- Chelsea v Fulham
- Friday February 3 2023, 13:00 ET
- At Stamford Bridge, London
Fulham takes on Chelsea on Friday and the visiting team can frustrate its West London rival by earning a draw at Stamford Bridge.
Who do Bettors Favor?
According to the best-rated online sportsbooks this game is set to be a one-sided contest with Chelsea rated as the overwhelming favorite with bettors. Graham Potter’s team is priced at around -170 to win this game, while the visiting team is considered a +480 chance and the draw is available at around +320.
|Chelsea v Fulham|
Chelsea Faces Long Hard Struggle
Lying tenth in the table, with a ten point gap to make up on the top four, Chelsea faces a long hard struggle to get back into Champions League contention this season.
The decision to replace Thomas Tuchel with Graham Potter in early September initially looked like a good one, but early successes could not disguise the inadequacies of an unbalanced squad. Chelsea took two points from its five games leading into the World Cup break and since the return to domestic action, results have been mixed, with two wins from six in the Premier League and a 4-0 loss in the FA Cup.
If you are looking for positives, the team’s defensive record is worth noting. Chelsea has the fourth best defense in the league, having conceded only one more goal than Manchester City. It has only lost two of its last six league games, both by a single goal. But with the eighth-worst offense in the league, Potter needs to find a way to turn this team into an effective attacking unit.
Fulham Surprising Critics
Promoted from the Championship at the end of last season, Fulham has been surprising critics from the start of this campaign and continues to do so.
Under Marco Silva, the team has shown resilience and courage, along with impressive discipline and organisation and the ability to score crucial goals. Currently seventh in the table, with nine wins and four draws from its 21 games, Fulham has a genuine shot at earning a European place next season, which would be a remarkable achievement for a newly promoted team.
Narrow defeats to Newcastle and Tottenham in its last two games were disappointing but both opponents are above Fulham in the table, so that isn’t bad form, and you can be sure that the Fulham players will be relishing this opportunity to complete a rare league double over Chelsea.
EPL Betting Head-to-Head
This isn’t the only West London derby but it is perhaps the most keenly fought, by two teams based less than two miles apart. In fact, it goes back to 1910, when Fulham won 1-0 in a second tier game.
It has been Chelsea, however, that has dominated this rivalry, winning 50 of the 88 games it has played against Fulham, with 26 draws and only 12 wins for the Cottagers.
Fulham’s best run of head-to-head form against its neighbors came from the late 1960s through to the end of the 1970s. Between 1967 and 1979, the teams met 11 times, mostly in Division Two and Chelsea only won once, compared to five wins for Fulham.
Since then, however, Chelsea has dominated completely, and particularly since the arrival of Roman Abramovich and his millions in the early 2000s. Fulham has only beaten Chelsea twice this century, although it did secure a notable 2-1 win in the Premier League at Craven Cottage last month.
EPL Team News
The team news for Graham Potter remains worrying and Chelsea is without six key players for this game. Wingers Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic, along with goalkeeper Edouard Mendy currently have no firm return date, while striker Armando Broja will not be back in action this season.
Key defensive midfielders N’Golo Kante and Denis Zakaria, both struggling with hamstring injuries, are expected to be back in action during February, but not in time for this game, while on-loan striker Joao Felix will also be missing as he serves the final game of his suspension.
Things are looking a little brighter for Fulham. It’s only significant injury absence is Neeskens Kabano, who has been out with an Achilles tendon rupture since November. Silva made seven changes for the FA Cup tie against Sunderland at the weekend, so some key players will return here.
EPL Match Betting Pick
The only positive for Chelsea so far this season has been its defensive record, and that will once again be crucial here as it takes on Fulham.
Marco Silva’s side has won three of its last five away games and having beaten Chelsea a few weeks ago, will have no fear at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea’s lack of attacking options will make it hard for the home team to create enough to win this game, so that option in the match betting market looks unappealing. In what is likely to be a low scoring encounter, Fulham can frustrate the Blues and earn a draw.
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