Having lost the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City, the only potential silverware ahead of Rafa Benitez and Chelsea is the Europa League.
However, the Blues can ensure they qualify for next season’s Champion’s League if they hold onto their place in the top four, brushing off the advances of Tottenham Hotspur and Everton to take a safe spot. For Benitez, this means accruing points against Fulham and Liverpool away before focusing on the Europa semi-final against Basel next Thursday.
Martin Jol’s Fulham, meanwhile, will be happy with their lot as they remain on course to achieve their pre-season aim of getting a top-half place. A win against Chelsea would be a bonus, but with Damien Duff struggling and Ashkan Dejagah and Mahamadou Diarra sidelined until the end of the season they may lack the strength in depth to keep up with Chelsea. Especially if leaders Lampard and Terry win reinstatement.
KICK-OFF: Wednesday, 8pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Chelsea 0 Fulham 0, Premier League, November 2012
Fulham 1 (Dempsey) Chelsea 1 (Lampard), Premier League, April 2012
Chelsea 1 (Mata) Fulham 1 (Dempsey), Premier League, December 2011
Fulham and Chelsea have drawn their last five matches.
Chelsea have not lost to Fulham in their last 14 matches in all competitions.
Fulham have seen opponents hit the woodwork more than any other team this season, with their frame rattling 18 times.
Fulham have benefited from five oppositions own goals in the league this season, a high shared with Manchester United.
Fulham did not have a single shot on target against Villa in their last outing.
Chelsea have won 14 points from their eight Premier League London derbies this season, losing only twice, and conceding eight goals in those eight games.
Fulham to win: 4.8
Chelsea to win: 1.85