Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Saturday December 24 2011
Our traditional Boxing Day fixture has us making the short trip down the road to take on Chelsea. After being humiliated by Manchester united in midweek, would it be too much to ask for Fulham t turn up for this one and give a decent account of ourselves. Given that it`s only a few miles down the road, we could even kid ourselves that it`s not really an away game, that way we might even get a result, or is that wishful thinking?
We`ve selected Danny Sturridge as our Chelsea player to watch, later in the review, and the young striker has some kind words to say about the fixture on Boxing Day, commenting,
"They`re a great side, play good football and were unlucky against Manchester United this week."
"It will not be easy for us. Derbies are always difficult and they will want to bounce back against us."
"Their boss will be telling them they have to do that against us for their fans, and we`re not going to be taking them lightly."
If they do, we`ll be waiting!
Chelsea enter this fixture having picked up a couple of injuries at White Hart Lane on Thursday evening. The first half of that game saw both Ivanovic and Mikel limp off with what looked like muscle injuries. Those two players join an injury list that includes long term victim, Michael Essien.
Ramires, courtesy of picking up his fifth yellow card of the season, is suspended so there may well be a recall for Frank Lampard who has been benched for the last three games.
The hole in the centre of the defence is likely to be filled by the returning David Luiz.
Chelsea may boast a wealth of expensive striking talent in Drogba and Torres but it is young Sturridge who has been scoring with regularity. The young striker now has 10 goals to his name this season and could very well be the danger man.
Would it be too much to ask for under-pressure Martin Jol to step backwards and re-jig a few things with regards to his starting eleven?
I`d like to see Aaron Hughes restored to a central defensive role alongside Brede Hangeland and I`d like to see Bobby Zamora start as our main striker.
It`s not too much to ask for is it?
The 5-0 thrashing, by Manchester United, did have one silver lining though as we picked up no more injuries, there`s even the added bonus of Steve Sidwell being available again after recovering from a hernia operation.
Time to step up my friend and give us a man-of-the-match display, show the Stamford Bridge crowd you`re every bit as good as that Juan Mata fellow!
The record books show that Stamford Bridge is not a happy hunting ground for us. Our last win there was back in 1979 when we won 2-0 in the old Second Division. Our last top flight victory was even further back, in March 1964.
Our record over the last 30 meetings gives us the following stats - Won 1, Drawn 10, Lost 19 - the win coming in 2006 when Boa Morte netted.
Surely it is time to start reversing the trend lads!
Going to Stamford Bridge used to be a foreboding experience; it was the original home fortress with Chelsea going over eighty home games without being beaten. These days it`s not so fearsome with Chelsea having been beaten several times. But, and it`s a big but, our away record is, how you might say, very poor. Can Boxing Day be a shining light in that dark tunnel, I`d like to think so as it would be the perfect Christmas present, but can it happen, who knows? Let`s all remain optimistic, I`m going for 1-1 though!
We`re journeying up to East Anglia for our next fixture to take on Paul Lambert`s Norwich City side.
Date:Saturday December 24 2011
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