Chelsea’s 60th match of the season will see us take on Fulham at Craven Cottage. Chelsea players should not be lingering over the 2-1 defeat against Manchester City in the 2013 FA Cup semi-final. A bigger prize than the FA Cup – at least in monetary terms – awaits us in the form of a top four finish. The importance of a top four finish cannot be stressed enough.
The Fulham vs Chelsea has been one of the toughest matches for Chelsea over the course of the campaign. Chelsea’s last victory at Craven Cottage was back in 2009. The encounter is unlikely to be easy this time around given Fulham’s form in recent weeks.
Our interests in other competitions have meant that Arsenal have moved into the third position, but we do have two games in hand over Arsenal.
Fulham have suffered just three league defeats since the turn of the year. Former Manchester United and Tottenham striker Dimitar Berbatov has been in sparkling form for the club in recent months. He has 13 goals to his name, and his threat should not be underestimated.
Benitez chose Oscar for the FA Cup semi-final, but the Brazilian has been extremely poor in recent weeks. He has played almost 70 matches since the start of the season, and it is beginning to show in his game. He is likely to be dropped to the bench in favour of Victor Moses.
Fulham players Dejagah, Diarra, and Sidwell are likely to miss out, while Ashley Cole and Gary Cahill are the major injury concerns for Rafa Benitez.
Fulham recently reached the 40 point mark, which could relax their players.
Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez speaks ahead of the match with Fulham on Wednesday night. This is the first of two games that Chelsea have over Arsenal.
Projected team line-up:
Kick-off: Craven Cottage, Wednesday, 17 Apr 2013, 20:00 GMT