27/02/19 – Chelsea 2-0 Spurs (PL)
24/02/19 – Chelsea 0-0 Man City (City win 4-3 on penalties) (EFL Cup Final)
21/02/19 – Chelsea 3-0 Malmö (Europa League)
18/02/19 – Chelsea 0-2 Man Utd (FA Cup)
14/02/19 – Malmö 1-2 Chelsea (Europa League)
Another discussion about Chelsea’s tactics and another analysis of ‘Sarriball.’ Chelsea have been one of the most consistent teams in the Premier League in their tactical setup, even if that has not produced the same level of consistencies in performance and results. The shift in the mood of the fans since our last meeting in December is noticeable on both sides – with Chelsea dissatisfied with the change in tactical approach and Fulham fans just straight up disillusioned. Chelsea’s 4-3-3 formation with a deep-lying playmaker flanked by two central midfielders instructed to produce drive and forward momentum has remained a constant, even with the mountain of opinion that Kante should be restored to the base of the midfield instead of Jorginho. Chelsea have also suffered two other major tactical issues like the absence of striker who suits their style has blunted their attacking force and forced Hazard to be pushed into an ill-suited central striking role. The arrival of Gonzalo Higuain in January has alleviated some of the strain on Hazard but the problems at full back have been harder to adjust. Alonso and Azpilicueta suited Conte’s wing-back system perfectly with the latter pushed into one of the three centre back positions. As a back four, their lack of attacking prowess has been demonstrated in full. Whether we have a talented and disciplined enough side to expose any of these weaknesses is another issue and worryingly I think we already know the answer.
Battle to Watch
Mitrović vs Luiz: Focusing on what matchup is key to determining the outcome of the game is bordering on pointless so what about the one that will be the most entertaining? It has to be the battle between Mitro and David Luiz, Mitro has already had some huge battles with Davinson Sanchez and Shane Duffy since the turn of the year and he will surely be relishing another physical test against a centre back who is easier to rile than most.
To be honest it would be disingenuous to say anything other than Eden Hazard at this point. The one player that when performing to his top-level elevates Chelsea entirely showed his vast skill set against both City and Spurs in Chelsea’s last two games and we should be sincerely worried about what he could do on Sunday. As we’ve seen with quality players on the left-hand side of teams this season – Martial and Aubameyang spring to mind – we are liable to be torn apart and this area has to be addressed given what Hazard has done to better sides than us this season.
Last 5 Meetings
02/12/18 – Chelsea 2-0 Fulham (PL)
01/03/14 – Fulham 1-3 Chelsea (PL)
21/09/13 – Chelsea 2-0 Fulham (PL)
17/04/13 – Fulham 0-3 Chelsea (PL)
28/11/12 – Chelsea 0-0 Fulham (PL)
Fulham wins: 26
Chelsea wins: 47
Stats & Facts
- Fulham have only beaten Chelsea once in the Premier League in 27 attempts. Luis Boa Morte was the hero in March 2006.
- In fact, that is Fulham’s only victory over our closest rivals in the past 37 meetings, dating back to 1979.
- 9 of Fulham’s 11 wins over the Blues have come at Craven Cottage.
- The only occasion where Fulham have scored more than one goal against Chelsea at the Cottage in the Premier League was the 2-2 draw in 2008. Clint Dempsey with both goals that day.
- The last time we met Chelsea at the Cottage in 2014, Andre Schürrle scored a hat trick…
Players in Common
Jimmy Allen, Dave Beasant, Roy Bentley, Joe Bradshaw, Wayne Bridge, Peter Buchanan, Gordon Davies, John Dempsey, Perry Digweed, John Doherty, Damien Duff, Bjarne Goldbaek, Eidur Gudjohnsen, Jon Harley, Tomas Kalas, Ray Lewington, Barry Lloyd, Lucas Piazon, Teddy Maybank, Paul Parker, Scott Parker, Ian Pearce, Gerry Peyton, Terry Phelan, Doug Rougvie, Andre Schurrle, Mark Schwarzer, Steve Sidwell, Alexey Smertin.
Painfully, we can’t claim to have had too much success in this fixture as we can all attest to. But at the Cottage on 19 March 2006, we recorded our first win against our enemies from down the road since a Division Two clash in 1979. With Chris Coleman at the helm, we had already overcome Liverpool and Spurs at home that season but were to go one better with a 1-0 success inspired by a goal from Luis Boa Morte. Coming into the game on the back of four straight defeats it was difficult to envisage success against Mourinho’s eventual Champions who had only lost two games in the league all season going into the derby. A deflected shot from Steed Malbranque ended up at the feet of Boa Morte on the edge of the six-yard box as he slammed the ball past Petr Cech and into the net after 17 minutes sparking wild celebrations around the ground. If any Fulham players can seek some inspiration and perform anything similar on Sunday, then it will go a long way to appeasing all of us as supporters after a difficult season so far to say the least.
I’ve been saying for weeks that I would take inevitable relegation for a win in this game. If Scott Parker can pull this off then it’ll be one special weekend. Realistically if we can’t beat anyone outside of the bottom half of the table then this surely can’t happen. Chelsea 3-0.
Rick; Christie, Nordtveit, Ream, Bryan; McDonald, Chambers, Babel, Cairney, Sess; Mitro