CHELSEA v Fulham: Preview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Venue: Stamford Bridge

Date: Saturday, 21 September

Kick-off: 17.30 GMT

 

Four Premier League games in, one defeat and suddenly, not only are we in crisis but Jose Mourinho will apparently be looking for a new job by January because we’ll be lucky to finish in the top six under him this time.

No, this isn’t Sky Sports version of Jackanory, it’s just the general hysteria picked up any given day of the week on Twitter/Facebook/any football forum you care to log in to. Ok, so we lost in Europe midweek as well but since there’s still a few games to right that particular wrong and 34 games left in the Premier League, you’d have to think the catastrophising is a tiny bit premature.

Anyway, today’s late kick-off sees us at home to Fulham and a chance to slow down the ‘knew it was a mistake’ bandwagon, although given our tendency to succumb to a draw against our neighbours, the media could have Mourinho’s P45 in his pigeon-hole by the morning!

 

MANAGER’S VIEWS

Inevitably, going into this evening’s derby Jose Mourinho has a bit of defensive work to do, insisting “For me, no crisis. It’s two bad results.  (Tomorrow) we win 3-0 and everything becomes perfect. Or we lose after four years and so many matches and it’s a big story.  The team was brilliant against Bayern Munich, but it’s also part of a process – this instability. When you live in this formation process a player can be a five or a one.  What sells papers are big victories or big defeats, but believe in my work and the players’ work.

I think scrutiny is normal. I’ve been in football a long time so I’m not surprised with scrutiny and critics and everything else. I’m not surprised, I’m not worried.  I know where I want to go and I know the steps I have to give and when you want to build something different and the players are adapting. It has been the philosophy for years.  The easiest thing for a new manager is to arrive at a club and not to change or to be even in a better situation which is keep some things and buy a couple of players but go in the same direction.  If you want to do something different there is a period where I understand that if the results are not good people put some question marks in the direction you go.

I don’t like the way Chelsea was playing in the last couple of years. We want to change. We have the players with the profile to change. We want to play a different style.”

Martin Jol meanwhile, concentrates on some ifs and buts, saying “I have to put it in the minds of my players that we had good results (there).  I can remember a few games – the penalty kick with Pajtim Kasami that we should have won, but that was for the cup.  We had a few situations last year in the away match where we could have scored in the last 10 minutes, so we could have had a win.  It is a good thing that we haven’t lost (there recently), although remember that we lost at home (3-0 to Chelsea) a couple of months ago (in April last season).  They changed managers, although Mourinho plays almost a similar system now to Rafa Benitez. Before Mourinho played a different system in a 4-3-3, he changed it a bit so that is different, but we are quite confident.

It is 10 minutes from our place, so it is the same as a home game almost.  We have got good support from our supporters, and hopefully we can do something nice.  We are in the Fulham area with Chelsea and their stadium is in the Fulham area, so that is why it is a big and important derby.  If you look at the support we always get at Chelsea from our away fans, it is terrific.”

 

SQUAD NEWS

For Chelsea, there’s no injuries for Jose Mourinho to worry about. Ramires returns from his European suspension and John Terry is likely to return after his midweek rest.

For Fulham, Aaron Hughes (thigh), Matthew Briggs (hernia), Maarten Stekelenburg (shoulder) and Bryan Ruiz (ankle) all miss out.  Dimitar Berbatov (hamstring) gets a late fitness test but Darren Bent (hamstring) is back in the squad.

 

TEAMS

CHELSEA (Possible): Cech; Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Cole; Ramires, Lampard; Oscar, Mata, Hazard; Torres.
FULHAM (Possible): Stockdale; Riether, Hangeland, Senderos, Richardson; Duff, Sidwell, Parker, Kacaniklic; Bent, Berbatov.

 

LAST SEASON

Chelsea 0-0 Fulham (28 November 2012)

 

PREDICTION

Despite 7 points from 12 available, we’re having our poorest start to a Premier League season since Roman’s arrival. A good time to face Fulham then? Well, we’re unbeaten in our last 11 Premier League games at home and Fulham have only beaten us once in 34 league and cup meetings (March 2006), a run spanning 34 years.  Having said that though, four of the last five league games have ended in draws…….

 

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