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Stuart Dalgleish 22nd Aug 2009 - 21:07

Fighting Fulham can cause Chelsea problems

Carlo Ancelotti gets his first taste of a West London derby as The Blues make the short trip to Craven Cottage.

The Italian has enjoyed a successful start to his English managerial career and but for some resolute opposition defending the margins of Chelsea's league victories would surely have been much higher than the 2-1 and 3-1 respective scorelines they have achieved.

One thing that will have irked the double Champions League winner though is Chelsea's lapses at the back where they've allowed the opposition to take the lead in both their league games and the Community Shield.

Fair enough The Blues have shown good character in coming back to win those games in the league, and pick up the Community Shield after a penalty shoot-out win but by means are they rock solid at the back - Hull and Sunderland both only had three shots on target in those matches and scored with one of them.

Fulham, despite Andy Johnson missing out through injury, will certainly fancy their chances of upsetting their neighbours.

Damien Duff will be making his full debut and is sure to be pumped up and hoping to make a point after been sold by Chelsea three years ago, and with the visitors not exactly flushed with wide players he, along with American ace Clint Dempsey on the right, will fancy his chances of putting some balls in the box for the likes of Bobby Zamora and Erik Nevland to attack (should he shake off his foot injury in time to play).

Along with Duff making his debut should be Jonathan Greening, the bullish midfield man has arrived on loan from West Brom and will hope to form a good partnership with Danny Murphy at the heart of Fulham's midfield.

Chelsea will certainly have to work hard to create chances, while Roy Hodgson doesn't have the quality of players that Ancelotti has to choose from he has a squad that shows great fighting spirit which will be further enhanced following Greening's arrival.

The Cottagers are a big price of 11/2 to claim the three points, which they haven't done since 2006 on home turf. Last season's match here finished all square and that's a 13/5 shot to happen again while Chelsea are 4/7 to make it three from three this season.

I fully expect The Blues to win the match but over the last few season's Fulham have got a draw or better in these fixtures so it won't be straight forward for the Premier League favourites.

In Johnson's absence Bobby Zamora will be leading the line, and after a few barren season's the former West Ham man has started this campaign in fine style - bagging three goals in his first four games, with his confidence back he should be a real handful for Chelsea's defence and looks a good price at 10/1 to open the scoring in this game, especially as Chelsea have fallen behind in all three of their games this season.

For Chelsea any number of players could hit the back of the net, but Frank Lampard in particular enjoys playing against Fulham; helping himself to seven goals in his last eight games against The Cottagers, the midfield man is an 11/2 shot to grab the first of this game.

Fulham v Chelsea - Sunday 16:00

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