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Chelsea up next for high-flying Hull
October 29, 2008 11:42 IST
Chelsea visit Hull City on Wednesday hoping to avoid becoming the latest big scalp from the capital for the Premier League's surprise package.
Hull, who this time last year were struggling in the second division and were thrashed at home by Chelsea in the League Cup, have beaten Arsenal [Images], Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United and Fulham so far in their debut season in the top flight.
There has been a joke doing the rounds that Chelsea might even pull off a "surprise win" at Hull but nobody from Stamford Bridge will be taking the trip to Humberside lightly.
Hull's incredible start continued with a 3-0 win at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday which put them level on 20 points with Chelsea who lost 1-0 to Liverpool, their first league home defeat since February 2004.
Tigers coach Phil Brown indulged in some subtle mind games on Saturday when he said "after 10 games we've got 20 points and if we do as well in the next 10 I will be a happy man."
Actually, Hull have played only nine games so either he got his maths wrong or he was implying that Hull had already written off the three points against Chelsea.
"We've got a couple of massive games on the horizon now and we've earned the right to at least give a good account of ourselves instead of everyone calling us whipping boys," Brown said. They travel to champions Manchester United [Images] at the weekend.
Chelsea should have midfielder Joe Cole back from injury and goalkeeper Petr Cech believes Chelsea will need to be at their best if they are to shake off the Liverpool defeat.
"They [Hull] have confidence and have nothing to lose, this is really dangerous," Cech told Chelsea's website.
"When you win promotion and get some positive results you go into every game fighting and enjoying it. Every year you have one of the promoted sides starting so well and this time it is Hull and we know what to expect from them."
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez said his side's win at Chelsea had sent out a message to the rest of the Premier League and he will want that underlined in thick red marker when they take on Portsmouth at Anfield.
There appears to be genuine belief in the city that this Liverpool side can compete all the way for a first title since 1990 but they know any slips will be punished.
Fourth-placed Arsenal host Tottenham Hotspur in a north-London derby that Spurs fans may well be viewing with a little more optimism than they were three days ago.
A whirlwind chain of events at White Hart Lane saw Juande Ramos and his coaching staff sacked and replaced by wily Harry Redknapp, who quit Portsmouth to try and rescue a club hurtling towards relegation.
Spurs are still bottom of the league despite a morale-boosting 2-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers on Sunday and all eyes will be on Redknapp's first team selection.
"Sometimes you've got to move forward if things aren't working and Harry's come in and had an instant impact," Spurs striker Darren Bent told the club's website.
Sixth-placed Manchester United, held 1-1 at Everton on Saturday, host West Ham United while fifth-placed Aston Villa host Blackburn Rovers.
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