Blast from the past - Julian Finney
Chelsea can go third with a win. Which they should, even though they've only won once in the last four league meetings with the friendlies from next door.
Here's a fun exercise: count the number of points that these two teams have gained from their last 10 Premier League matches combined. Go ahead, I'll wait; it's not going to take long.
If you counted six, go ahead and congratulate yourself: not only do you win a prize, but you can rest assured that your math skills are on at least a 2-year-old's level. I hope that's good enough, because there is actually no prize.
And why would there be? This isn't your glorious future; you're playing Fulham. This isn't some utopia of football; these are your dark days, the days that melt together into blackness. The weeks and the hours are grinding on...tactical notes get passed; debates about the new manager rage on; teams win; teams lose; managers get sacked; somebody loses confidence; somebody does something fun; somebody does something stupid; somebody scores a wonder goal; Eden Hazard remembers how to be awesome; David Luiz exists; Fernando Torres also exists; Gabriele Ambrosetti takes off his Eden Hazard mask; Roman Abramovich says nothing; the media jumps on a narrative...the dog days of winter are really weighing on my soul and playing a team that has only ever won nine times in 74 meetings with Chelsea is not exactly spicing things up.
But maybe I'm just disillusioned and tired and disgruntled and miserable. Because it took me 3.5 hours today to buy a phone. Online. Because I needed (NEEDED!) to spend many hundreds of dollars on something that was new and flashy and shiny and different than this positively archaic thing of technological wonder that I currently use to sometimes talk with other humans. It validates my life, ok? It is not a shallow reflection of the barcode of consumer society that I am. But I tell ya, hitting a button labeled "PROCEED" a thousand times really takes the joy of first world living out of you. It really shouldn't be that hard, should it, Google?
You know what else shouldn't that hard? Beating Fulham. Yet I'm sure it will be. Nothing's easy; my food is cold; my beer is warm; everything's falling apart. [Fun] it; let's go bowling.
Fulham: The team from Hammersmith & Fulham that's neither the Champions of Europe nor awfully horrible and moored at the bottom of the Premiership table. They have a Dimitar Berbatov and they have a Damien Duff and they do not have a Clint Dempsey. This is my off-hand knowledge.
They've scored a ton of goals (25 - more than Chelsea!) and they've conceded almost as many (23 - more than Chelsea!). They may or may not already hold the record for number of 3-3 draws in a season.
They also have a litany of players struggling with hamstring injuries - finally, the truth behind Agent Marko Marin's continued absence has been revealed! - including Alex Kacaniklic (whose name is fun to say), pseudo-wizard Bryan Ruiz, and Kieran "I can't believe he still has a career in top flight football" Richardson. In addition, Simon Davies and captain Brede Hangeland shall miss this epic clash of friendly neighbors with a hip injury and a suspension, respectively.
They play a 4-4-2. They play football.
Chelsea: Too bad they (a different "they" from the previous four paragraphs) don't hand out Premier League titles for clean sheets. At least all those excited by said halley's comet would have something to cherish and enjoy. What's that; no goals in 180 minutes? But, but...clean sheet! Boring and unimaginative? But, but...clean sheet! Tactical rafalution? I said clean sheet! Now go make me some crappy signs on your inkjet printer!
Daniel Sturridge, John Terry, Frank Lampard are all out. Gary Cahill is back in. Supposedly there will be rotation because without rotation the angular momentum gets all messed up and that's bad news for everybody. Like December 21st bad news. Uh-oh, better rotate!
Chelsea play a 4-2-3-1. Chelsea play football.
Date/Time: Wednesday, Nov. 28th; 19:45 GMT; 2:45 PM EST; Thursday, Nov.29th, 1:15 AM IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6.
TV information: Fox Soccer (USA)
Apparently this match is only broadcast in the USA and, like, São Tomé and Príncipe.