Premier League: Fulham v Chelsea match preview

A look ahead to this weekend’s fixture at Craven Cottage

League leaders Chelsea visit neighbours Fulham in the west London derby, who currently sit at the bottom of the table with just over ten games remaining this season.

A run of eight successive defeats from the end of October to the beginning of December saw the end of Martin Jol’s tenure at the club. His successor, the former Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen did not particularly enjoy his managerial term as well. The Dutch coach faced the axe in his third month in charge at Craven Cottage, only to be replaced by the German Felix Magath.

Fulham have failed to maintain any sort of form this season and added to their managerial merry-go-round, individual players have failed to affect matches in any significant way. Fulham have failed to win in their last eight matches, and have picked up only two points from their last six premier league outings. The Cottagers have conceded 59 goals in 27 games, 11 more than 19th placed Cardiff City.

With the return of Jose Mourinho this season, Chelsea have found a sense of rhythm in the latter half of this season and will face Fulham having lost only once (in the FA Cup) since the New Year. Though Mourinho may be unhappy that his three strikers (Ba, Eto’o, Torres) have only accounted for 11 goals in the league this season, a strong midfield trio consisting of Eden Hazard, Willian and Oscar have scored nearly twice as many, putting in 20 goals past the opposition in this campaign.

 

Having conceded only twice in the league since the New Year, Chelsea will prove to be a tough opponent for a Fulham side with their third manager of the season. Fulham have been under-performing this entire season and if new boss Magath can manage to squeeze some points off Chelsea at home, it’ll be a decent start to his life in London.

KICK-OFF: Saturday, 3.00pm

Past Three Meetings:

Chelsea 2 (Oscar, Mikel) Fulham 0, Premier League, September 2013

Fulham 0 Chelsea 3 (Luiz, Terry 2), Premier League, April 2013

Chelsea 0 Fulham 0, Premier League, November 2012.

STATS:

Fulham are the only club to have sacked two different managers in this season’s Premier League.

Chelsea have conceded only twice in the league since the New Year.

Fulham have conceded 59 goals in 27 Premier League games at an average of 2.18 goals conceded per game.

Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 12 Premier League outings.

ODDS:

Fulham to win: 8.5

Chelsea to win: 1.4

Draw: 4.3

TV: Highlights: Saturday, 10.30pm on BBC 1

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