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Rupert Wyman 13th Feb 2011 - 10:17

Torres to give Fulham the blues

Fulham v Chelsea, 20:00 Monday, live on Sky Sports 1

Carlo Ancelotti seemingly wrote off Chelsea's title hopes this week and after Spurs win at Sunderland the Blues find themselves out of the top four and in a battle to retain their Champions League spot.

They are odds-on at 8/11 to get a win at local rivals Fulham on Monday evening which would see them leapfrog Spurs and keep their slim title hopes alive. Fulham, who have found some good form in recent weeks are 15/4 whilst the draw is 13/5.

Ancelotti's admission of defeat in the title race comes after an incredible turnaround in fortunes at Stamford Bridge.  After winning their first six league matches of the season - scoring 29 goals in the process - many believed they were destined to retain the title they won last year. They have been on terrible recent form in the league and find themselves in the unfamiliar position of 5th in the table.

The signing of Fernando Torres for £50 million proves Roman Abromovich is still committed to bringing more trophies to the club but it would take something special for them to mount a serious title challenge , they are now 11/1.

It's often been suggested that the number one priority for Chelsea is to win their first ever Champions League trophy, they return to action in that competition next week when they take on Copenhagen.  They're 9/2 third favourites to lift the European Cup at Wembley in May.

Torres was poor on his debut for Chelsea but that was understandable given the amount of hype surrounding his transfer and the pressure on him facing his former club. He is a class act and it's only a matter of time before he starts to fire for The Blues. Our 'Match Winner' special for this game is Torres to score at anytime and Chelsea to win at enhanced price of 7/4. That looks a great bet.

The Spaniard was starting to find his form in the weeks before his transfer out of Anfield and the 4/1 he scores two or more at Craven Cottage is an appealing bet if he is anything close to his best on Monday night.

It's not clear whether Ancelotti will stick with the attacking formation he played against Liverpool when starting with Anelka, Drogba and Torres. If he goes with a more conservative formation Anelka is the man most likely to miss out.

Fulham have picked up four points from their last two game and also thrashed Spurs 4-0 in the FA Cup a couple of weeks ago. Despite that, they still sit just three points clear of the relegation and won't consider themselves out of the relegation battle just yet.

They are a pretty average team but can call on quality and experience from the likes of Damien Duff and Andy Johnson and in the dour Mark Hughes, they have a manager who knows how to pick up points.

Johnson returned from injuries and poor form to rediscover his goalscoring touch recently, he came off the bench to score at Wigan and found the net in the 2-2 draw at Aston Villa last week. He is a generous 8/1 to open the scoring.

Anyone who has consistently backed Chelsea at short prices this season will have had their fingers burnt on more than one occasion but at 8/11 I think they provide excellent value to get a derby day win at Fulham. Their minds will have been focused by dropping to fifth in the table and they will have too much quality for an average Fulham side.  I fancy goals so would also have an interest bet on over 2.5 at 21/20.

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