Chelsea travels to Craven Cottage to take on its west London foes, Fulham, for the first time in two seasons. Here’s how the PoL staff sees the game going.
Chelsea is preparing to make a short journey over to Craven Cottage, in hopes it will return with three points. The Blues have been in a slump since the beginning of December, but is a win over League Two’s Morecambe enough to kickstart another unbeaten run? Frank Lampard will likely name his strongest in-form XI to take on a Fulham team full of confidence. The Cottagers have taken points off both Liverpool and Tottenham lately, something Lampard’s side could only dream of at the moment.
Here is how The Pride of London staff predicts the contest will go on Saturday:
Jake Brigstock: 1-2 Chelsea
The Blues will need to be wary of a buoyant Fulham side after it earned a point from the mid-week Tottenham bout. The Cottagers will dig in and make it difficult for us, but I think our quality will show in the end. I think we’ll go two up; I’d like to see Callum Hudson-Odoi start given his recent form. I think he’ll score if he does, plus another goal from a set piece. Fulham will pull one back in the closing stages, but we’ll hang on after a nervy finish to take all three points. I’m not expecting it to be a classic, but would loved to be proven wrong. Come on Chels.
Varun Dani: 0-3 Chelsea
The pick-me-up win Lampard desperately needs. The Blues will score in the first 20 mins, struggle until the 70′, and finish off in style in the last quarter. Hudson-Odoi with a Man of the Match performance as Lampard’s side rekindles some kind of form.
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Michael DeVito: 1-4 Chelsea
The Blues’ new players are beginning to hit their stride—and this is only the beginning. Watch for Kai Havertz to click now that he’s getting healthy. Hudson-Odoi is finally looking more fit and like his old self. Lampard can rotate his wingers and strikers to great advantage beginning Saturday. Olivier Giroud to lead the line, and score of course.
Mike Malley: 0-3 Chelsea
The Blues desperately need to win this London Derby, or face possible permanent expulsion from the race for the top four. The starting XI should be full of confidence after dominating Morecambe 4-0 last weekend, and will hopefully replicate the result against a Premier League side. Reece James might be fit enough to play, but regardless, this really should be a comfortable victory for the Blues.
Scott Brant: 1-2 Chelsea
It will be a tight one, with Fulham being in one-point per match form as of late. The Blues pull out the three points at the very end, sending Fulham packing and handing the Cottagers their first loss in a little bit. Tammy Abraham to score, and a defender to net one from a set piece.
Abhishek Pancholi: 0-3 Chelsea
On paper, this game should be a stroll in the park for Chelsea, but lately, we have picked up a habit of making life difficult for ourselves for no reason in particular. This is set to continue, with Fulham threatening to take the lead a few times before being sucker-punched in the gut. After that, it’s game over, and the Blues will add a couple more goals to their tally before calling it a day.
Barrett Rouen: 0-3 Chelsea
Not a lot to predict here, just don’t see Fulham putting in another performance of that caliber. Meanwhile, Chelsea will be rested and annoyed at all of the recent criticism of the team.
Olaoluwa Nwobodo: 1-2 Chelsea
The Blues should learn from Tottenham and Liverpool how difficult this game will be. Chelsea should have enough to see off Fulham, but so should Spurs and Liverpool. The Blues are in horrendous form and they need to start winning league games again. This is another time their pride has been on the line, and the first two times they’ve wilted. They’d do well not to wilt this time around.
Nate Hofmann: 0-2 Chelsea
It’s classic Chelsea to play a bad team right as they’re getting hot. Fortunately, “hot” for Fulham is a run of 0-0 and 1-1 draws. Also fortunately, Ruben Loftus-Cheek is ineligible thanks to that useless loan rule. Add in their unexpected schedule change with the Spurs match in midweek, and the Blues should have a major advantage over their local-est of local rivals.
Oliver Smith: 0-3 Chelsea
I am really not a fan of the loan rule that keeps Loftus-Cheek out of the line-up, as I would love to see how he performs directly against his competition in the middle of the park. The Blues could grant an exemption, but with how they have been playing—and a win absolutely crucial for Lampard—there’s greater chance that Man United get denied a penalty by VAR than Loftus-Cheek being able to play. I’ll let that last one stew for a second. Timo Werner will bring his shooting boots, followed by a Christian Pulisic screamer and a late goal from Hudson-Odoi.
Kevin Peacock: 1-2 Chelsea
Having dispatched Morecambe in the FA Cup, the serious stuff returns and despite a poor run of league form, the Blues snatch a 2-1 win.
Hugo Amaya: 1-2 Chelsea
A difficult game for the Blues as they will be overconfident at the beginning of the game. Chelsea will get one goal in each half. However, Fullham will score in the second half, making Lampard’s life difficult. All three points will go to the Blues, but only just.
Gabe Henderson: 0-2 Chelsea
The Blues—behind the confidence and class of their young stars—will weather the storm and leave Fulham with three points. Havertz and Abraham to net the goals while the defense has a stellar day in which it makes the Cottagers’ attack a complete non-factor.
Travis Tyler: 0-1 Chelsea
Fulham only does narrow draws or narrow losses, so the Blues need to break their draw streak.
What is your score prediction? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!