Chelsea vs. Fulham: Squad news, TV & streaming information, preview

Clive Rose

It's time to put up or shut up.  No more excuses; play like champions.  Even if that's just the Champions of Europa.

Going winless in four straight is not a familiar feeling although it did happen twice last season and twice more the season before that.  So perhaps we should be more familiar with it than we'd like to claim?  The fact that it still hurts is a good thing though.  It means we're still expecting greatness.

Mourinho may talk of youth and inexperience and long-term plans to lighten the pressure, keep things fun, and ensure morale stays high.  He may be right, he may be wrong; you may agree, you may disagree - none of that even really matters right now.

Because let's not kid ourselves.  This is a must win.

Date/Time: Saturday, September 21, 2003, 17:30 BST; 12:30pm EDT; 10pm IST

Venue/Location: Stamford Bridge, SW6

Forecast: Early fog lifting for pleasant bits of sunshine, hopefully mirroring our moods

On TV: Sky Sports 1 (UK); NBCSN (USA); ESPN/HD (India)

Online: SkyGo (UK); NBC Sports Live Extra (USA)

Chelsea squad news: Everybody is fit and available outside of the two young center backs in recovery, Tomas Kalas and Kenneth Omeuro, but since nobody seems to be sure of our first choice eleven at the moment, it's almost impossible to guess who's going to play outside of maybe Ramires.

Juan Mata has to start to this match, right?

Chelsea lost a Champions League group stage home match for the first time since 2003 on Wednesday but Mourinho is still undefeated at the Bridge in the Premier League (62 and counting).  Let's not throw that away, too.

Fulham squad news: The big thing to keep an eye on here is Dimitar Berbatov's late fitness test, as the Bulgarian's hamstrings seem to be as rickety as the Chelsea striker corps' finishing abilities.

Other notable absentees will include Bryan Ruiz (which probably means another start for Damien Duff at Stamford Bridge), Aaron Hughes (to be replaced by Philippe Senderos - which means that we should send out our striker in a Drogba mask), and Maarten Stekelenburg (Schwarzer's replacement to be replaced by David Stockdale).

Fulham have started this season just as badly as they finished the last one, with just one win in four and that one win coming against the suddenly abject Sunderland.  Unsurprisingly, Martin Jol has climbed into second place in the Premier League Manager Sack Race.

View from the enemy: Cottagers Confidential

Previously: Despite just a few miles separating the two teams, Chelsea and Fulham have only met 48 times previously, with Chelsea winning 29 and losing just three.  But with Fulham's ascendancy into the Premier League twelve years ago, some semblance of a rivalry worthy of the West London Derby name has started to re-emerge.  In addition to Clint Dempsey's sharp elbows, a series of 1-1 and 0-0 draws had elevated Fulham from minor annoyance to genuinely irritating bogey team, although the David Luiz-inspired 3-0 last time at Craven Cottage has hopefully ended that streak.

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