After a late win against Everton last weekend and a gritty but handy draw mid week away at Galatasaray, a win tomorrow would be the perfect way to make a good week, great. Leaders Chelsea face bottom of the table Fulham, a side under new management as well as intense pressure to bring themselves out of the relegation zone. Since the last time these two teams met in September last year, Fulham have changed managers twice and picked up just 4 Premier League wins. Fulham’s recent form will worry their fans the most with The Cottagers failing to win in the last eight Premier League games. Chelsea are also undefeated against Fulham in the last five previous meetings.
Another boost for Chelsea is the return of Nemanja Matic and Mohammed Salah, after being cup tied in midweek they’re both in contention to start . David Luiz misses out once again with a muscle injury and Marco Van Ginkel has been a long term absentee. Both John Terry and Gary Cahill are reportedly carrying knocks but expected to start tomorrow.
Fulham have record signing Kostas Mitroglou ruled out as well as central defender Fernando Amorebieta. New manager Felix Magarth is expected to name an unchanged XI which drew 1-1 at West Brom last weekend. Lewis Holtby has been the shining light to come out of Craven Cottage in recent weeks since his loan move from Tottenham, his energy and creativity in behind the striker could cause Chelsea problems.
It would be a surprise to many if this game were to finish goalless with the home side failing to score just once at home in their last ten previous Premier League matches. In this same sequence Fulham have kept just two clean sheets. Encouraging for a Chelsea team that are far from prolific in front of goal in recent weeks.
Perhaps this could be the perfect opportunity to give Salah his first start for Chelsea. The lack of pace in Fulham’s left-back John Arne Riise would give the Egyptian plenty of opportunity to get at him, especially the space he vacates going forward, something he is prone to doing. Left-back isn’t the only position in which Fulham lack pace, Brede Hangeland makes John Terry look like a winger. Who ever is chosen to lead the line whether it be Eto’o or Torres I’m sure will have great success targeting the big Norwegian.
Like all fixtures at this stage of the season its a must win, Chelsea must take advantage of Fulham’s poor from and current predicament. With Man City, Liverpool and Arsenal winning at Craven Cottage this season, its three points they cannot afford to miss out on.