Chelsea – Fulham is a huge west London derby on Saturday (start time 12:30pm ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com) as both teams need the points, but for very different reasons.
Thomas Tuchel and Chelsea sit in fourth place heading into the weekend and have reached the FA Cup final and are sitting pretty after their 1-1 draw at Real Madrid in their UEFA Champions League semifinal first leg in midweek. Christian Pulisic is in fine form and Tuchel’s amazing first few months in charge has seen the Blues in the top four and battling for two trophies.
As for Fulham, well, Scott Parker’s side sit in the relegation zone and seven points from safety heading into this weekend. Every game is a must-win for them now. They have come agonizingly close to big wins in recent weeks but time is running out. Scoring goals remains the big problem for Fulham who may have to change up their plan and go all-out attack to stay up.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Chelsea – Fulham.
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Live analysis from Chelsea – Fulham
FULL TIME! Easy win for Chelsea, as they are now just two points behind third-place Leicester and six points ahead of fifth-place West Ham, who have a game in-hand. Fulham are in big trouble, nine points from safety with 12 points to play for. They have to win all four of their remaining games to give themselves a chance. Thanks for joining me at Stamford Bridge!
90th minute: Azpilicueta, sat on the bench, tells Fulham to shut up and they are ‘always talking’ as Parker smiles at him in a menacing way. Werner is then taken down right no the edge of the box but nothing comes of the free kick.
87th minute: Parker is urging his team on ‘Josh Maja, brilliant!’ and ‘Well done, Jedz!’ as well as ‘body language, come on!’ He knows they are gong to lose this, but is encouraged by how they are playing.
80th minute: Mitro is on, finally, but Fulham seemed resigned to their fate.
Tammy Abraham coming on for Chelsea, with Pulisic, Hudson-Odoi and Tino Anjorin warming up as they hope to come on.
Also, great to hear ‘yes, Jedi!’ whenever USMNT’s Antonee Robinson does anything good.
Jorginho and Cesar Azpilicueta are both on the bench and warming up on the sidelines. They will both be managers in the future. They are barking out so many instructions to the players on the pitch and absolutely love it.
Fulham doing their best to force the issue but Kante, Billy Gilmour (who has been really good) and Mason Mount (who has also been superb) are just popping the ball around in central midfield.
Substitute for Chelsea as N’Golo Kante comes on for Hakim Ziyech. Just want Fulham needed.
CHANCE! What a chance for Havertz to score a hat trick, but Tosin dives in with a fine block to deny him.
The camera pans to the stands and Aleksandar Mitrovic has a face like thunder as he sits on the bench. Surely Fulham will bring him on, and soon?
“Chilli, Chilli, Chill… how many crosses? How many?” Safe to say that Thomas Tuchel isn’t happy with Ben Chilwell as Fulham have whipped in plenty of crosses from the right. Chilwell is trying to pretend he can’t hear Tuchel. Um, Ben, we are sat inside an empty stadium and everyone can hear Tuchel.
58th minute: Fulham have had lots of the ball but have only had a few blocked shots and crosses to show for it. That final ball is missing.
GOALLLL! Kai Havertz slots home his and Chelsea’s second goal of the game. Way too easy for Chelsea as Havertz found Werner and then wandered into the box to get on the end of the through ball and slot home. There was a VAR check for offside, but the goal stands.
SECOND HALF! An open, end-to-end start to the second half.
HALF TIME: Really even first half. Fulham had plenty of chances, but Chelsea had two or three really good opportunities too. Kai Havertz’s goal remains the difference between the teams.
WHAT A SAVE! A free kick from Lookman is half cleared and Ola Aina’s deflected shot is superb saved by Edouard Mendy. Right on half time. Huge moment in tis game.
Chelsea have had a lot of the ball and Parker is willing Fulham to get to half time just 1-0 down. ‘Big two minutes, big two minutes!’
SAVEEE! Wow. What a stop. Timo Werner is through and squares it to Ziyech, but his shot is saved brilliantly by Areola. Chelsea should be 2-0 up.
PENALTY SHOUT: ‘That is assault!’ screams Scott Parker as Cavaleiro is bundled over by Chilwell in the box. Fulham want a penalty kick, but nothing is given. Moments later Fulham wanted a free kick as Lookman went down. The look of disgust on Parker’s face said it all.
CHANCES! Bobby Decordova-Reid is denied by a fine Thiago Silva block. Moments later Robinson flicks a great ball forward to Lookman who is denied superbly by Mendy. Fulham pushing for an equalizer.
NO GOALLL! Lovely ball from Mount to Havertz, again, but the German forward was just offside. Great first touch and finish. Chelsea pinging it around wonderfully now.
At least there is one hardcore Chelsea fan in the stadium today. Cesar Azpilicueta is giving the referee stick and cheering his team on and applauding very move. The club captain is properly up for this.
GOALLL! Kai Havertz finishes off after a wonderful pass from Mason Mount. Brilliant weight on the pass from Mount. Chelsea lead 1-0 early on, as they finish their first attack of the game.
8th minute: Reece James is getting an earful from Thomas Tuchel who is not happy with his positioning. At all.
SAVE! Wonderful stop from Edouard Mendy to deny USMNT’s Antonee Robinson. A superb shot from the USMNT left back, who surged forward and lashed an effort in on goal that Mendy just tipped over. A brilliant effort from Robinson.
3rd minute: Really good start by Fulham, who have pinned Chelsea back. Lookman looks lively and Edouard Mendy looks a little uncomfortable on the ball.
Kick off! We’re off here at Stamford Bridge. Huge 90 minutes in the season for both these teams, but especially Fulham. Can they spring a shock against a much-changed Chelsea?
Pre-game sights and sounds: USMNT defender Antonee Robinson is looking up at the big screens as Chelsea show a replay of David Luiz scoring a screamer for Chelsea against Fulham in the past. Th USMNT left back is looking sharp in rondo as Fulham ping it around. Lovely moment as USMNT teammates Christian Pulisic and Antonee Robinson share a quick embrace on the pitch. U.S. veteran defender Tim Ream is having a good old chuckle with Chelsea skipper Cesar Azpilicueta too.
Lots of sun here in west London, on a perfect day for a west London derby! This is massive as Chelsea need the win for their top four push, while Fulham need the points to boost their faint hopes of staying in the Premier League.
I’ll keep you updated and entertained (hopefully on the latter!) as I’m sat about 10 yards from the pitch here at Stamford Bridge. It is pristine, by the way.
Chelsea: Mendy, Zouma, Silva, Christensen, Chilwell, Mount, Gilmour, James, Werner, Ziyech, Havertz. Subs: Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta, Kante, Jorginho, Anjorin, Alonso, Pulisic, Hudson-Odoi, Abraham.
Fulham: Areola, Aina, Andersen, Adarabioyo, Robinson, Decordova-Reid, Zambo Anguissa, Lemina, Lookman, Maja, Cavaleiro. Subs: Rodak, Odoi, Ream, Bryan, Hector, Tete, Onomah, Carvalho, Mitrovic.
Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)
Chelsea are the huge favorites at -223, with Fulham massive underdogs at +650 to win. The draw is +320.
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This is such a tough one to call. Chelsea will rest a few players for the Champions League semifinal leg against Real Madrid, but they are so tough to break down and need the points in their top four battle. Fulham have to go for it and will leave gaps on the break and both teams love to play a 3-4-2-1 system. It will be tight, and I’m tempted to go for a draw, but got for a narrow win for the hosts. Chelsea 2-1 Fulham.
How to watch, stream and start time
Kick off: Saturday, 12:30pm ET
TV Channel: NBC
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com