Deco and Malouda come in for Ballack and Anelka in the West London derby but some better news is that Rickey at least makes the bench with those two.
Its an even start until on 10mins a Simon Davies's free-kick beats a static Blues defence to reach Dempsey who has an absolute age to control and flick home the opening goal. We're 1-0 down and not playing well. Deco is blowing hot and cold and crowd start chanting "there's only one Michael Ballack". Apart from a wide drive from the Drog which should have hit the target, its a very lack luster Blues. Things get worse as first Malouda goes off with a hamstring problem only to be followd by Alex who limps off with 10mins of the half remaining to be replaced by the hopefully fit Rickey C. Strangely, its looking better now; Anelka had a good drive straight after coming on and Lamps goes close from a nice interchnage between Anelka and Ash. To be fair to Fulham, they have pressed hard and not given us any space but that's no excuse. Scolari's got a lot to do in the break to extend the 19 game unbeaten away streak.
No changes but its a more positive start as both Lamps and Ivanovich test Schwartzer within 3 mins. The reward comes quickly as Joe chips in to Drogba who clashes with the keeper only for the loose ball to drop to Lamps and is 1-1. Its not before time as by my reckoning we've had at least a dozen goal attempts to their one.... which they scored from. Its all Chelsea as first Lamps and Drogs combine to set Joe Cole through but his shot is straight at Schwarzer and then 2mins later Joe is through again but again he's denied by Schwarzer who then clears the follow up from the on rushing Anelka. Its midway through the half and Kalou's getting ready to come on. He replaces Joe Cole at a time when he's been ripping into Fulham. Strange call but it matters not a jot as Lamps drives in a screamer of a free kick (once he'd got rid of the interfering Deco) to give us the lead. Almost immediately Scolari is up frantically waving 5 fingers calling for a more defensive set up - why? this is Fulham not Liverpool !!
Fulham make a double substitution with 12mins to go but its still all Chelsea though Fulham are still pressing hard. With 3mins to go the ball's played up to Anelka and again he looses out to a simple tackle much to Scolari's arm waving disgust. The resulting possession ends with a Fulham corner and once again we fail to deal with a simple set peice and Dempsey scores with an an unmarked header from the penalty spot. That's 2-2 and we go right up the other end and Ash drives at Schwarzer who parries to Lamps whose shot is also cleared. There's 3mins of added time but its not enough and Chelsea throw away another 2 points.
Kiss the league goodbye at his rate !!