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The Premier League returns from a week’s hiatus with a London derby on Friday night, one where, surprisingly, it is Fulham who have bragging rights over their neighbors. This may not be the fiercest of the capital’s grudge matches — the Cottagers share more enmity with Queen’s Park Rangers whilst Chelsea’s great rivals lie in the north — but there will be plenty at stake at Stamford Bridge with both teams vying for European qualification.
Graham Potter’s side find themselves in 10th with less than half of their Premier League campaign left to go though a win would vault them above Fulham, currently seventh having played at least a game more than most of those around them, but there is an awful lot of ground to make up in little time. Chelsea will be hoping that their new signings can make all the difference. Here is how you can watch the match and what you need to know:
- Date: Friday, Feb. 3 | Time: 3 p.m. ET
- Location: Stamford Bridge — London
- TV: USA Network | Live stream: fuboTV (free trial)
- Odds: Chelsea -167; Draw +290; Fulham +450 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Featured Game | Chelsea vs. Fulham
Chelsea: The Premier League record signing of Enzo Fernandez will, it is hoped, give Chelsea a foundational midfielder for much of the next decade. If the Argentine fulfils the great promise he showed at the World Cup then £107 million will look a snip, for now however there is the matter of who starts in midfield on Friday night. Mateo Kovacic may have returned to fitness in time but N’Golo Kante and Denis Zakaria are out whilst Jorginho is departed for Arsenal.
Whilst Fernandez settles in a great deal of pressure may instead fall on youngster Lewis Hall or Conor Gallagher, who might well have left last month if he had not declined a move to Everton. Further forward Mykhailo Mudryk could make his full debut after an impressive cameo against Liverpool a fortnight ago.
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Fulham: Riding high in seventh, Marco Silva’s side have vastly overachieved what might have been expected of them in a season where they were expected to battle against relegation. In part that can be put down to factors that are unlikely to continue, Fulham’s opponents have received more red cards than any other side whilst the Cottagers have won more penalties. Their goal difference is plus-two, their expected goal difference is minus-seven, slightly inferior to bottom side Southampton.
Still after years where their players did not perform up to their talent level of promotion to the top flight perhaps Fulham will feel they have earned a few lucky breaks. Certainly their recruitment this time round seems to have hit the spot and there will be high hopes for their new deadline day acquisitions, former Torino midfielder Sasa Lukic and Cedric Soares, who has arrived from Arsenal on loan.
One goal defeats to Newcastle and Tottenham suggest Fulham are a side who can mix it up with the league’s best, they might be well placed to get a point or more at Stamford Bridge. PICK: Chelsea 1, Fulham 1