regulars for this game. Both wide midfielders, popular former Blue Damien Duff and Ashkan Dejagah, who has been a big player for them, are missing. Another ex-Chelsea player, centre midfielder Steve Sidwell, is suspended.

Sidwell's replacement, Eyong Enoh, has less positional discipline, so Georgios Karagounis has to play deeper than usual. The Blues' attacking midfield three will hope to exploit any unfamiliarity for the Cameroonian in his second full Barclays Premier League match.

The hosts do have one of the top flight's most enigmatic but effective strikers in Dimitar Berbatov - he was in brilliant form against QPR, netting twice. He has scored five times in 16 matches against Chelsea, so the defence - likely to include John Terry, though Ashley Cole and Gary Cahill again miss out - will have to remain alert for 90 minutes.

Having passed Sunday's deadline without receiving a 10th of the season, David Luíz will not be suspended for accumulated cautions.

Berbatov and his deeper-lying partner Bryan Ruiz play quite free roles. Hugo Rodallega can also present a threat off the bench.

Martin Jol's team are well-organised, pressing all over the pitch, positive and purposeful when in possession. But they are vulnerable to occasional lapses that cost them dear, especially when defenders have pushed forward.

Chelsea will be looking to be very quick on the counter attack to take full advantage.

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PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: FULHAM V CHELSEA

CHELSEA STATS
Chelsea have gained one point from our last four away Barclays Premier League games since winning at Stoke in January.

The Blues have opened the scoring in 20 Premier League matches which is a higher percentage than any other club. We have gone on to win 15 games and draw four. Only West Ham have defeated us.

The Blues are five points better off compared to the corresponding 31 fixtures last season.

We have gained 12 points from losing positions this term.We have dropped 14 points from winning positions.

Last six results
Mar 30 Southampton (a) L 1-2
Apr 1 Manchester United (FA Cup h) W 1-0
Apr 4 Rubin Kazan (Europa League a) W 3-1
Apr 7 Sunderland (h) W 2-1
Apr 11 Rubin Kazan (Europa League a) L 2-3
Apr 14 Manchester City (FA Cup Wembley) L 1-2


Premier League scorers
Lampard 12 (4 pens), Mata 10, E Hazard 8 (1 pen), Torres 7 (1 pen), Ivanovic 5, Ramires 4, Ba 2, Cahill 2, Terry 2, Cole 1, D Luiz 1, Marin 1, Moses 1, Oscar 1 (pen), Sturridge 1, own goals 3. Total 61


League games since
An away win: 4
An away draw: 3
An away defeat: 0


Chelsea's next three games
Sun 21 Apr Liverpool away 4pm
Thu 25 Apr Basel away 8.05pm
Sun 28 Apr Swansea home 3pm


 

MILESTONES
Frank Lampard needs two goals to equal our all-time top scorer Bobby Tambling on 202.

If selected, David Luiz will make his 100th Blues appearance in all competitions.


FULHAM STATS
Formed 1879

Seventeen 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 as 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 their longest spell in the top flight.

They have only gained five points from losing positions which is the worst record in the Premier League.

At home this term they have won 24 points from a possible 45 with seven wins against Norwich, West Brom, Aston Villa, Newcastle, West Ham, Stoke and QPR, three draws against Everton, Southampton and Wigan and five defeats to Man City, Sunderland, Tottenham, Swansea and Man Utd.

The Cottagers have dropped 20 points from winning positions.

Fulham have scored all six penalties awarded to them in the Premier League this term.

Manager Martin Jol
Days in charge: 680
Played 91
Won 33
Drawn 26
Lost 32


Fulham's last 10 year league history
Pts Pos
2002/03 48 14th
2003/04 52 9th
2004/05 44 13th
2005/06 48 12th
2006/07 39 16th
2007/08 36 17th
2008/09 53 7th
2009/10 46 12th
2010/11 49 8th
2011/12 52 9th

 

 

PMB

 

Last six results
Feb 23 Stoke (h) W 1-0
Mar 2 Sunderland (a) D 2-2
Mar 17 Tottenham (a) W 1-0
Apr 1 QPR (h) W 3-2
Apr 7 Newcastle (a) L 0-1
Apr 13 Aston Villa (a) D 1-1

 

Premier League scorers
Berbatov 13 (3 pens), Petrić 5 (1 pen), Sidwell 4 (1 pen), Duff 3, Kačaniklić 3, Rodallega 3, Ruiz 3, Baird 2, Karagounis 1, Richardson 1, Riether 1, own goals 5. Total 44


League games since
A home win: 0
A home draw: 4
A home defeat: 2


WINDOW WATCH
Fulham's completed January transfers
Ins Urby Emanuelson (AC Milan, loan), Eyong Enoh (Ajax, loan), Emmanuel Frimpong (Arsenal, loan), Stanislav Manolev (PSV Eindhoven, loan)
Outs Stephen Kelly (Reading, undisclosed), David Stockdale (Hull, loan), Pajtim Kasami (Lucerne, loan), Matthew Briggs (Watford, loan)


THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Mike Dean is the official for his fourth Chelsea match this term. The previous three were wins at Tottenham (4-2) in October, Southampton (5-1) in the FA Cup in January and Wigan (4-1) at Stamford Bridge the following month.


OTHERWISE ENGAGED
Fulham's Steve Sidwell is suspended.

The deadline for players receiving a suspension for accruing 10 cautions has now passed.

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