Chelsea fan Stephen Hopkins provides an insight into the opposition camp ahead of Fulham’s trip to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
After a decent start to the campaign, form has been somewhat mixed for Chelsea more recently in what has been another season of drama at Stamford Bridge so far...We made a decent start and looked really good early on. But November has proved a difficult month, both on and off the pitch. Every team goes through a bit of a slump here and there, so hopefully we can get it out of our system.
What are your thoughts on the appointment of Rafa Benitez, Chelsea's ninth manager since Roman Abramovich took over? We’ve had a fair few to say the least. Of course, every club wants stability but we might have to wait a while for that yet.
Do you agree with those that think Benitez will get the best out of Fernando Torres? I’m sure that there are those that think that can happen. It’s certainly possible, but will that mean getting the best out of the entire squad?
Eden Hazard, Oscar and Juan Mata - how impressed have you been with that attacking trio this term? Oscar gets better with every game that he plays, and he will be a huge star over the coming seasons. Juan Mata (pictured below) has been our best player this term, having enjoyed a good campaign last year too. Eden Hazard made an explosive start, but hasn’t quite been as good in recent weeks, but he’s a threat. On their day though, they can be virtually unplayable.
Chelsea are without a win in their last five matches - how important will three points be on Wednesday night? Aside from the fact that it's a local derby – a game that's always important to win – there’s no denying that we need a bit of a lift. We need to get back to winning ways, but that said, Fulham have proved a difficult team to beat in recent years. But if we are to start picking up the points and keeping in touch with the two Manchester clubs then this has to be nothing less.
Fulham have certainly made life difficult for Chelsea in recent seasons, what sort of game do you anticipate? Fulham have made a good start to the season and they're a side that's always capable of something. They’ve scored quite a few goals this season, and worryingly we've looked a bit vulnerable at the back. However, Benitez’s best quality is his ability to keep things tight. I think it will be a tight affair, but one that we will ultimately win.
Clint Dempsey enjoyed a decent scoring record against you guys, obviously he's no longer with us, so with that in mind who do you feel poses the biggest threat for Fulham? Dempsey did have a good record against us, but right now Dimitar Berbatov is the player that is most in form. The man is a pure goalscoring machine and when he’s at the top of his game he's a real danger.
What are your stand out memories from games between Chelsea and Fulham of the past? I’ve been to quite a few now, but unfortunately as I said earlier, Fulham tend to play well against us. In recent years the game that stands out most is probably our 2-1 win on 28th December 2009. It stands out because Michael Ballack had his best-ever game in a Chelsea shirt.
For those Fulham fans making the short trip to the Bridge, what are the best and worst things about visiting the Blues' home? Hopefully the worst thing for them will be the result, and if that is the case, the best thing will be the short journey home.
Where would you recommend for Fulham fans to get a pint before the game? The beer in the ground isn’t bad or unreasonable in price. The Cock and Hen on North End Road is good though.
What's one song Fulham fans are bound to hear? While I’m not sure how much longer we can sing it - 'we know what we are, champions of Europe, we know what we are' - will definitely be heard.
Score prediction: I think it will be a tight affair with Juan Mata making the difference in a 1-0 win for the Blues.