- Fulham v Chelsea
- Thursday, January 12th, 2023, 15:00 ET
- At Craven Cottage, London
Fulham has made a good start in the Premier League and despite the absence of its leading scorer, can earn a draw against struggling Chelsea in Thursday’s west London derby.
Who do Bettors Favor?
According to the best-rated online sportsbooks Chelsea is the strong favorite to beat their closest neighbors on Thursday. Graham Potter’s men are as short as +115 for this local derby, while Fulham are the underdogs at +245 and the draw is available at +250 and higher.
|Fulham v Chelsea|
Fulham Laying a Solid Foundation
Fulham has earned promotion to the Premier League three times in the last five seasons. The 2018/19 and 2020/21 seasons saw Fulham finish 19th and 18th respectively, but this time around, the Cottagers have made an excellent start, laying a solid foundation for Premier League survival.
Marco Silva’s team goes into this game in seventh place in the table, only five points off fifth place and only seven points outside the Champions League qualification zone.
Silva, who has previous Premier League experience managing Watford and Everton, has built a team that combines ferocious, well-organized defense, with tactical flexibility and a reliable frontman in Aleksandr Mitrovic. Only Manchester United has accumulated more yellow cards than Fulham, but it is not a one-dimensional outfit and in Andreas Pereira, has a top-level creative talent.
With less than half of the season gone, there will be tough challenges ahead for Fulham, but even if it is unlikely to finish in its current elevated position, survival looks a strong possibility.
Crisis Time at Chelsea
Under former owner Roman Abramovich, Chelsea’s way of operating was not universally popular, but it was hard to argue with the results: 21 trophies in 19 seasons, including five Premier League titles, two Champions League wins, and two Europa League trophies.
Abramovich’s Chelsea operated on the basis of stability in recruitment, backroom staff, and – to an extent – players, while managers were expected to deliver in one or two seasons. But since Abramovich was forced to sell the club, that underlying stability has gone and Chelsea is in crisis.
New owner Todd Boehly inherited one of the best coaches in world football in Thomas Tuchel, who had already won the Champions League for the club in his first season. In the space of just eight months, Boehly has fallen out with Tuchel over transfer policy – including over the potential signing of Cristiano Ronaldo, swapped him for a lower profile and presumably more malleable head coach in Graham Potter, and made a string of poor purchases, only one of which – Raheem Sterling – has worked out.
Potter is one of English football’s rising stars and deserves better, as do the Chelsea fans, but the new coach’s attempts to implement his preferred style have proven disastrous. Chelsea’s disjointed pressing and lack of resilience is a world away from the slick team that he produced at Brighton.
Premier League Betting Head to Head
Located just a mile apart in West London, Fulham and Chelsea have spent most of their history at different levels of the football tier, and there have been long periods of time in which the two teams have not met, including a 16-year gap between 1985 and 2001.
Chelsea dominates the head-to-head record with 50 wins from 87 games against Fulham and has won its last seven against its neighbors. In fact, Fulham has won only one of its last 40 games with Chelsea, and that win came back in 2006, when the Cottagers prevailed 1-0 at home.
Premier League Betting Team News
Fulham’s injury list is short compared to that of its neighbor, with Neeskens Cabano the only long-term absentee, but there is some disappointing team news for Fulham fans as Aleksandr Mitrovic will miss this game due to a suspension for having picked up a fifth yellow card.
Chelsea has a number of players missing through injury, including Raheem Sterling, Christian Pulisic, Reece James, Armando Broja, N’Golo Kante, and Edouard Mendy. The out-of-form Pierre Emerick Aubameyang also reportedly has a back injury and was missing from the FA Cup squad.
On the plus side, Potter should be able to call on his three new signings. David Datro Fofana came on against City so could start here, along with Benoit Badiashile and Andrey Santos.
Premier League Match Betting Pick
Even the most optimistic Chelsea fan would think twice about betting on their team at short odds here, and bettors should also be wary. This Chelsea team is low on confidence, weakened through injury, and capable of losing to anyone.
If Mitrovic was available, I’d feel confident about picking Fulham in the match betting market, but even without him, Marco Silva’s team is strong enough to match its neighbors.