The focus will be on West London on Friday night as Chelsea welcome Fulham. This is going to be an interesting match to watch. Chelsea were seen as having won the transfer window, but that will mean nothing if they don’t start to turn performances around on the pitch. There will be pressure on Graham Potter if they continue to linger in mid table, as he has been backed in the market. Fulham have been tricky opponents for the top six this season. This won’t be an easy game.
Chelsea have been busy in the transfer market with a number of new additions in January. Enzo Fernandez was signed on deadline day and it was a British record transfer fee. There will be a lot of pressure on him to perform, but he may not be ready to make his debut this weekend. Potter has had a slow start to life at Stanford Bridge, but he will now be expected to push on and challenge for the Champions League places.
Fulham have had a great season to date. They look like they are going to stay up in the division after several seasons of promotion and relegation. Marco Silva has shown himself to be an excellent Premier League coach and the squad is a lot more settled than it has been in previous seasons. Aleksandar Mitrovic has supplied regular goals and emerged as a talisman for the club. They will be confident of getting something this weekend after beating Chelsea at Craven Cottage.
Chelsea have only conceded four goals in six Premier League matches since the World Cup. Half of those came against Fulham.
Fulham have an even better defensive record, conceding three times in their six Premier League matches.
There is going to be a lot of pressure on Mason Mount to keep his place in the first team due to the number of new signings. As an academy graduate and England international, he will be confident of being able to get regular starts, but his form this season hasn’t been great. The constant changes to the Chelsea team may not have helped him. It is important that he has a good run of form over the next couple of months to cement his place in the starting eleven. This season, he has contributed three goals and two assists, which is far behind the rate he displayed last season. Potter is likely to show faith in Mount, as he has shown that he can be consistent in the Premier League. Since the World Cup, he has only got a single goal in the Premier League. Fulham have been good defensively in recent weeks. If Mount can get back to his best, he is still a danger to them.
Although Fulham have built a balanced squad, it is Aleksandar Mitrovic that remains their talisman in attack. For a few years, there have been doubts about whether he can perform regularly in the top flight. He has put an end to those doubts with his form in the final third this season. Marco Silva believes in him and that relationship with the manager has been important. He has lacked that with the previous manager, as he was rarely used by Scott Parker in their last season in the Premier League. This season, he has contributed 11 goals and a single assist. He is more of a direct goal threat, although his link up play is improving. Chelsea have been good at the back since the restart, but there are still doubts about how sustainable it is.
Reece James and Ben Chilwell are both closing in on a return. Joao Felix remains suspended, while Denis Zakaria is a couple of weeks away from a return. Raheem Sterling and Wesley Fofana won’t be back for a couple of weeks, while Christian Pulisic remains on the sidelines.
Fulham don’t have any major injury concerns with Neeskens Kebano the only likely absentee this weekend.
Fulham seem to raise their performance against the top six teams and it is worth remembering that they are currently above Chelsea in the table. This won’t be an easy match for the Blues and there is pressure on them to start winning sooner rather than later. This could be another frustrating game for Graham Potter. A draw looks a good bet. Until Chelsea show consistency of performance, it is difficult to believe in the new era, despite the amount of money spent.
Chelsea 1-1 Fulham