Under-fire Chelsea boss Graham Potter takes his struggling Blues down the road for a West London Derby clash with in-form Fulham at Craven Cottage this evening in what should prove a fascinating Premier League tussle.
Chelsea fans serenaded previous manager Thomas Tuchel during Chelsea’s harrowing 4-0 FA Cup loss at Man City at the weekend and while the higher-ups at Stamford Bridge insist Potter’s job is safe, another poor result against Fulham would increase the squeeze on the former Brighton coach.
Below, I’ve compiled my stats pack for this evening’s showdown in the capital, which contains buckets of info for your bet-building pleasure. Read my Stats Pack Guide if you need some guidance on how to get the most out of the data.
Tipped as relegation candidates before a ball was kicked, Fulham have been silencing plenty of doubters this season and the Cottagers (7th) sit three points and three places ahead of Chelsea (10th) in the Premier League table as we near the campaign’s midway point.
Fulham’s underlying stats suggest they give as much as they get most weeks, though some of their defensive metrics are a little concerning. Only two clubs have been conceding more shots on target per 90, while the Cottagers have the highest xG against figures in the entire division.
Capitulation at Manchester City in the FA Cup aside, Chelsea have been decent performers defensively this season, and they hold the Premier League’s fourth-best record at the back this season.
Their underwhelming stats at the business end highlight the Blues’ lack of oomph in the final third however, and only six teams in England’s top flight have a lower xG per 90.
Like Fulham, Chelsea have also been collecting quite a few cards this term and with derby day tension a factor, referee David Coote could be a busy man this evening.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
With Aleksandar Mitrovic suspended, the spearhead has been snapped off the Fulham attack, though Brazilian veteran Willian could be one to keep an eye on in the shot markets instead.
The 34-year-old spent seven successful seasons with Chelsea and the winger will be keen to put on a good show against his former employees. Willian is averaging close to two shots per game in the league this season and he is excellent value 10/11 to notch at least one attempt on target this evening.
Chelsea mustered a measly three shots in their 4-0 reverse at Manchester City in the FA Cup and just eight when they played the Cityzens shortly before that in the Premier League.
The Blues will expect to create a greater number of opportunities at Craven Cottage and attacking midfielder Mason Mount could be an option to consider for your coupon at 4/6 to have at least one accurate shot.
The 24-year-old was the only Chelsea player to register a shot on target against Man City at the weekend and Mount clocked four attempts in his last two league runouts against Forest and Bournemouth, half of which tested the opposing keepers.
Player Goals and Assists
Aleksandar Mitrovic’s numbers this season have been outstanding and his absence leaves a gaping hole in Fulham’s attack this evening. In terms of alternative options, Andreas Pereira could fit the bill at 9/5 to either score or assist.
The Brazilian has a decent haul of six goal contributions this season and with Mitrovic sidelined, Pereira could also be handed spot-kick-taking duties if Fulham win a penalty. Chelsea conceded two pens in their 4-0 loss at Man City on Sunday.
Chelsea’s only goal in their last three matches was provided by Raheem Sterling, who is injured and unavailable this evening, while Kai Havertz seems to do his best work at Stamford Bridge, where he has netted three of his four league goals.
Mason Mount again jumps off the list as Chelsea’s next-best bet to do some damage. The England international has collected five goal contributions in 16 league appearances in 2022/23, and two of the last three goals conceded by Fulham at Craven Cottage were scored by players of his ilk (James Ward-Prowse for Southampton & Christian Eriksen for Man Utd).
Fulham have been happy to play on the counter-attack for much of the campaign and they are unlikely to beat their 47% average possession figure against Chelsea this evening.
American full-back Antonee Robinson is neatly priced at 13/8 to pass the 50-pass barrier against the Blues, however. The 25-year-old has pushed through the 50-pass ceiling in six of his last ten starts in the league and the ball should be regularly shuffled out to him on the flank by his teammates again later on.
Central-defensive partners Thiago Silva (3/10) and Kalidou Koulibaly (4/9) have been running up big numbers in the passing department this season and both players look like strong options to play over 70 passes at Craven Cottage, albeit at skinny prices.
Veteran Spanish fullback César Azpilicueta might be of interest at 13/8 in the same market (70+ passes). The 33-year-old played 88 and 96 passes against Nottingham Forest and Brentford respectively in his last two 90-minute stints on the road for Chelsea.
The five Fulham players listed in our table have collected 27 of the 42 cards collected by the Cottagers in the Premier League this season, and any member from that hard-hitting quintet would be a decent addition to your bet builder today.
However, fullbacks Kenny Tete and Antonee Robinson look particularly eye-catching to be carded at 5/2 and 13/5 respectively when they mark some tricky Chelsea flanksmen.
In midfield, combative Portuguese star Joao Palhinha (9/4) seems to find another gear against big clubs and the 27-year-old is certain to tackle anything that moves this evening.
Hakim Ziyech and Mason Mount have been forced to absorb their fair share of nibbles from overzealous opponents this season, and both players could be on the receiving end again this evening when monitored by Fulham’s Tete and Robinson.
Elsewhere, Jorginho sets the tempo in midfield for the Blues, so expect Fulham’s Palhinha to be on his case from minute one at Craven Cottage.
Match-Ups to watch
Kenny Tete vs Mason Mount
Joao Palhinha vs Jorginho
Antonee Robinson vs Hakim Ziyech
Kalidiou Koulibaly (11/4) has had his share of awkward moments since joining Chelsea from Napoli and the sluggish defender has already accumulated six bookings in all competitions for the Blues this term.
Cesar Azpilicueta (9/2) can sometimes be done for pace at right-back and at 33, the veteran has reached an age where he can be exposed by players with decent acceleration. Mateo Kovacic (11/4) is the Blues’ most-carded central midfield this term, collecting four yellows overall across all competitions.
With Mitrovic out, Carlos Vinicius will assume duties as nuisance-maker up front for Fulham and the Brazilian is adept at drawing fouls. The hard-working 27-year-old will be out to rub Koulibaly the wrong way today.
Willian will be keen to torment former teammate Azpilicueta down Fulham’s left wing, while Joao Palhinha’s (fouled 1.32 times p/90) aggressive approach in midfield could earn some retribution from Mateo Kovacic.
Match-Ups to watch
Kalidou Koulibaly vs Carlos Vinicius
Cesar Azpilicueta vs Willian
Mateo Kovacic vs Joao Palhinha