Chelsea will look to further solidify their position in the Premier League’s top 4 when they entertain Fulham at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
The Blues are off the back of a 1-1 first leg draw in the Spanish capital on Tuesday, although do have the advantage of an away goal in their Champions League semi-final with Real Madrid.
Chelsea’s performance was one that should have warranted more goals, but Thomas Tuchel will be satisfied with a score draw on the road in Europe.
However, attentions now turn to Premier League action as West London neighbours Fulham make the short trip to Stamford Bridge.
With victory over West Ham in their last top flight game, Chelsea have established a small points cushion in the top 4, but will need to avoid a slip up against relegation-threatened Fulham as not to allow the chasing pack a way back in.
The Cottagers have it all to do to preserve their Premier League status and head to the Bridge 18th in the table and 7 points from safety.
Brighton are the side Scott Parker’s side are hoping to chase down but they appear very much on the horizon for Fulham rather than in the immediate crosshairs.
It’s improbable but not impossible that Fulham do survive, but they are in must-win territory at Stamford Bridge and can’t leave Chelsea with anything other than 3 points if they are going to pull off a great escape.
A draw with Arsenal last time out ended a run of 4 Premier League defeats in a row, although Fulham will feel they should’ve won the game – Eddie Nketiah’s 97th minute leveller for the Gunners was a gut punch to Scott Parker and his players.
To make matters worse for Fulham, their recent away record against Chelsea makes for grim reading, too. You have to go all the way back to October 1979 – 18 matches ago – for the last time the Cottagers won a league game at Stamford Bridge.
Fulham will need to crack a Chelsea defence with one of the tightest records in the division – a difficult task considering the Cottagers’ 25 goals this season is the second fewest in the Premier League.
In terms of team news, Chelsea were without midfielder Mateo Kovacic against former club Real Madrid midweek and he may miss out again at the weekend should he not recover from a thigh injury in time.
Aside from the Croatian, Thomas Tuchel has a fully-fit squad to select from against Fulham.
For the visitors, Scott Parker continues to be without long-term absentee Tom Cairney, whilst Terence Kongolo is also unavailable.
There are doubts over whether Kenny Tete will feature as he continues to recover from a bout of coronavirus. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is ineligible to play as he comes up against his parent club.
Chelsea v Fulham kicks off at 5.30pm on Saturday 1st May.