2023/24 English Premier League
Fulham v Chelsea
Monday, 2 October 2023
Kick-off is at 21h00
Chelsea will be desperate to get their season up and running when they make the short trip to Craven Cottage to face local rivals Fulham on Monday, October 2.
The Blues have yet to click under Mauricio Pochettino, who has picked up just one win from his opening six matches at the helm - a 3-0 triumph over newly-promoted Luton on August 25.
Pochettino's side suffered a 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on September 24, which left them winless in their last three games and floundering down in 14th place, already nine points adrift of the top four.
They are a point behind neighbours Brentford (13th) and a further two shy of the Cottagers, who were held to a goalless draw by Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on September, with the point taking them up to 11th position.
Alamy Stock Photo
Marco Silva's side are unbeaten in their last two outings after also beating the Hatters 1-0 the previous weekend and they've now kept two successive clean sheets since shipping five goals against Manchester City.
Willian looked lively on his third start of the season and completed the full 90 minutes against Palace, having also played the entire game at home to Luton. The Brazilian has yet to get off the mark this season, but he came close at Selhurst Park after being denied by Sam Johnstone on two occasions, once ion each half.
Alamy Stock Photo
Raheem Sterling has shown glimpses of his best form this term, but he's struggled to really hit his stride like the rest of the team. The England winger should have put the Blues in front against Villa after being sent clear down the right by Thiago Silva in the second half, although he was unable to beat Emiliano Martínez from close range.
Silva praised his players for showing character to create so many chances at a tough venue, although he felt Fulham could have come away with all three points had they been more clinical in front of goal.
"I think overall, during the game, we were the team that created more chances to win. I'm pleased with the performance, we just have to be much more effective in our attack when we're arriving in certain areas of the pitch," he said.
"But when you come here, when you play away from home, and we create at least three clear chances to score, we took many positives from this game. We showed character, personality as a team to come to play in our way, in a tough place to play, it's always really tough to play here."
Pochettino admitted the game changed after Malo Gasto was sent off for in the 58th minute, with Chelsea having controlled proceedings up until that point and created a few good chances.
"In the first half I think we deserved a little bit more. We had the control of the game. Then in the second half we started on top of them but then with the red card the game changed. For 60 minutes with 11 against 11 and then the rest with 10 men, it's two different games," he said.
"It was a little bit unlucky. How many chances did we have like that one for Aston Villa? We blocked the shot and then the shot comes back and the second one hits the post and goes in. For us, how many times were we one-against-one with Emi Martinez. That was a little bit unlucky also, but that happened.
"In this situation we need to accept the reality, but it was a little bit unlucky because of how many chances they created, when you take off the set-pieces. It wasn't many. With 10 men we were forcing them to go back and we created chances. That is the situation."
Head-to-Head (Last Five Premier League Meetings)
Matches - 5
Fulham - 1
Chelsea - 3
Draws - 1
Premier League Matchday 7 fixtures:
Saturday, September 30
13h30: Aston Villa v Brighton & Hove Albion
16h00: Bournemouth v Arsenal
16h00: Everton v Luton Town
16h00: Manchester United v Crystal Palace
16h00: Newcastle United v Burnley
16h00: West Ham United v Sheffield United
16h00: Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester City
18h30: Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool
Sunday, October 1
15h00: Nottingham Forest v Brentford
Monday, October 2
21h00: Fulham v Chelsea
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