Fulham were initially due to host Chelsea on Friday evening, but the match was rescheduled for Saturday when the Cottagers were pressed into action on Wednesday to play their postponed fixture against Tottenham Hotspur.
In what was the club’s first Premier League match since Boxing Day, Scott Parker’s side claimed a point at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with Ivan Cavaleiro cancelling out a first-half effort from Harry Kane.
Fulham have now drawn each of their last five in the league against Liverpool, Brighton & Hove Albion, Newcastle United, Southampton and Tottenham, but they have only won once since the start of November and currently sit down in 18th position in the table, two points behind 17th-placed Brighton.
The Whites have only managed one away win in the top flight this term, but they did record a 2-0 victory at Queens Park Rangers in the FA Cup last weekend, and there is no question that Wednesday’s performance and result against Tottenham will have left them in a confident mood heading into the derby.
Chelsea, meanwhile, were also in FA Cup action last weekend, comfortably dispatching Morecambe by four clear goals to ease their way into the fourth round of the competition.
The Blues have lost two of their last three in the Premier League, though, including a 3-1 home defeat to Manchester City at the start of the month.
Frank Lampard‘s side have actually won just one of their last six in the league, which has seen them drop down to ninth position in the table, now 10 points off leaders Manchester United.
There is believed to be pressure building on Lampard, and a poor result this weekend would leave the club’s former midfielder in a tough spot ahead of a difficult trip to Leicester City on January 19.
Chelsea’s record over Fulham is incredibly strong, though, having not lost to their rivals in the league since March 2006 – when Luis Boa Morte scored the winner at Craven Cottage – and the Blues will be targeting a sixth straight victory over the Cottagers on Saturday evening.
Fulham Premier League form: LDDDDD
Fulham form (all competitions): DDDDWD
Chelsea Premier League form: LLWLDL
Chelsea form (all competitions): LWLDLW
REECE JAMES is set to make his return for Chelsea against Fulham on Saturday.
The 21-year-old has been out of action since the Boxing Day defeat to Arsenal.
The Cottagers will also be unable to call upon Ruben Loftus-Cheek as the England international is ineligible against his parent club, meaning that Ademola Lookman could return to the starting XI.
Parker is expected to resist the temptation to shuffle his pack from the Spurs clash, though, meaning that the likes of Harrison Reed and Cavaleiro should keep their spots.
Chelsea will be without the suspended N’Golo Kante for Saturday’s clash, but the Blues are otherwise in excellent shape, with both Reece James and Andreas Christensen available for selection once again.
Lampard has a number of decisions to make, particularly in the final third, as both Timo Werner and Kai Havertz were on the scoresheet against Morecambe in the FA Cup.
Werner could get the nod through the middle with support from Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech in the wide positions, but Havertz might drop to the bench once again, with Jorginho potentially earning a recall.
Fulham possible starting lineup:
Areola; Aina, Andersen, Adarabioyo; Tete, Reid, Reed, Anguissa, Robinson; Lookman, Cavaleiro
Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Mendy; James, Zouma, Silva, Chilwell; Kovacic, Jorginho, Mount; Pulisic, Werner, Ziyech