Fulham host Chelsea at Craven Cottage in the early kickoff on Saturday. Marco Silva’s side have made a good start to this season and face a Blues side who have just sacked coach Thomas Tuchel. Graham Potter looks set to oversee his first match in charge as he arrives as Chelsea coach from Brighton. This West London derby has seen Chelsea come out as winners in each of the last seven meetings.
It’s been a reasonable start to life back in the top flight for Fulham. They have eight points from six matches at this stage but have lost two of their last three. An opening day 2-2 home draw with Liverpool was a good start before a 0-0 draw at Wolves as they missed a penalty. Fulham then beat Brentford 3-2 on the back of their opponents having thrashed Man Utd 4-0.
The last three matches have seen a 2-1 loss at Arsenal (having led 1-0) and then a 2-1 win over high-flying Brighton. They were beaten 2-0 at Tottenham last time out. Aleksandar Mitrović scored for the fourth game in a row but it proved nothing more than a late consolation. It was a deserved loss as Spurs put up 2.9 Expected Goals to just 0.5 xG for Fulham.
Fulham Team News
Right winger Harry Wilson is absent with a knee injury. Another winger in on-loan Israel international Manor Solomon is also absent for this one. Deadline day signings Dan James and Willian both made their debuts as substitutes on the hour mark against Spurs and will hope to start this one.
Left back Antonee Robinson went off injured in the last match and is set to miss this one. Kevin Mbabu may take his place, leaving Fulham with a right footed player at left fullback. Layvin Kurzawa signed on loan from PSG in that position but he may not be match fit yet.
The Cottagers will see Chelsea as being there for the taking after the Blues lost their last three away matches. Marco Silva will look to use speed down the flanks behind the Chelsea wingbacks with lots of crosses towards target man Mitrovic.
A draw would be a very good result for Fulham, even at home, but they will play to win this derby match initially.
Coach Thomas Tuchel was sacked this week and the Blues have not been anywhere near their best this season. They won 1-0 at Everton on an opening day before conceding a 96th-minute set piece to draw 2-2 at home with Tottenham.
The form since then has seen three defeats in five matches, and three successive away losses. A 3-0 humbling at Leeds preceded a 2-1 home win against Leicester with ten men. The Blues then went to Southampton and lost 2-1 having been a goal ahead. Their last Premier League match brought a 2-1 home win against West Ham in fortunate circumstances. In midweek, Chelsea looked toothless in a 1-0 away defeat to Dinamo Zagreb.
Chelsea Team News
Chelsea have a new coach in Graham Potter and it’s not clear what XI he will select. Thiago Silva and Edouard Mendy should be recalled after not starting in midweek. Marc Cucurella will hope to start under his former manager in preference to Ben Chilwell.
Jorginho is pushing to play in central midfielder alongside Mateo Kovacic with Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Denis Zakaria other options in the absence of N’Golo Kante due to injury. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will battle Kai Havertz to lead the line whilst Christian Pulisic will be hoping for a rare start.
The Blues need a win and there could be a new manager bounce after the departure of Thomas Tuchel. Potter’s sides tend to dominate possession and play on the front foot but they don’t always score many goals.
A draw would be seen as a poor result so expect Graham Potter to use all five subs as he chases three points from this match.
Fulham have seen over 2.5 goals in their last 4 PL matches
Fulham have scored 2+ goals in their last 3 home PL matches
Fulham have failed to score in 6 of their last 8 matches against Chelsea (all comps)
Chelsea have lost their last 3 away matches
Chelsea’s last 5 PL matches have seen over 2.5 goals
Chelsea have won their last 7 matches against Fulham (all comps)
This match is difficult to call after Graham Potter took over as Chelsea coach. His Brighton side lost to Fulham this season and it’s not clear how he will set up his team. Fulham will play a direct and high-energy game and look to trouble the Blues but the visitors should have just enough.
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