FULHAM shrugged of their last-gasp defeat at St James’ Park by getting a hard-fought point at Aston Villa on Saturday.
That result means it’s now just one defeat in seven for Martin Jol’s side and they will be hopeful of extending that good record back on home soil.
Craven Cottage has been a tough place to go in recent years for opposition teams and although Fulham have fallen to a few defeats this season they seem to have started to turn things around again.
Victories over West Ham, Stoke and QPR have had the home fans singing again and as the only recent loss was a narrow 1-0 reverse to Manchester United, it can easily be forgiven.
Chelsea are in the midst of a huge fixture pile-up as they have been playing two games a week for what seems like months. It’s set to continue as while they were knocked out of the FA Cup on Sunday, they have league fixtures to catch up on, as well as European duties.
Rafa Benitez is a master of squad rotation but you can only spread yourself so thinly and the players are beginning to look a touch fatigued. Injuries to Ashley Cole and Gary Cahill haven’t helped and club captain John Terry hasn’t looked the same since his return.
The key to a good Chelsea performance is Juan Mata and to a lesser extent Eden Hazard. If they are on song then The Blues are sometimes irresistible but it’s not even guaranteed both will start tonight and the Belgian in particular can blow a touch hot and cold.
Fulham will not only take confidence from the fact Chelsea have picked up just one point from their last four league matches on the road but will also take heart from the knowledge that they haven’t lost to Chelsea in 90 minutes in their last five meetings and they haven’t lost at home to them since 2009.
The Blues are short here at 1.77 for my money and that’s why I have to make them my lay of the day.
Lay Chelsea v Fulham @ 1.77