England Premier League
Saturday 1st May 2021
Kick off at 5:30pm BST
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Spare a thought for Fulham who could be in serious trouble if they don’t win at the weekend. They will be facing a team in Chelsea who could be crowned European champions in a month’s time and have only lost 1 game in the Premier League in 3 months.
Perhaps the one thing going for the Cottagers is that this is, of course, a derby. Derby's usually mean tactics can go out the window and even though Fulham have an inferior team and have done over the years they have upped their game in this fixture, and some have ended up being very close.
Chelsea of course will start as the odds on favourites as they try to secure a top 4 finish. This season could go either way for the club, there is the possible glory of the Champions League and as it stands they would reach the final. Chelsea drew 1-1 at Real Madrid in the 1st leg of the semi-final so Madrid would need to score in London next week to keep that game alive. The problem Chelsea have is that it could still all go wrong. Chelsea could lose against Madrid and finish 4th in the league but if Arsenal were to win the Europa League then 4th would not qualify for next seasons Champions League. In a nutshell expect Chelsea to be taking this game very seriously.
At present Chelsea are in 4th with 58 points and have a 3 point advantage to 5th. However Leicester have pulled out a decent advantage too and could finish in 3rd so it is imperative that the Blues win this game. Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 3 games although at home they have stumbled lately with just 1 win in their past four. The Blues last home game ended in a disappointing 0-0 draw with Brighton and we would have to go back to the beginning of March for their last win at Stamford Bridge which came against Everton.
Fulham have 27 points and are 7 points from safety, Scott Parker’s team look doomed and form is poor and they have picked up just 1 point from their last 15. Away from home results have been dominated by draws and they have 8 so far and their last away game ended in a 1-1 draw with Arsenal. This however would have felt like a loss given that the Gunners equalised in the 97th minute.
Chelsea: Mateo Kovacic is 50/50 to return for this game following his hamstring injury, he is the only concern for the club.
Fulham: Ruben Loftus-Cheek cannot face his parent club so misses this one. Kenny Tete could return after illness with Covid-19. Marek Rodak (hand), Terence Kongolo (knee) and Tom Cairney (knee) are all out long term.
Chelsea vs Fulham Head to Head:
The last time the clubs met here was in 2018 and Chelsea won 2-0.
Earlier in the season Chelsea won 1-0.
9 meetings from the last 12 have ended in under 2.5 goals.
Fulham haven’t beaten Chelsea away from home in 32 years.
Chelsea vs Fulham Prediction:
We expect Fulham to set up defensively and try and hit on the counter but there is a lack of quality in the team and this should be a Chelsea victory. Of course we are reminded of the last time Chelsea faced a bottom three side and they lost that one 5-2 against West Bromwich Albion. In hindsight that match simply felt like a one off, it can happen. Chelsea just look very assured and very confident and this is a game they also need to win. If Chelsea’s top 4 status was secure it could be a different story, but Chelsea still have everything to play for and they will make this game as difficult as they can for the Cottagers.
The only note we must make is who will Thomas Tuchel play, will he rotate for the Real Madrid game? There may be a starring role at the weekend then for Olivier Giroud because Tuchel may prefer to play Timo Werner for Europe, so we could back Giroud to score at the weekend. Check the final team news and if Werner starts back him. He scored in Chelsea’s last Premier League game against West Ham and that could be what he needed. But if Giroud gets the nod then he could be just the right player for this occasion to hold up the ball and get into good positions.
Chelsea vs Fulham Betting Tips:
Asian handicap (-1 Chelsea) at 1.94
Anytime goalscorer: Olivier Giroud at 2.25
Chelsea to score 2+ goals at 1.72