Birmingham City v Chelsea - Match preview

25 December 2009 11:37
Birmingham City welcome table-toppers Chelsea to St Andrew's on Boxing Day with both outfits eager to get back to winning ways.

Following a poor start to this season's Premier League campaign, Birmingham have startled many as they remain on a lengthy unbeaten run.

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They have won six and drawn three of their last nine games and Carlo Ancelotti's Chelsea should offer a stiff test if they are to take that spell to ten matches.

Alex McLeish watched his City side pick up a 1-1 draw at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon as their resolve continued to shine in unfavourable situations.

Seb Larsson equalised Diniyar Bilyaletdinov's opener as the second city outfit continue to rise up the table. They now sit in seventh place, one place ahead of Liverpool.

Chelsea only managed a 1-1 stalemate at West Ham United and they have looked a mere shadow of the side that had won five Premier League games on the spin without conceding through October and November.

They have now won just one of their last six fixtures in all competition and this record will be infuriating Ancelotti.

He will know a win at St Andrew's won't come easily with Birmingham in such fine form.

Frank Lampard has notched in the last two games and he seems to have put his shooting boots back on again.

Cameron Jerome has started to find the net for City after a slow start to the season and he will want to aid his burgeoning reputation with another explosive display against John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho at the heart of the visitors' backline.

Chelsea's Didier Drogba will play his last game before leaving to play for Ivory Coast at the African Cup of Nations in Angola.

Nicolas Anelka has been in exceptional form on all fronts this term, but he is missing with a calf strain.

Ancelotti may put his faith in the youth with Daniel Sturridge and Fabio Borini in line for a starting berth and they will want to help extend their four point lead at the top of the Premier League table.

The title challengers will still be without Michael Essien (hamstring) and Jose Bosingwa (knee).

Source: DSG