Fulham faces Chelsea in the English Premier League on Thursday at Craven Cottage. The Cottagers sit seventh in the table with 28 points already accrued towards survival. The Blues languish in 10th spot, three points off Fulham having played one fewer match. Graham Potter’s side have lost four of their last six matches and will be in a full-blown crisis should they lose here.
After a strong start to the season, Fulham had a slight dip in results. From rounds four to ten, they only picked up seven points with four losses in seven fixtures. Marco Silva’s side have been in outstanding form since then, taking 16 points from eight matches and winning five of those.
A 3-0 home win against Aston Villa and a 3-2 win at Leeds preceded a three-match winless run albeit they lost to (ten-man) Man City and Man Utd, both due to last-minute goals conceded. Since then, they’ve resumed post-World Cup with a 3-0 win at Crystal Palace, a 2-1 win against Southampton, and a 1-0 victory at Leicester. Their last match saw a 2-0 FA Cup win at Hull City.
Fulham Team News
The big news is that key striker Aleksandar Mitrovic is suspended for this West London derby. He has scored 11 of Fulham’s 30 goals so far and is a huge loss. Carlos Vinicius is expected to deputise having played 421 minutes this season without scoring.
Neeskens Kebano remains absent long-term with Shane Duffy is struggling with illness in defence. Layvin Kurzawa and Manor Solomon are back from injury to boost options whilst Willian will start again his former club.
Fulham’s matches tend to have plenty of goals with 57 (30 scored, 27 conceded) in their fixtures thus far. They will want to beat their West London rivals in this derby match having gone 21 matches without beating Chelsea.
Without Mitrovic, Fulham carry less threat and may need to be a little more circumspect as a team knowing that it won’t be easy to chase the match if trailing.
The Blues are in atrocious form. In the league, they’ve won just once in eight fixtures and they’ve lost four of their last six. A 4-1 loss at Brighton preceded a tame 1-0 home surrender to Arsenal. They were then beaten at Newcastle with barely a chance created. After the World Cup hiatus, Chelsea resumed with a 2-0 home victory against Bournemouth.
They’ve since drawn 1-1 at Nottingham Forest having led 1-0, before a 1-0 home defeat to Man City. In their last match, Chelsea were thrashed 4-0 in the FA Cup at Man City albeit with a couple of players rested.
Chelsea Team News
Graham Potter has a host of injuries to contend with. In defence, Reece James, Wesley Fofana, and Ben Chilwell are missing whilst there could be a debut for Benoit Badiashile. Edouard Mendy is absent in goal whilst N’Golo Kante is still out long-term and Ruben Loftus-Cheek is not ready to return yet.
Christian Pulisic, Raheem Sterling, and Armando Broja are all injured in the attack. Joao Felix was signed on loan from Atletico Madrid but the club have kept it quiet whether he has been registered in time to play this match. Teenager Lewis Hall is pushing to start at left back whilst Denis Zakaria will return to start in midfield.
Potter and his side will be desperate for a win that would take them back up to seventh in the table, making things look a lot rosier. The Blues will look to play on the front foot and won’t settle for a draw at any point.
A defeat would see the pressure ramp up on the coach and the players so there may be a lack of confidence in Chelsea’s play.
Fulham have won 4 of their last 8 home PL matches
Fulham have scored in 8 of their 9 home matches (PL)
Fulham have won 4 matches in a row (all comps)
Chelsea are 21 matches unbeaten against Fulham (all comps)
There have been under 2.5 goals scored in 8 of Chelsea’s last 9 PL games
Chelsea have lost 5 of their last 7 matches in all comps
Fulham are the side in much better form going into this match, even if their historical results against Chelsea are poor. The loss of Mitrovic feels like a key factor and could see a lower-scoring match played out than usual.