It’s not been the start to the year Graham Potter would have wanted as his Chelsea side remain winless after encounters with Nottingham Forest and Man City (twice). One win in 10 domestic outings is poor for a side of Chelsea’s calibre, though a new manager, a tough fixture list and an injury plagued squad offers some explanation to these results.
Indeed, they have more first team injuries than any other side in the league, while of those 10 matches, only two have come against current bottom-half sides as they faced Man City three times, Arsenal, Man United and Newcastle in that run.
Unfortunately for Chelsea, it doesn’t get easier as their weakened side comes up against an in-form Fulham team who sit seventh in the table. The Cottagers suffered back-to-back 2-1 defeats before the World Cup break, though those came to both Manchester clubs, and since the break they’ve won four from four across all competitions.
That’s exactly the kind of form they needed heading into a tough run of games which includes clashes with Newcastle and Spurs too, and the next couple of weeks will be a real indicator of their current level.
Fulham +1 Handicap
Chelsea have failed to beat any of the current top-half sides this season, while they’ve also now gone six away domestic matches without victory, scoring just twice in that time. Their front line remains underwhelming, and unless Potter can get his ideas across miraculously in the next few days, it’s hard to see the Blues coming away with maximum points here when considering Fulham’s scoring record.
Indeed, Chelsea’s West London rivals have netted in 16 of their 18 games this season, only failing to do so in 0-0 draws against Everton and Wolves, and with the defensive woes that Chelsea are facing at the moment, conceding 14 goals across their last six away trips, an away clean sheet would be a real surprise.
What the Blues do have in their favour is their head-to-head record in this fixture having not lost in any of the last 21 meetings between the two across all competitions, a run stretching back to this fixture in March 2006.
Chelsea have won each of the last seven meetings. The gulf in class has been evident since the turn of the century though, and this is arguably Fulham’s best chance to get a result, and we’re happy to get behind them getting at least something from this game as heavy underdogs.
FULHAM +1 HANDICAP
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