Mon, Feb 14, 10:26pm by Kevin Pitstock
This match is a local derby of sort and comes at a time where there is real pressure on Chelsea following wins for Manchester United, Arsenal and Spurs. Their aim has to be a top four place, but the way things are this season, it could really be very, very close. Fulham have made a very slow start to the season under Mark Hughes, but there seems to have been very little inclination to panic, and he’s starting to get them playing in the way he wants, and picking up points to move steadily away from the foot of the Premier League.
2011 really seems to have sparked Fulham into action. They are let to lose this year and have picked up a very healthy 11 points from a possible 18. What will please Mark Hughes even more is they have three straight home wins when they kept a clean sheet. Hughes usually produces well organised teams that are difficult to beat – witness his Manchester City team. They are missing Gael Kakuta, who can’t play as he is on loan from Chelsea, plus defender Phillipe Senderos. There may also be a point to prove for Steve Sidwell, who never really got a chance playing for Chelsea – he can now put one over their near neighbours. One useful betting tip if you like the more obscure markets is that Fulham have not had a man sent off this season.
Chelsea remain a long way behind Manchester United after their defeat by Liverpool, and the signs in that game were worrying. The arrival of Fernando Torres inevitably disrupted them, with the whole formation changed round to accommodate the Spanish striker, just when they looked like they were getting over a horrible run of form that has probably knocked them out of the title race. Defensively, they are not nearly as solid as they were either – they have kept just one clean sheet in nine away games. There will be a change at the back with David Luiz expected to play. Everyone regards him as a player who can be one of the best defenders in Europe – but it will still take time to learn how he plays.
FULHAM v CHELSEA BEST BET AND PREDICTION
Given how tight Fulham like to keep things tight, and that Chelsea are struggling, we are genuinely surprised to see the draw as big as $3.60 at Centrebet Australia. It looks like a game where Chelsea will be disjointed, and Fulham not quite ambitious enough, so pile on the draw!
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