Fulham has won only one of its last 23 Premier League matches against its West London neighbors. The number is depressing. So why could now be the perfect time for the Cottagers to pull off an upset?
The Blues have been on a very hectic schedule as of late. With UEFA Europa League, FA Cup and Premier League fixtures all a few days apart, there has been barely any time to breathe for Rafa Benitez's men.
The team could still be licking its wounds, and Fulham could capitalize on that.
Not to mention that this game is only a mere three days after playing a tough opponent like City. Chelsea players are the most overworked in the EPL right now.
Benitez's team is also coming in with a few notable injuries. Gary Cahill is out with his knee, Ashley Cole will not play because of his hamstring, and Marko Marin is doubtful after picking up a hip injury.
However, lucky for Chelsea, veterans Frank Lampard and John Terry are expected to return to the side.
Fulham will also be missing a few players coming into this match. Former Chelsea players Steve Sidwell and Damien Duff will not play. Sidwell is suspended while Duff is injured. Ashkan Dejagah and Mahamadou Diarra are also injured.
Will Fulham pull off the upset?
Chelsea needs this win.
The race for the last two Champions League spots is extremely tight. Tottenham and Arsenal are right there waiting for the Blues to slip up, but they cannot afford to. This game is a must-win.
Fulham has nothing to play for, and nothing to lose.
Martin Jol's team needs to take advantage of Chelsea's tired legs if they want to pull off the upset. It's not going to be easy. But it's not impossible.
What better day to get a win over Chelsea?
The Blues will be formidable at the beginning of the game but should get worn out as it progresses. Fulham must take advantage of its opportunities and capitalize early. It's the only way they can pocket three points.
But again, this is an important game for Chelsea. Benitez knows he cannot give up easy points now. The stakes are far too high.