Two west London rivals face off on Monday with Chelsea hoping to kick-start their season. We look ahead to the game at Craven Cottage with our Fulham vs Chelsea prediction and preview.
Fulham vs Chelsea: The Quick Hits
- Chelsea are slight favourites for Monday’s west London derby, with the Opta supercomputer assigning them a 39.7% chance of beating Fulham.
- Chelsea have failed to score in their last three Premier League games despite attempting 45 shots in those matches. They last went four league games without a goal under José Mourinho and Avram Grant in September 2007.
- Former Chelsea winger Willian, who scored against the Blues in this fixture last season, has netted four of his five Premier League goals for Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Chelsea have endured a truly dismal 2023, with even the arrival of Mauricio Pochettino failing to inspire an upturn. The Blues approach Monday’s short trip to Craven Cottage without a win in three Premier League games, and Fulham will be desperate to inflict more misery upon their neighbours.
Ollie Watkins’ goal condemned Chelsea to defeat against Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on Matchday 6, leaving them floundering on five points. Chelsea have started a league season with just one win from six games for the first time since 2000-01, and even more alarmingly, their 25 points won in 2023 was the joint-lowest among ever-present Premier League teams going into Matchday 7, alongside Everton.
Chelsea did advance in the EFL Cup last Wednesday as Nicolas Jackson scored in a 1-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion. Jackson has only scored once from chances worth 3.79 expected goals in the Premier League, giving him the worst underperformance in the division this term, but he is suspended for Monday’s game after becoming the first player to receive five cautions in 2023-24.
In Jackson’s absence, Raheem Sterling, Cole Palmer and Armando Broja – who has recovered from a serious knee injury – could be called upon to rectify Chelsea’s goalscoring blues. Pochettino’s team have failed to score in three successive league games despite attempting 45 shots totalling 5.5 xG during that run. They last went four league matches without a goal in September 2007, with Avram Grant replacing José Mourinho midway through that run.
While Chelsea ended last weekend 14th in the Premier League table, positives can be taken from the underlying data as Opta’s expected points model ranks them fourth. While many facets of the Blues’ performances have been encouraging, however, they must start taking their chances after underperforming their xG figures by a league-high 6.6 this season.
A substantial injury list hasn’t helped Pochettino, who now faces a selection crisis in the full-back positions. Reece James is yet to recover from a hamstring injury, while Ben Chilwell limped out of Wednesday’s cup win and Malo Gusto is suspended after seeing red against Villa. Marc Cucurella deputised at right-back against Brighton and may do likewise on Monday.
Fulham finished above Chelsea for the first time since 1983 last season, securing a top-half finish upon their return to the Premier League. After making a solid start to 2023-24 with eight points from six games, Marco Silva’s men might hope to repeat the trick this campaign.
Silva’s team were held to a goalless draw by Crystal Palace on MD 6, meaning they are winless in nine Premier League London derbies since beating Chelsea 2-1 in this exact fixture in January (four draws, five defeats). Fulham have already faced three capital rivals in 2023-24, losing at home to Brentford (3-0) before drawing at Arsenal (2-2) and Palace.
Fulham have, however, kept back-to-back Premier League clean sheets, which have coincided with João Palhinha returning after the collapse of his proposed move to Bayern Munich. Fulham’s most recent run of three successive top-flight shutouts began with a goalless draw against Chelsea in February.
There was no clean sheet to be had when they hosted Norwich City in the EFL Cup last Wednesday, but Fulham fared better in front of goal as Carlos Vinícius and Alex Iwobi scored in a 2-1 win. Vinícius also scored the decisive goal in January’s 2-1 win over Chelsea, and he may have played his way into their lineup as Raúl Jiménez’s struggles continue.
Since the start of last season, Jiménez has failed to score in 21 Premier League appearances for Wolves and Fulham despite amassing 3.23 xG, the highest figure of any player without a top-flight goal in that time.
With Fulham’s frontline failing to fire, ex-Chelsea winger Willian may have a key role to play in attack. He opened the scoring against his former club when they last visited Craven Cottage, and four of his five league goals for Fulham have come on home soil. Bobby De Cordova-Reid should keep his place on the right with Adama Traoré sidelined, while Kenny Tete faces a fitness test ahead of kick-off.
Fulham vs Chelsea Head-to-Head
Chelsea have traditionally had Fulham’s number in Premier League matches, but that was not the case last season, when Fulham took four points against the Blues (one win, one draw) to match their return from their previous 15 games against them (four draws, 11 defeats).
Chelsea are now looking to avoid losing on consecutive trips to Craven Cottage, having last lost back-to-back away league games against Fulham in the second tier in April 1977.
The last meeting between the teams was a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge in February, a game which saw Enzo Fernández make his Chelsea debut.
Across the last 14 Premier League meetings between Fulham and Chelsea, Monday’s hosts have only led for a total of 39 minutes, all of which came in January’s 2-1 home triumph.
Chelsea are looking to improve their dire away record on Monday, having won on just two of their last 16 Premier League road trips (five draws, nine defeats). They are winless in four away league games since May’s 3-1 victory at Bournemouth.
Fulham, meanwhile, have only won two of their last 19 Premier League home games against fellow London clubs (three draws, 14 defeats), going five such games without a win (one draw, four defeats) since overcoming Chelsea earlier this year.
Pochettino has managed one win, two draws and three defeats in his first six Premier League games with Chelsea, having posted an identical record across his first six matches at Southampton in 2013.
That could be a positive omen for the visitors, as Pochettino went unbeaten through his next six games with Southampton, earning a total of 12 points (three wins, three draws).
Opta Power Rankings
The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of kick-off on Monday, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.
Fulham vs Chelsea Prediction
Monday’s west London derby is a difficult game to call, but the Opta supercomputer makes Chelsea slight favourites, giving them a 39.7% chance of victory.
Fulham are given a 30.4% chance of adding to their rivals’ woes, while the 29.9% likelihood of a draw is the highest assigned to any game taking place across MD 7.
In the supercomputer’s season predictions, Fulham are backed to finish above Chelsea, with their most likely final position judged to be 11th, with a 16.2% probability. Across 10,000 season simulations, Chelsea finished 13th most often, also doing so in 16.2% of scenarios.