9th April 2012

Fulham Chelsea preview
Just two days after their weekend games Fulham and Chelsea square off at Craven Cottage, looking to continue the good run of results. The Cottagers need at least one point to remain in the top half of the standings, whereas Roberto Di Matteo’s side aim to put extra pressure on their top 4 rivals by winning this game.

After struggling to cope with the busy schedule in the first part of the season, Fulham have shown a lot of improvement since they were eliminated from Europa League, with Martin Jol’s side now back in contention for a top half finish. The Cottagers did suffer a small dip in form at the beginning of March, having lost three consecutive Premier League fixtures, but they improved to beat Norwich at home before recording an impressive victory over Bolton at Reebok Stadium.

Fulham did well to reinforce the squad in January as Pavel Pogrebnyak proved to be a worthy replacement for Bobby Zamora, whereas former Real Madrid midfielder Mahamadou Diarra largely impressed after arriving on a free transfer. The Russian striker is doubtful for the Chelsea game, just like Danny Murphy, whereas Andy Johnson, Zdenek Grygera and Steve Sidwell are definitely out.

Chelsea have been absolutely brilliant since Roberto Di Matteo took over the reigns and the four-match winning run can give them a lot of confidence before the all-important clash at Craven Cottage. After securing their place in the Champions League semi-finals with yet another win over very good Benfica side, the Blues faced in-form Wigan without no less than four first team regulars.

Chelsea dominated the proceedings but needed a little help from the referees and the Lady Luck to record an important victory, but only thing that matters is they closed the gap behind Tottenham to just three points.

The Blues now need to beat Fulham as well if they are to remain in contention for a top 4 finish and fifth straight victory looks on the cards. Ramires is expected to return after recovering from illness, while John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole could also be back. Fernando Torres, John Obi Mikel and Salomon Kalou should start after they were rested against Wigan.

Fulham have been pretty inconsistent of late and after recording just one victory in last 32 games against Chelsea they cannot be expected to match their more illustrious opponents. The Blues appear to be on top of their game at the moment and I believe they can be trusted to claim maximum points at Craven Cottage.