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Chelsea v Fulham preview: Team news, expected lineup

Chelsea vs. Crystal Palace - prediction, team news, lineups

After a hectic ending to the January transfer window for Chelsea, they welcome Fulham to Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Friday night. The Blues spent in excess of £300 million during the month, but need a mammoth turnaround to make the top four this season.

Match preview

After the high-profile signings of Joao Felix and Mykhailo Mudryk earlier in January, Chelsea blew those transfers out of the water with a record- breaking fee to bring World Cup Golden Boy Enzo Fernandez to the Bridge on deadline day.


The £106.8m spent on the Argentine means it is an all-time English record transfer fee, and having played five games for Benfica post-World Cup, Fernandez will be ready to make an immediate impact in the side.

With that signing taking their spending for the season to over £600 million, the Chelsea hierarchy are certainly putting a lot of faith in Graham Potter to turn their fortunes around after a woeful season on the league front especially.


This fixture will be a rematch from the thrilling encounter at Craven Cottage three weeks ago, which saw Fulham win 2-1 as Felix was sent off on debut for Chelsea. That result left Potter in big trouble as it meant they had gone on a run of just one win in 11 domestic matches.

A win over Crystal Palace and a goalless draw at Anfield followed to ease the pressure on the manager, but this is yet another must win match for a club in the media spotlight given their recent spending, who are inexplicably down in 10th.


Even though only three sides have conceded fewer goals, Chelsea’s problems lie mainly in attack, and not signing an elite-level, out-and-out striker, despite the astronomical figures they have paid out, could backfire.

Kai Havertz, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mason Mount, Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic are among a long list of Chelsea attacking options who have performed below expectations this season, as that quintet of players have notched just 14 goals between them in the league.


The red card to Felix was an extraordinary welcome for him to the Premier League, but the brief glimpses seen of the Portuguese international, and that of Mudryk at Anfield, suggests that the duo could make the difference for Chelsea in the second half of the season.

They very often have the edge over Fulham in this West London derby at Stamford Bridge too, as Fulham’s only wins here came in 1964 and 1979, neither of which were in the top flight. Since beating Chelsea in the reverse fixture, Fulham have lost both league matches and been forced into an FA Cup replay by lower-league opposition.


Team News

With the signing of Fernandez going through around the deadline on Tuesday night, he will be eligible to play here, but whether Potter will opt to throw him straight into the side is debatable. Felix is still suspended after his red card in the reverse fixture, with this being the third and final game of that ban he has to serve.

After an exciting cameo against Liverpool, Mudryk could come into the side possibly to take the place of either Hakim Ziyech or Conor Gallagher, who both saw late transfers fall through on deadline day. One player who did leave though was Jorginho, as the Italian midfielder joined London rivals and league leaders Arsenal, and with N’Golo Kante and Denis Zakaria both injured, Potter will hope to welcome back Mateo Kovacic for this one. The Croatian midfielder missed the trip to Anfield with a calf problem, but the manager expects him to be fine to return to the side.


Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Arrizabalaga; Chalobah, Thiago Silva, Badiashile; Azpilicueta, Kovacic, Hall, Cucurella; Mount, Mudryk, Havertz

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