Fulham v Chelsea: Blues poised to grind out another vital victory

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Premier League table-toppers Chelsea head into their west London derby with bottom side Fulham as the deserved 9/20 favourites for victory but they may have to be patient at Craven Cottage.

The hosts are the 13/2 outsiders to secure a first win in 17 meetings with their rivals with the draw priced at 7/2.

Given that wretched derby record and Fulham’s alarming current form it makes little sense to back the Lilywhites to cause an upset.

However, with survival specialist and hard taskmaster Felix Magath now at the helm they should at least ensure this fixture is a competitive affair.

The German boss saw his side pegged back by West Brom in his first game in charge but there were signs in that 1-1 draw and indeed in other more recent games that the Cottagers still have the stomach for a relegation fight.

Fulham have at least been level at the break in their previous six Premier League outings, making the 3/1 on offer for the match to be tied at half-time with Chelsea to win the second period an attractive bet.

Meanwhile, three of the Blues’ six away wins in the league this season have been secured following spirited second-half displays and they could well be forced to sweat on taking all three points from this contest.

If Jose Mourinho’s side do struggle to break down their opponents then defender Branislav Ivanovic could well be the man to alleviate any tension.

The Serbian has proved invaluable at both ends of the pitch in recent weeks and could strike first for the third successive time on the road, an outcome available at odds of 20/1 with Ladbrokes.

Midweek hero Fernando Torres is 4/1 to open proceedings although if Mourinho decides to rotate his frontline then the same price can be had on strike partner Samuel Eto’o firing the Blues ahead.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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William Geldart

William contributed to a number of online football blogs before finally finding his pot of gold at the end of the rainbow alongside the rest of the Ladbrokes News team. Now indulging passions for football, horse racing, greyhounds, boxing and political betting. Supports Wycombe Wanderers and can be spotted at various lower league and non-league grounds across the country.