Chelsea vs Fulham – Betting Tips & Predictions – 02/12

Last updated & checked: 10/08/2021


 

Fulham may have finally found a win last weekend – and with it, put themselves just a point behind the teams sitting outside the relegation zones – but after a generous debut fixture for Claudio Ranieri in the Fulham dugout, his side now face a far greater challenge. Facing their unbeaten local rivals, Fulham will be rank outsiders for this game – but then again, we know that Ranieri has overcome much more intimidating odds before.

Chelsea will have some demons to face down in advance of this game. Unbeaten until last weekend, they saw that record torn to pieces, burned, and the ashes scattered at sea by Tottenham in a 3-1 thumping that could have been much more emphatic. They recovered to beat PAOK 4-0 on Thursday, so maybe it’s out of their system, but an early Fulham goal could make things very edgy around Stamford Bridge on Sunday lunchtime.

Chelsea vs Fulham Prediction: Chelsea 3-1 Fulham

Mauricio Sarri’s words after the Tottenham result (to the effect of “I didn’t like any of my players”) may have been for effect, but they expose a deeper truth. Although Chelsea were unbeaten before last weekend’s game, they had had a few warning shots. The slapping that Tottenham handed out was in many ways unsurprising, because Chelsea have not had the toughest of starts to the season. Draws against West Ham and Everton indicated they had limitations, and those were seized upon. However, Fulham’s defence didn’t look immediately better in Ranieri’s debut than it had before – there may be a beating or two, particularly here, before it is fine-tuned.

Our recommended tip: Draw HT, Chelsea FT

As pleasing on the eye as Sarri-ball may be, the intricacy of his passing tactics does tend to see Chelsea start games slowly. Usually they get going as the game progresses (such as in the 3-1 win over Crystal Palace), but sometimes, as in the West Ham and Everton games, a stubborn opposition can keep them from ever really blooming. Even if Ranieri has worked miracles in his short time with Fulham, this still feels more like the former kind of occasion, although the early start may see the Blues toil for a while. This bet is available at 3/1 (4.00) with Ladbrokes, and may be a smart punt.

Previous matches

It’s been a few years since these neighbours met – Fulham’s relegation in 2014 means that they’re renewing acquaintances for the first time in four years. Last time out, in March 2014, Chelsea came to Craven Cottage and won 3-1. The scores were level at half-time, but a hat-trick by Andre Schurrle delivered the points to the visitors. Fulham fans will hope there’s an omen in that, as Schurrle is now playing for their side and should start here. The last meeting at Stamford Bridge ended 2-0 to the hosts – who again sprang to life in the second half after a goalless opening stanza.

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Players to watch: Willian & Ryan Sessegnon

Much is written and said about Eden Hazard on the left, and whichever goal-shy striker is playing through the middle, but Chelsea are usually at their best when Willian is in form on the right wing. The Brazilian has been at the club since 2013 – by now one of the club’s longest-serving players – and has been a fixture in the side, scoring plentifully and creating openings under a string of different managers. He looks very much at home in the Sarri system, and will be a headache for Ranieri to deal with here.

Sessegnon, in another lifetime, might have ended up marking Willian – the number 3 on his back is a holdover from his early days as a left-back. The Londoner, who was barely 18 when Fulham secured promotion through the playoffs last season, accounted for a stunning 16 goals in the campaign, most coming after his obvious goal threat saw him pushed further forward. It was from that left-wing position that he delivered a stunning assist for Schurrle in last week’s game, and he’ll relish the chance to shine again here.

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