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Cottagers 10/3 to nick rare win over Chelsea in ‘the dourest derby’

Chelsea have developed a real knack of serving up footballing gruel in their encounters with West London’s top flight incumbents in recent years, with just one of their last eight matches against Fulham yielding more than 2.5 goals. Fulham may not have beaten the Blues since 2006, but with their visitors in the midst of a miserable away run the Cottagers are worth backing for victory at 10/3 with Coral.

A satisfying aspect of recent seasons for those of a Cottager persuasion has been their ability to so often frustrate the lofty aspirations of their Blue rivals. The last five meetings between the sides have ended with honours even and Coral make it 5/2 that the sequence of stalemates continues.

The Cottagers are currently putting the finishing touches to their Premier League survival campaign and find themselves on a fertile run of four wins and three draws in their last nine outings. Their home form has been especially pleasing, with a 1-0 reverse at the hands of champions-elect Manchester United the one Craven Cottage outing in the last four in which Jol’s men failed to collect maximum points.

Away from Stamford Bridge, Chelsea’s season has a distinctly chequered look, with just two wins gleaned from their last 11 road trips in all competitions. During that period they’ve fail to beat teams  of all stripes, from Brentford, to Steaua Bucharest, to Manchester United, indicating a fundamental lack of away nous that transcends the quality of their opposition.

Fulham may not be the division’s most watertight defensive unit, but the improvement they’ve shown in this regard has underpinned their improved form in recent fixtures. Having gone on a 14-match clean-sheet-free run after their 0-0 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, they’ve shut out the opposition in four of their last seven matches. The Cottagers clean sheet is 5/1 with Coral.

With Fulham’s ability to frustrate the Blues allied to an improved run of form and the malevolent blossom of fatigue in Chelsea legs overworked by chasing multiple prizes, it’s far from impossible to foresee a narrow win for the hosts. A 1-0 victory for Michael Jackson’s favourite side is a prince-of-pop-ly 16/1 with Coral.