Premier League: Chelsea vs. Fulham Match Preview, Predictions, Team News, Line-ups
One day after suffering a humiliating 1-0 loss to Middlesbrough, the Blues will be back at Stamford Bridge to face the irate supporters. The previous day, Marco Silva‘s team lost 2-1 to a legendary Liverpool comeback.
Chelsea arrived at the Riverside during a period when the Boro team was beleaguered by injuries, ineligible players, and international call-ups.
It seemed as though scoring four goals in a row against Preston North End in the FA Cup would be the ideal preamble for their trip to another Championship team, Middlesbrough.
The cards were heavily stacked against Michael Carrick’s team in the EFL Cup, but on Tuesday night, the highly-rated Hayden Hackney helped Middlesbrough to an unforgettable victory, and the former Manchester United midfielder unexpectedly triumphed against the West London giants once more.
It remains to be seen if Boro can strike twice at Stamford Bridge on January 23, but Pochettino’s top goal right now is a third straight Premier League victory before Chelsea can start dreaming of revenge and a possible trip to Wembley.
Even though Chelsea defeated Luton Town and Crystal Palace in back-to-back games, winning by a single goal each time, to cap off a forgettable 2023, they are unable to break into the single digits and are currently ranked tenth in the standings, three points behind Brighton & Hove Albion in seventh.
Chelsea turned around their Stamford Bridge fortunes to grab nine points from a possible nine on familiar ground in December, after winning only three Premier League games at home from January 2023 to November 2023. However, not since July 2020 have they scored four consecutive top-flight victories at home.
Similar to how Fulham’s first EFL Cup semi-final matchup with Liverpool on Wednesday night preceded their advancement to the FA Cup fourth round, victory by the same score was momentarily expected at Anfield after the team defeated Rotherham United 1-0 in the former competition. This was due to a surprise goal from Willian.
The remainder of the first half saw the Cottagers’ defensive dominance come to the fore, but halfway through the second half, a deflected goal by Curtis Jones gave Liverpool the equaliser. Then, with the help of substitutes Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo, the latter scored the game-winning goal.
Fulham will have at least 90 minutes at Craven Cottage on January 24 to turn the tie around despite losing by one goal against Liverpool for the second time in two months.
However, Silva’s primary goal for the time being is to put an end to the team’s dismal run of away performances in the Premier League.
In their 2023 season finale, the 13th-placed Cottagers defeated Arsenal with justifiable victory.
However, since defeating Everton on the first weekend of the season, they have lost all four of their away games in the top flight, conceding at least three goals each time.
Mykhaylo Mudryk and Armando Broja scored goals quickly in Chelsea’s 2-0 victory at Craven Cottage in October.
Fulham defeated the Blues 2-0 at home in a Division Two match in October 1979, 45 years after the Blues’ last home defeat.
Chelsea Premier League form:
L L W L W W
Chelsea form (all competitions):
W L W W W L
Fulham Premier League form:
W WL L L W
Fulham form (all competitions):
W L L W W L
Numerous injured Chelsea players, including Wesley Fofana (knee), Marc Cucurella (ankle), Robert Sanchez (knee), Trevoh Chalobah (thigh), Lesley Ugochukwu (hamstring), Reece James (hamstring), and Romeo Lavia (thigh), will be watching from the sidelines this weekend in addition to Africa Cup of Nations representative Nicolas Jackson.
The unfortunate Christopher Nkunku is also under suspicion after missing the match against Boro due to a hip issue. Ben Chilwell (hamstring), Carney Chukwuemeka (knee), and Benoit Badiashile (unspecified) are also considered questionable.
It’s odd that Pochettino chose not to start Armando Broja at the forefront of the attack at the Riverside.
The Argentine manager did, however, clarify that his intention was to control the Albanian’s workload, so it wouldn’t be shocking if he were to return to the starting lineup in this match.
For their semi-final matchup against Liverpool, Fulham welcomed experienced defender Tim Ream back to the matchday squad.
However, the 36-year-old was only used as a substitute after recovering from a calf injury, and Adama Traore (thigh) is still out of the game for the visitors.
Tom Cairney’s recall would not be shocking because Harrison Reed, who was also hurt on Wednesday at Anfield, remained on the pitch, and Silva disclosed that the midfield player was not feeling well prior to kickoff.
Unless jellied legs force the Fulham manager’s hand, most of Silva’s starts from Wednesday evening should be used from the first whistle again. Alex Iwobi, Calvin Bassey, and Fode Ballo-Toure are all out due to AFCON call-ups.
Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Petrovic; Gusto, Disasi, Silva, Colwill; Gallagher, Fernandez; Sterling, Palmer, Mudryk; Broja
Fulham possible starting lineup:
Leno; Castagne, Adarabioyo, Diop, Robinson; Palhinha, Cairney; Decordova-Reid, Pereira, Willian; Jimenez
Our predictions for this match 2-0 or 2-1 won by Chelsea