After missing the match against Manchester City at the weekend after falling ill, Gary Cahill could be available for action and make a return to the Chelsea defence for Fulham’s visit to Stamford Bridge.
England trio Daniel Sturridge, John Terry and Frank Lampard are still sidelined through injury.
The team I’d pick for the Fulham match:
C. Azpilicueta – B. Ivanovic – G. Cahill – A. Cole
J. Mikel – Oscar
V. Moses – E. Hazard – J. Mata
Our defence earned their first league clean sheet since the Stoke game in September and looked more disciplined. David Luiz only made the one daft run and was better than his usual self, but I’d still like to see how it will work with Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic paired at the back, like I wanted for the City game before we learned that he wasn’t well enough to play.
Oscar barely touched the ball in the second half against City and seemed to fade from what was an ok first half. I believe his long-term position will be in the centre of midfield, where he can help dictate the game with his passing range and we’ve previously seen that he’s not afraid to get stuck in when he needs to.
As Eden Hazard and Juan Mata prefer to do most of their business in the central areas, it may be wise to select Victor Moses to provide a wide option to help stretch defences and perhaps create more space for one of the aforementioned in the middle. An alternative could be trying Ramires in this role again, although it didn’t work so well earlier in the season when Ivanovic was playing at right-back.
Fernando Torres to start again, unfortunately. I’ve heard enough of how hard his working and how his team-mates need to help him, but around 19 goals in 89 games isn’t good enough. It’s unfortunate that there’s no real alternative at the moment, I’d love to start blooding the diminutive Islam Feruz in the first team and see no reason why this shouldn’t happen, especially for the trip to Japan and the League Cup match against Leeds.