Fulham play Chelsea on the road tomorrow at Stamford Bridge. The game takes place at 7:45 UK time and 2:45 EST in the U.S. The game will be seen live on Fox Soccer Channel in the United States.
As a fan I am trying to be realistic. To expect Fulham to go into Stamford Bridge and beat Chelsea in a mid-week game I think is a tall task. I would be thriled if they can get a draw.
You happen to be catching Chelsea at possibly the worst time. They just lost Sunday 2-0 at Liverpool. I have a feeling they might take their frustration out on the Cottagers.
Fulham had a miraculous goal by Brede Hangeland in the last seconds of their game against Aston Villa to earn a point. All signs point to an extremely difficult match-up for Fulham.
Also, to add to Fulham's issues they lost both their left and right backs in the game against Aston Villa to injury. Both Carlos Salcido and Chris Baird will be out for the game on Wednesday.
Currently Chelsea are in first place in the league. The manager of Chelsea is Carlo Ancellotti. Players to watch include Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, and Ashley Cole. This could quite possibly be the most talented team in the world right now.
So with all of that said about Chelsea, what can we expect from Fulham? I have a feeling you are going to see a team that will play defensive, and hope to get an opportunity for a counter-attack. I wouldn't be surprised to see Fulham play for the draw. Below are " my five keys to survival for Fulham against Chelsea."
1. Mark Schwarzer needs to play an exceptional game. It is match-ups like playing Chelsea that you want a veteran goalkeeper. Schwarzer has stepped up many times in these situations. For Fulham to have a chance they will need Schwarzer to be in top form.
2. Who will fill in for Chris Baird and Carlos Salcido? If you are a Fulham fan these two positions could be under constant pressure against Chelsea. I have a feeling you will see John Panstil and Stephen Kelly stepping up to these roles of right and left back. This is a tough spot and the pressure will be on. This key could ultimately be the most important one of the match.
3. Danny Murphy and Dickson Etuhu need to control the midfield. This will be a tall task but the play in the center of the field is crucial for Fulham to contain Chelsea. Murphy could have a huge role in this match-up.
4. Clint Dempsey needs to take chances and create scoring opportunities. I have a feeling that the Cottagers will have limited opportunities to score. Dempsey is fanstastic at creating his own offense. He will need to get as many shot on net as possible.
5. Somehow the Fulham defense nees to contain Didier Drogba. Last year at Stamford Bridge the game completely changed when John Panstil was forced out of the match in the second half. Drogba scored shortly afterwards, and then Chelsea really turned up the heat. The Fulham defenders need to keep him under control as much as possible.
I would like to say I am confident going into this match, but I don't have a good feeling about this game. My prediction is a 2-1 loss for Fulham at Chelsea.