What do we have here then? A west London derby in which Fulham are the pre-eminent team in SW6, that’s what. They begin tonight’s game in seventh, three places and three points ahead of Chelsea, who are in danger of winning the transfer window and losing everything else. The last time Fulham started a league game against Chelsea in a higher position was 2 April 1983*, a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage in the old Division Two.
All the pre-match talk has been, a little tediously, about whether Graham Potter should be sacked for his inability to build Rome in a couple of hours. Marco Silva knows all about P45s, having been sacked by Sporting Lisbon, Watford and Everton, but there was always a lot to like about his management and he has quietly done a spectacular job at Craven Cottage.
Fulham won the Championship in his first season, scoring 106 goals in the process, and have held their own against allcomers in the Premier League. Their late defeats at Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United were all unfortunate, and the only time they took a pasting was when they had 10 men for most of a 4-1 defeat at home to Newcastle. They have won all four games since Qatar, whereas Chelsea have lost seven of the last nine and are without almost an entire team of senior players.
I was going to say that, even without the suspended Aleksandar Mitrovic, Fulham will be provide a stiff test for Chelsea. But given the league positions and recent form, we should probably be assessing that the other way round.
Kick off 8pm.
* I think. Look, I checked it once and I might have made a mistake but I don’t have time to go back over 40 years of league tables again, okay. This is a blog, your honour, not a judicial review!
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