Date: Friday 3rd February 2023
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Kick-off: 20:00 GMT
It feels longer than a couple of weeks since we last played – who said time flies when you’re having fun? It has been fun though. I mean, who doesn’t like a bit of shopping? Well, most clubs, managers, pundits and sports journo apparently, judging by the tears and tantrums we’ve prompted. It’ll be interesting to see if we can find all of the new additions somewhere to sit today as we take on Fulham at Stamford Bridge.
Our meeting last month was a tough one, made harder by the sending off of Felix, who had until then, looked lively. Despite the defeat, you could just see some early signs of improvement from us and we went on to get a win against Palace and a draw at Anfield, in spite of still having a full XI out injured.
Fulham showed their resilience to take all 3-points against us at Craven Cottage but went on to lose their next two games. They still come into the game two points better off in seventh place though and whilst we will have possibly 2 or 3 players tentatively coming back from injury for some minutes, and maybe one or two new signings getting a run-out, Fulham will bring an established XI minus the injuries.
Can’t call it right now but hope it lives up to all that deadline day excitement.
Going into today’s game, Chelsea manager Graham Potter, says “It’s exciting. It’s a test for me of course and for the staff and everybody but it’s an exciting one. We’ve got a lot of really good players. We have to create an environment where there’s healthy competition and they can push each other and at the same time understand that there’s going to be frustration at times because only 11 can play. But we’ve got a lot of important games and we need to improve our results so it’s about playing, supporting the team and being ready to play.
There’s a youthful dynamic there. You can see the direction we’ve gone down in terms of the type of player we’ve tried to sign. We’re trying to build something for the now and for the future. It’s always about how they help the ones that are here as well and how we lift performance. We’ve had a pretty unprecedented injury situation here to deal with as well, so lots of things have happened. We hope that we’ve learned a lot from that period, gained a lot of strength from that period and we can attack the second half of the season with positivity and I’m looking forward to it.”
Fulham manager, Marco Silva, meanwhile, says “I know everyone is talking about them because it was a big amount of money in January but it is not the first time. All of us, we know the difference between certain types of clubs. Last summer, they spent a good amount of money too and they strengthened their squad and they were able to do the same this transfer window and show their power. If it is too much money or not, it is not for me to talk about it, but just to show the power and show their ambition to improve the squad. It’s clear with younger players and fresh legs what they are trying to do and lucky them they have all this power to sign new players.”
For Chelsea, we are still without Denis Zakaria, Armando Broja (ACL), Christian Pulisic (knee), N’Golo Kante, Edouard Mendy (finger), and Mateo Kovacic. Wesley Fofana (knee) is also not ready for a return, although Ben Chilwell (both hamstring), Reece James (knee), Raheem Sterling (hamstring) and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are available to play a part. Joao Felix serves the last game of his 3-match suspension.
For Fulham, Sasa Lukic and Cedric Soares face late fitness tests but Neeskens Kebano is the only long-term absentee.
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Arrizabalaga; Chalobah, Thiago Silva, Badiashile; Azpilicueta, Kovacic, Hall, Cucurella; Mount, Mudryk, Havertz
FULHAM (Possible line-up): Leno; Tete, Diop, Ream, Robinson; Palhinha, Reed, Pereira; Decordova-Reid, Mitrovic, Willian
- Fulham won the reverse fixture 2-1 at Craven Cottage last month.
- Chelsea are unbeaten in all 15 Premier League home matches against Fulham.
- Fulham have only managed two wins in 37 away league games against Chelsea.
- Chelsea have only won four of their past 15 games in all competitions.
- Fulham are one short of equalling the club Premier League record of five away victories in a season, set in 2003-04.
- Chelsea are without a win in all nine Premier League games this season against the teams currently above them in the table.
- Fulham are vying to win a fourth top-flight London derby for the first time in a single season.
Sportsmole: Chelsea 2-1 Fulham