Having conquered Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday, Chelsea’s players will now turn their attentions onto fellow London rivals in the form of Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday.
In recent weeks, Chelsea have struggled domestically, but a win against their arch-rivals may prove to be the catalyst that re-ignites their league season and their chances of qualifying for next season’s UEFA Champions League.
Hoping to prevent the Blues from doing so are a Fulham side who dismissed former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri earlier this week, putting one of Ranieri’s former players in charge until the end of the season, Scott Parker.
With these neighbours desperate for victory at opposite ends of the table, here is who we predict will start for the Blues on Sunday.
Predicted line-up: (4-3-3) Willy Caballero; Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Emerson; N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Ross Barkley; Willian, Gonzalo Higuain, Eden Hazard
Predicted substitutes: Kepa Arrizabalaga, David Luiz, Mateo Kovacic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Pedro, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Olivier Giroud
Having made the most of replacing Kepa Arrizabalaga against Tottenham, Willy Caballero could keep his place in the team which would see him play consecutive matches in the Premier League for the first time as a Chelsea player.
Blues boss Maurizio Sarri hinted at potentially making changes to his side in his pre-match press conference, meaning Andreas Christensen and Emerson, who have both been around the first team in recent matches, could be included, playing alongside Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger in the back four which would see David Luiz and Marcos Alonso drop out.
Against Spurs, it was Mateo Kovacic who partnered N’Golo Kante and Jorginho in the centre of midfield, but against Fulham, Ross Barkley could be selected instead of the Croatian, a switch that has happened so frequently throughout this season.
With the thought of rotation hot on Sarri’s mind, midweek goalscorer Pedro could be spared, a move which is likely to see Willian start on the right side of Chelsea’s front three, expecting to accompany Gonzalo Higuain and Eden Hazard.
Fulham under Parker is very much an unknown entity that the Blues will have to deal with. The Cottagers’ priorities will be to nullify an attack-minded side who recently proved against Spurs how to break down one of the best back lines in the top-flight.
Score prediction: Fulham 1-2 Chelsea