A tasty West London derby opens up the Boxing Day fixture list as Andre Villas-Boas’ Chelsea host Fulham at Stamford Bridge.
Villas-Boas was delighted with the 1-1 draw against Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Thursday. Captain John Terry played magnificently just a day after finding out he faced prosecution for a racially aggravated public order offence against Anton Ferdinand. Chelsea will be looking for another good performance against Martin Jol’s side and Villas-Boas sees the return of David Luiz in defence. The Blues boss is without Branislav Ivanovic and John Obi Mikel, who suffered minor injuries at White Hart Lane, as well as banned Ramires. Chelsea are unbeaten in five league matches and will be looking to add to their tally as they charge back into Champions League contention.
Fulham are out to stop their West London rivals, but will be low on confidence following their 5-0 thrashing at home to Manchester United on Wednesday. Martin Jol has no fresh injury concerns in his squad, but could face a suspension problem with four players one booking away from a ban. Brede Hangeland, Chris Baird, Moussa Dembele and Danny Murphy are all close to suspension. Fulham have a difficult Christmas period and will be looking to pick up a vital point at Stamford Bridge as they look to cement their place in mid-table.
Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge has now scored nine league goals so far this season and will be desperate to add another one to the tally. Fulham will face difficulties in stopping Chelsea’s improving attack, but should not be beaten by the same scoreline as Wednesday night. Villas-Boas will hope for other results to swing his way so the Blues can jump to third.
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