Chelsea take on their west London rivals on Monday as they hope to kick-start their Premier League season under Mauricio Pochettino.
It’s been a stuttering start for Chelsea after another busy summer of recruitment, with Pochettino picking up just five points from their opening six games so far.
In contrast, Fulham have faired slightly better, picking up eight from their start so far. Both sides have been struggling to convert chances as well, as they share just 11 goals between them, significantly lower than eight teams in the Premier League.
Pochettino’s side have failed to score in their last three Premier League games despite attempting 45 shots in those matches. They last went four league games without a goal under José Mourinho and Avram Grant in September 2007.
Such a start is unprecedented but it does highlight where the squad is at right now, with major upheaval over the last 15 months causing more unsettling ripples throughout the club and squad than many would have thought.
It’s been a miserable 2023 so far with a win over their rivals potentially providing the tonic and jump-start needed to get them going for the rest of the season.
What is the team news heading into the game?
A substantial injury list hasn’t helped Pochettino in his start at Stamford Bridge.
He faces a selection crisis in the full-back position with Reece James yet to recover from a hamstring injury, while Ben Chilwell limped out of Wednesday’s cup win and Malo Gusto is suspended after seeing red against Villa. Marc Cucurella deputised at right-back against Brighton and may do the same on Monday.
Carney Chukwuemeka has returned to full training which should ease Pochettino’s selection problems but he is still without Christopher Nkunku, Romeo Lavia, Benoit Badiashile, Trevoh Chalobah, Wesley Fofana and Marcus Bettinelli who are all on the treatment table.
Nicolas Jackson serves his one-game suspension after picking up his fifth yellow card in the 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa with Cole Palmer potentially stepping up in his place.