Chelsea pre-match latest: Including Fulham preview and Mata

A round-up of news and views relating to Chelsea ahead of the match at Fulham tonight.

Fernando Torres, Frank Lampard and John Terry are all likely to start tonight’s match at Craven Cottage having been benched for the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City on Sunday. Arsenal’s 0-0 draw with Everton last night means that Chelsea can go above them into third in the Premier League with a win over Fulham.

Lampard is looking to inch closer to Chelsea’s goal record, having been stuck on 200 goals for the Blues for over a month with Rafa Benitez’s rotation policy seeing him spend plenty of time on the bench. Lampard has a maximum of ten games left to get the three goals required to overtake Bobby Tambling’s record.

Rafa Benitez has said that the superb form of Juan Mata this season means it is unlikely he will play Fernando Torres and Demba Ba together for Chelsea, as it might risk lessening the Spaniard’s influence:

"If you change the shape, you have to change these players, players who can be very influential in the game like Mata, who's done well in the middle but would have to go wide. Can you be sure it would be better?”

Mata has said that Chelsea are targeting two away wins this week to put themselves in control of the race for a Champions League place. The Blues follow tonight’s trip to Fulham by visiting Liverpool at the weekend.

Petr Cech has challenged his team mates to respond to the loss against Manchester City by flying out of the blocks in the derby against Fulham, saying that it will be a tough match as the home side can play without any pressure now they have secured their Premier League place for next season.

David Luiz and Sergio Aguero have made peace with each other after the Argentine apologised for his two-footed lunge during the match at Wembley. The pair took to Twitter last night to announce their reconciliation.

On HITC today, we look at whether Kevin De Bruyne could scupper Chelsea’s attempts to sign Andre Schurrle, and also argue that a Europa League win would not cover up what has been a disappointing season for the Blues.

Aaron Ramsey believes that Arsenal’s unbeaten run has put the pressure on Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur in the race for a Champions League place. Arsenal are currently third, although Chelsea can go above them with a win over Fulham.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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