The Blues are in a rut at the moment, having won just once in their last seven games across all competitions. They had given Manchester City a good run for their money in a 1-0 Premier League defeat at Stamford Bridge last week, but the Cityzens simply tore Graham Potter’s team to shreds on Sunday in the FA Cup third round.
Graham Potter is under pressure after a run of poor results and will be expecting a rousing response from his boys at Fulham, who have won their last three league games and occupy a higher position than their west London counterparts.
Chelsea Team News
None of N’Golo Kante, Reece James, Edouard Mendy, Armando Broja or Wesley Fofana are ready to return from their injury problems just yet. Graham Potter also lost Christian Pulisic and Raheem Sterling to injuries against Man City in the Premier League last week, with the latter set to undergo a second scan on a hamstring problem.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed Chelsea’s FA Cup defeat to Man City with a back problem and his availability for the trip to Fulham is unclear for now.
Predicted Chelsea Lineup vs Fulham (4-3-3)
Kepa Arrizabalaga will continue to operate in between the sticks for Chelsea, hoping to put in a strong performance and keep a clean sheet after conceding four goals against City in the FA Cup.
Lining up in a 4-3-3 formation, Thiago Silva will come back in the Chelsea defence after being an unused substitute against City in the FA Cup. The veteran Brazilian has been one of the Blues’ rare bright spots in an otherwise torrid campaign and deserves to start against Fulham in the Chelsea lineup.
Silva is likely to have Kalidou Koulibaly as his partner at the back. Koulibaly must up his game and try keeping things solid at the back after a series of underwhelming displays. Cesar Azpilicueta and Marc Cucurella should operate from the right-back and left-back positions, respectively in the Chelsea lineup.
Denis Zakaria has performed well after the resumption of the Premier League and could start against Fulham. Operating as the No.6, the Swiss will be tasked with the responsibility of ticking things over for Chelsea.
Mateo Kovacic and Carney Chukwuemeka may join Zakaria in the Chelsea engine room. Chukwuemeka has made impactful appearances from the bench and should be pushing to start at Craven Cottage, while Kovacic’s energy, industry and passing ability will help the Blues to dominate possession.
Jorginho and Conor Gallagher will be available on the bench and might come on in the second half to influence the West London derby if Potter calls upon their services.
Hakim Ziyech should look to provide zest and creativity from the right wing, while Mason Mount hopes to catch the eye from the other flank in the Chelsea lineup. With Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic expected to spend weeks on the sidelines and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang doubtful, Potter will stick with Kai Havertz up top.
New signing David Datro Fofana could be introduced off the bench at some point in the second half.