West London Derby

The only tougher fixture Roy Hodgson could have picked up to begin his managerial career is a derby match at Stamford Bridge. Things wont be easy for him even at the Cottage today afternoon. The Cottagers are fighting to avoid relegation when their neighbors are fighting for the title, in opposite ends of the table. But if the Fulham coach could have selected a day to play their neighbors, he would certainly have selected the New Year Day. Chelsea are struggling to get points with Grant losing 10 players, including the spine of his side to injury and suspensions.

For Chelsea, its time to have their revenge, for they dropped points in the reverse fixture back in September. We will have fullback Ashley Cole returning after suspension. The absence of Shevchenko means Chelsea would have to gamble playing Sinclair or Kalou upfront or continue with the out-of-form Pizzaro. The rest of the squad pick themselves for the match. It would be interesting to see if Mikel is rested and Sidwell plays alongside Essien and Ballack. But I feel its not likely to happen. Also Wayne Bridge, who played well in the last match, would most probably make way for Cole. Ballack, playing his 50th match for the Blues, will need to play his part in the midfield so that Chelsea can cruise to victory at the Craven Cottage.

Guess at the squad:
Belleti, Alex, BenHaim, A.Cole
Essien, Ballack, Mikel
Wright-Phillips, Kalou, J.Cole
Subs: Taylor, Pizzaro, Sidwell, Sinclair, Bridge

Recent Form:
Chelsea: WWLWDW
Fulham: LLLDLD

TV Timing: 1810(IST) ESPN

Scoreline prediction: 0-3