There aren’t many better ways to respond to losing a cup final on penalties than to knock down one of your fiercest rivals.
Maurizio Sarri and his Chelsea side overcame the Carabao Cup debacle by beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in midweek. He and his side will aim to emulate this against another close rival, Fulham.
With former Blues midfielder, Scott Parker in temporary charge of the Cottagers following the dismissal of another ex-Chelsea name, Claudio Ranieri, a team that are staring relegation in the face also has a shuddering statistic lingering over them; Fulham have won just once in 38 games against Chelsea, their last victory coming in 2006.
Now three points outside the top four, there are few greater opportunities for Sarri to lift his squad up the table and back into contention of qualifying for the Champions League against rocky opposition on Sunday.
Before the battle of the capital commences, we have taken a look at three players to have played in the blue of Chelsea and the white of Fulham over the years.
Mark Schwarzer (Fulham 2008-2013, Chelsea 2013-2015)
A fabled giant between the sticks, Mark Schwarzer’ six-foot and four-inch frame helped him make a name for himself at Middlesbrough, during a period where they unfathomably made it to a UEFA Cup final.
In search of similar riches, Fulham ended the Australian’s 11-year stay on Teesside in 2008. It must have been his magic gloves, as the Cottagers managed to secure a Europa League spot during Schwarzer’s first full campaign. He also earned Fulham’s Player of the Year and was named as the Premier League’s February Player of the Month in the campaign.
It is unlikely that Fulham will ever witness another foray into Europe soon, treasuring their remarkable run to the final in 2010 for eternity. Beaten by Atletico Madrid, Schwarzer had to make do with another runners-up medal in an overachieving side.
Having owned the number one jersey for five solid seasons, Schwarzer reached the landmark of 500 Premier League appearances whilst in West London, becoming the first non-British or Irish player to accomplish this statistic.
As his time came to end with Fulham, a very short journey down the road to Chelsea was Schwarzer’s next destination. He was certainly a veteran in footballing terms, turning 41 shortly after joining the Blues.
With this, he became the oldest player to debut in a Champions League tie, doing so by keeping a clean sheet against Steaua Bucuresti. He also took the title as Chelsea’s oldest representative in the same campaign.
Schwarzer continued to contribute in the domestic and European competitions whilst reaching his 150th Premier League clean sheet against title rivals Liverpool; only David James and Petr Cech have kept more.
Despite acting as a backup, Jose Mourinho awarded Schwarzer with a league winner’s medal as Chelsea topped the division.
On international duty, Schwarzer travelled the globe much like his club escapades. He featured firmly at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, playing 109 times for the Socceroos.
Paul Parker (Fulham 1982-1987 and 1997, Chelsea 1997)
What were you doing at 17? Studying for exams? Looking for a part-time job? Paul Parker was playing for Fulham’s first-team before his 18th birthday.
A fresh, exciting talent emerged onto the scene and soon, Parker became Fulham’s first choice right-back whilst being recognised as a rising star in the English game.
After over 150 appearances for the Cottagers, Parker joined Queens Park Rangers before embarking on a mission with Manchester United.
Under Sir Alex Ferguson, he and the legendary Scot stole the domestic show, winning three Premier League and two FA Cup titles, although Parker did not receive a medal in the 1995/96 campaign, with injury ruling him out for the vast majority.
With the class of ’92 sweeping Old Trafford, Parker was one of the experienced crowd to depart, moving Derby County and then Sheffield United. A brief return to Fulham was swiftly followed by a short move across the District line to Chelsea.
After only featuring on just four occasions and missing an FA Cup final victory for the Blues, Parker turned to non-league with Heybridge Swifts to say goodbye to the professional game.
His most telling moment of a promising career came at the fabled Italian World Cup of 1990. England coach Bobby Robson recognised this unfolding starlet and put him on the plane to their most successful World Cup since 1966 and one in which their feat was only matched last year.
Parker quickly established himself in the starting line-up, despite having only five senior caps to his name. It was his cross that allowed Gary Lineker to equalise against Germany in the semi-final, where the Three Lions inevitably crumbled via the dreaded lottery of a penalty shootout.
Eiður Guðjohnsen (Chelsea 2000-2006, Fulham 2011)
When you think of Icelandic stars to have graced the Premier League, fewer names spring to mind quicker than Eiður Guðjohnsen.
Signed by Ranieri from Bolton Wanderers for a bargain of £4.5 million, Guðjohnsen gained the majority of his game time off the bench, still managing 13 goals in his maiden campaign.
A year later and his true potential in front of goal began to flourish, along with his partnership alongside Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. Between them, the deadly duo found the net 52 times together in the league.
If it wasn’t for injury sustained by the Icelandic international, his Chelsea career could have soared to great heights. Cue the arrival of Mourinho, cue the re-arrival of Guðjohnsen and the resurgence of Chelsea; all of these elements found the formula for back-to-back league titles. He ended his stay at Stamford Bridge with 78 goals in 263 appearances.
A mere treble with Barcelona later (La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League) and a pit stop at Monaco, Guðjohnsen had returned for more in England with Tottenham Hotspur, Stoke City and finally Fulham.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t ice-cool on the scoring side anymore, with just a singular goal in his three different stints across the country, both coming for Spurs.
Moves to Greece and Belgium rounded a well-travelled footballing journey, all to be tied up with a return to his original club, Bolton.
Guðjohnsen shot through the national sides ranks, from under-17s to the seniors in four years. Talk about keeping in the family, Guðjohnsen made his international debut, replacing his own father, Arnór, during a friendly.
He became Iceland’s all-time leading goal scorer, netting for the 26th time in a defeat to Latvia. At the ripe old age of 37, he made into the Euro 2016 squad in a historic first international tournament as they became the smallest nation ever to grace a major final.
Against all odds, Iceland and Guðjohnsen made it to the quarter-finals at the first time of asking, sending England packing in the meantime, with their talismanic marksman making three substitute appearances.
By Nathaniel Kay