Fulham v Chelsea. Would the real Chelsea stand up!.

Tonight is our local derby. It's Fulham v Chelsea and a game that always has an edge to it in any season. Tonight however, the focus wi...

Tonight is our local derby. It's Fulham v Chelsea and a game that always has an edge to it in any season. Tonight however, the focus will remain on Chelsea. Forgive me Fulham fans as I know you will be reading this, but with Chelsea sitting 13 points behind United we simply have to win. I am holding onto the fact I still believe with the games we have remaining we can still catch United and we have to start with a win at the Cottage.

However, we all know these games are not as simple as a game of football. They can be a battle, games full of drama and usually goals and tonight Chelsea have to show to the rest of the Premier League that we haven't given up (even if Carlo said what he did the other day!).

Fulham is no easy game. At the Cottage, Fulham have an impressive record. They have only lost three home games out of the 13 they have played in the Premier League. That also doesn't include when they smacked four past Spurs in the FA Cup the other week. Their last three league games at home they have beaten West Brom, Stoke and Newcastle and sit on 30 points in a healthy position.

The signing of Dembele has been a good one, with Johnson back and with Chelsea old boy Eidur Gudjohnsen added to the ranks and in line to feature tonight, Fulham are a threat to Chelsea. The likes of Dempsey will look to get in and around the box at every opportunity and will look to cause problems from set pieces. Hangerland will do the same so Chelsea need to be disciplined and organised tonight to deal with the threat Fulham pose.

That's the thing about this league. You will look at both sides on paper tonight and see (if you are honest) that Chelsea look the much stronger side, but you have to play to earn the right to win games. Against Liverpool we didn't like so many other games this season, and were punished. Tonight, if any of our players fail to turn up it could be the same story. We have to be aware of Fulham. They also have the players who could make the difference.

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If you are Fulham and you prepare yourselves for Chelsea tonight then you would expect pretty much the same side to take to the pitch that faced Liverpool last weekend. I am not so sure that will be the case.

For me, knowing David Luiz (who was the only person that impressed me against Liverpool) will start the game, questions are being asked as to where he will play. I predict he will start next to JT and Ivanovic will move to right back. In my eyes, Chelsea are more solid with Ivanovic playing there. Carlo's focus with the defence has to be to remain solid first and foremost, and then build on that base with Cole getting forward down the left hand side. Carlo has spoken of rotation but I believe JT will play tonight.

It will also be interesting to see the formation Carlo decides to go with tonight. I think it will remain a midfield three but I just wonder if Ramires will come in next to Lampard tonight with Essien dropping into the holding role in place of Mikel. If you take Mikel out of the side then we lose his ability to make the ball stick to his feet and to get hold of possession and knock it around. Away from home, this is an important part of our game, but I just wonder if Carlo will look to freshen things up.

I for one am expecting much more from Essien and Lampard tonight. Two of our mainstays and big names didn't do it for me against Liverpool so we all are looking at these two to get their arses in gear tonight.

Up front I believe Torres will start. It's what Carlo chooses to do with the players around him and how to play them. There is no question Drogba and Anelka weren't in it like the rest of the players last week and will be looking to put things right given the chance tonight. Carlo could stick with the same formation and play Anelka in behind Drogba and Torres, or he could drop one of them for Malouda.

All these questions will be answered about an hour before kick off. The problem for me is what questions we could possibly be faced with or having to deal with after the final whistle. Chelsea need to win tonight. The likes of Ferguson, Mancini, Redknapp and Wenger will all be watching expecting Chelsea to slip up once again.

Fulham will be looking to capitalise on any Chelsea slip ups, and will look to play their own game, to fight for every ball and play to their strengths and Chelsea HAVE to match them to have a chance of winning this one.

It's now or never for Chelsea. It all well and good coming out and speaking in the press about our hunger and desire and then putting on the type of performance like Liverpool that goes against every message you as players are trying to put across.

It's time for Chelsea to stand up and be counted, to play "our football" and get on the run of wins each and everyone of us is longing for. We are Chelsea, defending Champions with two world class additions to our squad.

It's time we played like we are!.


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