Hakim Ziyech of Morocco

Chelsea vs Fulham: Blues may need patience

Kick-off: 1730, 01/05/2021

Stadium: Stamford Bridge

TV: Sky Sports

Chelsea return to domestic action looking to push west London neighbours Fulham one step closer to the relegation trap door.

The fixture being sandwiched between the two legs of Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final will give Fulham hope of causing an upset but we expect the Blues to have the strength in depth to cope.

They have kept clean sheets in 11 of their 16 league wins this season and with the visitors struggling for goals, a home win to nil is an easy pick at 23/20 as our opening Chelsea vs Fulham prediction.

A Look At Chelsea’s Betting Odds

Chelsea will have returned from Spain in high spirits after holding Real Madrid to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their Champions League showdown, with Christian Pulisic grabbing a valuable away goal.

Thomas Tuchel named an unchanged line-up on Tuesday night, the first time he has done so since arriving at the club three months ago.

That suggests several changes can be expected to the team this weekend, with the likes of Tammy Abraham, Olivier Giroud and Callum Hudson-Odoi all unused substitutes in Spain while Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz came off the bench in the 66th minute.

Of those players, Ziyech is arguably in the best form in front of goal, having scored against Atletico Madrid, Sheffield United and Manchester City since the middle of March.

Looking at the Chelsea vs Fulham odds, we like 6/1 for Ziyech to open the scoring.

Last Chelsea line-up: Mendy, Rudiger, Christensen, Silva, Chilwell, Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kante, Pulisic, Mount, Werner.

Mateo Kovacic has failed to beat his hamstring injury in time to feature, while Toni Rudiger will also miss out with a minor knock.

A Look At Fulham’s Betting Odds

Fulham looked like they could get out of trouble after a good run of results in February was quickly followed by a surprise victory at Liverpool in March.

The Cottagers have failed to maintain that momentum though, suffering four successive defeats before conceding a last-minute equaliser at Arsenal last time out.

Having also lost to an injury-time goal at Wolves, Scott Parker is facing an increasingly tough job keeping spirits up although he remains up for the fight.

Asked if another gut-wrenching late goal at Arsenal meant their chances of survival had come to an end, Parker’s response was emphatic: “No chance, absolutely no chance.

“This team has shown throughout this season that we can win games, we can come to big football clubs against very big teams and get results and performances.

“Six points is the difference tonight. Of course there is belief, if something can change that quick, then why would there not be?

“Of course we are disappointed, I’m gutted. The last two weeks have been a real kick in terms of that but as always you get up tomorrow morning, gloves back on, keep fighting and go again.”

It is worth noting that only Chelsea (23) have kept more clean sheets in the first half than Fulham (22) so the Blues may have to be patient.

Let’s go for a draw at the break before the hosts come out on top at 3/1 as our last Chelsea vs Fulham prediction, which paid out for us when these teams met in January.

Last Fulham line-up: Areola, Andersen, Adarabioyo, Robinson, Aina, Lemina, Zambo, Decordova-Reid, Cavaleiro, Lookman, Maja.

Captain Tom Cairney has been stepping up his recovery from a long-term knee injury, but this clash will come too soon. Terence Kongolo remains sidelined for the remainder of the season.

Additional stats

Last result:

Real Madrid 1-1 CHELSEA – Christian Pulisic

Arsenal 1-1 FULHAM – Josh Maja (pen)

Head-to-head: Fulham 0-1 Chelsea, Fulham 1-2 Chelsea, Chelsea 2-0 Fulham, Fulham 1-3 Chelsea, Chelsea 2-0 Fulham

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