Chelsea faces Fulham in the English Premier League on Friday night at Stamford Bridge. The sides met last month as the Cottagers won 2-1 at home after a red card for the Blues. That ended a 21-match unbeaten run for Chelsea against their West London rivals.
After 20 matches, Chelsea are languishing down in 10th place in the table with a +1 goal difference. Their last 13 matches in all competitions have seen seven losses including 4-0 at Man City in the FA Cup. In the league, it’s just two wins in 11 fixtures right now under Graham Potter.
After a 2-0 win post-World Cup (vs Bournemouth at home), they could only draw 1-1 at Nottingham Forest. A 1-0 home loss to Man City preceded the heavy cup defeat to the same opponents. Chelsea then lost 2-1 at Fulham after a red card for Joao Felix early in the second half. Some key goalkeeper saves then secured Potter’s side a 1-0 home win against Crystal Palace. They drew 0-0 at Liverpool in their last match after missing four “big chances”.
Chelsea Team News
The Blues have signed Enzo Fernandez for a British record fee and he could make his debut immediately in midfield. Noni Madueke is pushing to play down the right to preference to Hakim Ziyech, who saw a loan move to PSG break down. Joao Felix remains suspended but Mykhailo Mudryk could start on the left wing.
N’Golo Kante, Denis Zakaria, Christian Pulisic, Raheem Sterling, Armando Broja, Wesley Fofana and Ben Chilwell remain out injured. Reece James could return to the squad after a knee injury. Kepa will continue in goal with Edouard Mendy absent with a broken finger.
This is a must-win for Chelsea in the race for a top-four spot. They already sit 10 points behind Man Utd in fourth.
The new signings should boost the entire squad and mean motivation is 100%.
After a run of four losses in seven matches, Fulham then hit a really strong run of results. Their next nine fixtures yielded 19 points with six victories. Straight after the World Cup break, they won five successive matches in all competitions. They were league wins at Crystal Palace (3-0) and Leicester (1-0) and at home to Southampton and Chelsea (both 2-1).
After beating the Blues, an 89th minute goal saw a 1-0 loss at Newcastle as Alexander Mitrovic missed a penalty at 0-0. A 1-0 home defeat to Tottenham followed despite only giving up 0.91 Expected Goals. In their most recent fixture, Marco Silva rested some players in a 1-1 home FA Cup draw with Sunderland. They put up 2.35 xG and missed all five “big chances” in that result.
Fulham Team News
Neeskens Kebano is Fulham’s only injured absentee on the wing. Cedric Soares has signed on loan from Arsenal but the right-back may need to settle for a place on the bench.
In midfield, Saša Lukić from Torino has joined to boost numbers but he is not expected to start. The side largely picks itself with Mitrovic available to start having missed the first meeting between the sides.
The Cottagers play on the front foot, getting their fullbacks forward and defending quite high up the pitch. They will play to win even away at a traditional “top six” side.
Their 10 away matches have seen 28 goals scored (14 for, 14 against). Their matches tend to have a fair number of goals but they’ve failed to score in their last two in the league.
Chelsea have won just 2 of their last 11 EPL fixtures
Chelsea are undefeated in their last 16 home matches against Fulham (all comps)
Chelsea have kept clean sheets in 6 of their last 7 home matches against Fulham (all comps)
Fulham have failed to score in their last 2 PL matches
Fulham have seen Over 2.5 goals in 16 of their 21 PL matches this season (league high)
Fulham have won 4 of their last 7 away EPL matches
This looks set to be a tight match. Marco Silva’s side are playing some impressive football and are capable of winning matches on their travels. Chelsea may squeeze out three points but a draw is also quite possible so the double chance market is worth looking into.