The pressure is once again on Mauricio Pochettino and this Chelsea team to get a win on Saturday with this once again becoming another huge game for the club if they want to get European qualification at the highest level.
The Blues welcome Fulham to Stamford Bridge for the 12.30pm kick off live on TNT Sports in the UK.
Chelsea are in a position in the league right now where they could easily head towards either direction (top or bottom) after a few of results.
We are just three points off 7th place right now, but also just four points ahead of our opponents Fulham, who are down in 13th place. The top is much closer than the bottom right now, but the gap is not yet comfortable enough for my liking!
As said, Fulham are 13th in the league and will be looking at this game as a chance to get just one point behind their close neighbours Chelsea.
They went 1-0 up against Liverpool in the League Cup this week but ended up being turned over to lose 2-1.
Before that, Marco Silva’s side have had a crazy run of fixtures and a complete mixed bag of results. Recently they have beaten Arsenal 2-1, beaten West Ham and Nottingham Forest 5-0 in two games in a row, but they’ve also lost 3-0 to Newcastle and Bournemouth, and lost 2-0 to Burnley.
I guess just like Chelsea right now, it all depends on what Fulham will turn up!
Chelsea’s form had been getting better once again before the Middlesbrough defeat, but it’s been a case of a couple steps forward and a couple steps back once again, as it has been all season.
In our last 5 games, we have won 3 and lost 2. Before Boro, we won 3 in a row and it felt like some momentum was coming back. Sigh.
Head to head
The Cottagers’ win over Chelsea in January of last year is their only such victory since Luis Boa Morte scored the winner in April 2006.
Chelsea wins: 51
Fulham wins: 12
Christopher Nkunku, Ben Chilwell, Benoit Badiashile, and Carney Chukwuemeka all once again have a chance of making the squad at least. Nkunku will be checked in on this week, and I’ve heard Chilwell is actually the most ahead in terms of a place in the squad out of the other two mentioned. But all have a chance.
No other injured Chelsea players are expected back for this game.
Chelsea are still without Nicolas Jackson due to his involvement at the Africa Cup of Nations, a tournament which also features a trio of Fulham players in Alex Iwobi, Calvin Bassey and Fode Ballo-Toure.
Frustratingly, Pochettino seems to have these same players who he really trusts and heavily relies on. However, I think he might make a bit of a switch at the back on Saturday. Again, this is not based on info or anything, just a feeling.
I think he might drop Levi Colwill, and then if Chilwell makes the bench, a view for using him later in the game. More on that below.
My predicted Xl:
I think he might drop Levi Colwill after a poor game in the last match, maybe to take him our of the firing line if anything?
Then Malo Gusto and Alfie Gilchrist start as the full backs, with maybe Chilwell coming on later to replace one of them.
The rest of the lineup I think will be pretty obvious, unfortunately. Enzo Fernandez might be dropped in favour of an extra attacker such as Mykhailo Mudryk – I can also see that happening.
Armando Broja comes back in as a presence up top, even though I’m not judging Cole Palmer as false 9 on that one game – I still believe he is a good option there.
Raheem Sterling should be firmly on the bench, but again, I have a feeling he will persist with him. There’s a chance Mudryk comes in for him, but lets see.
Chelsea have a 58% win probability.
Forgive me for once again having no faith or any kind of confidence for this game. I watched Fulham against Liverpool on Wednesday night and they will be a real threat, especially in attack. They’ve scored a lot of goals this season, and Silva will have them going at us. They’ve got some very good players too.
My score prediction:
Chelsea 1 Fulham 2
I hate not backing my team to win, but I have to be as true as I can be with these score predictions. I was thinking about maybe a 2-2 or a 3-3 draw, but I just don’t really see where our goals are coming from and in all honesty, it’s hard to see Chelsea winning this one after witnessing our first 45 against Preston, and our entire 90 minutes against Boro. Also still having nightmares about the Wolves performance!
Chelsea NEED to win this one, without a doubt. And of course, as I say every game, we CAN win any game we play. But I just lack any kind of optimism with this team and manager (no I don’t want him sacked I want him to improve) right now, I am afraid.