The European football pre-season is in full swing. Clubs around Europe are already on their respective tours in line to get their squads in shape. Transfers have been taking place simultaneously, with the new season not too far away. The Premier League summer series has been the hot topic of discussion while the half-a-dozen English teams prepare themselves for the grueling 2023/24 campaign. The inaugural edition of the pre-season tour sees Chelsea take on Fulham next, where both clubs would want to take a step in the right direction in regard to the new season.
Both, the Blues and Cottagers have played two games each of the summer series, With Mauricio Pochettino‘s men winning one and drawing one. While Marco Silva, who had been the subject of intense interest from Saudi club Al Hilal and his men have won one and lost one.
Chelsea’s new additions have already hit the ground running. Nicolas Jackon has 2 goals and 3 assists in his 3 games so far and looks like he’ll be leading the line alongside Chris Nkunku for the Stamford Bridge outfit.
Fulham on the other hand haven’t been that active in the market with Raul Jimenez being their sole addition to the club. Marco Silva knows he needs more signings to stay in the English top-flight, or else his Fulham team might be fighting the relegation battle this season.
Both clubs will keep on wanting to test their players to the limit and end the pre-season tour on a high note.
Chelsea vs Fulham lineups
Chelsea predicted lineup
Chelsea and Pochettino have the same injury worries as before, except their first-choice right-back Reece James is now back in action. Armando Broja, Benoit Badiashile and Wesley Fofana won’t be available for the clash against Fulham.
Kepa will keep his place between the sticks. Thiago Silva should get the first-half alongside Trevoh Chalobah, with Colwill coming from the bench. Malo Gusto and Ben Chilwell should be the full-back pairing, considering Poch won’t rush James into action.
Santos should replace Enzo as the Argentine midfielder is eased back on the pitch. Carney Chukwuemeka could get the nod alongside Santos. Nkunku, Jackson, Mudryk and Sterling complete the attack, as the Blues’ frontline will look to put Fulham defence to the sword.
Predicted Chelsea lineup: Kepa, Gusto, Silva, Chalobah, Chilwell, Santos, Chukwuemeka, Nkunku, Mudryk, Sterling, Jackson.
Fulham predicted lineup
Marco Silva has the injury of only Alexsandar Mitrovic to worry about. The Serbian is expected to be available for the opening game of the season.
The Cottagers will have Leno in goal and in front of him should be a defence that consists of Tim Ream, Antonee Robinson, Issa Diop and Kenny Tete. Cairney, Palhinha and Pereira should complete the midfield trio for Fulham. While in attack, Silva might go for the likes of new signing Jimenez, flanked by Harry Wilson and Vinicius.
Predicted Fulham lineup: Leno, Tete, Ream, Diop, Robinson, Cairney, Palhinha, Pereira, Vinicius, Wilson, Jimenez.
Chelsea vs Fulham prediction
While the Blues are well equipped to win this one comfortably, history suggests they tend to falter against smaller clubs. Pochettino is obviously without full strength and is still getting to know his new squad.
Not just Pochettino, the majority of the Chelsea squad have not spent more than a season at the club. Their chemistry has been one to watch out for in the pre-season but as seen against the game in Newcastle, trust between the players on the pitch is something that will take time to build.
Fulham, on the other hand, have a manager in Silva who has committed his future to the club, much to the joy of the fans. The spirits are high inside the dressing room but the team needs new faces.
Expect this clash to be a goal fest. Chelsea 3-3 Fulham.