Chelsea v Fulham: Match Preview

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Chelsea v Fulham; Stamford Bridge; Barclays Premier League; Monday 26 December 2011, 13:00

Team News

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas could be boosted by the return of Brazilian defender David Luiz for the Boxing Day clash with Fulham.

Branislav Ivanovic and John Obi Mikel were substituted in last night's clash against Tottenham with muscle injuries, and both remain doubtful for Monday's game, while Ramires is suspended.

Meanwhile, Fulham have no fresh injury concerns and are set to welcome Steve Sidwell back into the first-team fold after a hernia operation.

However, Cottagers boss Martin Jol will be well aware of the fact that Brede Hangeland, Chris Baird, Moussa Dembele, Danny Murphy and Sidwell are all one booking away from a ban.

Cech targets derby demolition

Petr Cech is confident that Chelsea can close the gap on Manchester City, and build on last night's 1-1 draw away at Tottenham with three points against Fulham on Boxing Day.

The Blues goalkeeper reveals how his teammates were left rueing a number of missed opportunities at White Hart Lane, and can feel a little hard done by not to have taken more from a tightly-contested encounter.

"We levelled the game and I think we did really well," said Cech. "In the second half we put them under pressure from the start and had a lot of chances but we didn't score.

"Right at the end they could have won it but overall we have to say it's a good point.

"Both teams had chances, I think second half we created enough chances and could have won the game, but credit to them we could have won the game and as we all know we haven't won there for some time now so it's a good point."

Chelsea now head into the festive period 11 points behind the leaders, and two behind third-placed Spurs, but Cech is confident Chelsea can capitalise on back-to-back home games which brings an end to the 2011 schedule.

"We can't look too much at the table, we need to keep going step by step, try to win our games and try to catch up as many points as we can," he added.

"We depend on everybody else, so it's up to them how they are going to do but we just need to keep winning our games.

"[Fulham] will be a difficult game because they lost 5-0 at home in their last game.

"It's a big London derby and they will want to bounce back, so Chelsea is a great motivation to say sorry to their supporters after Man United but we are in a situation where we need to keep winning."

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