Chelsea vs Fulham preview: Claudio Ranieri returns
Live on Sky Sports from 11am on Sunday
Last Updated: 02/12/18 10:55am
Claudio Ranieri returns to Stamford Bridge on Sunday as Fulham kick off Derby Day with a clash against west London rivals Chelsea, live on Sky Sports.
Ranieri managed Chelsea between 2000-2004, reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League and laying the platform for future success at the club.
He made a winning start at Fulham last weekend as Aleksandar Mitrovic scored twice in a 3-2 victory over Southampton.
"When you win, everything changes," said Ranieri. "The players come here happier and that is normal. But now we have to forget and think about Chelsea.
"It's another difficult match for us...We need points and we are ready."
Chelsea will be looking to bounce back after suffering their first defeat of the season against Tottenham last weekend.
They made 10 changes on Thursday as they beat PAOK 4-0 in the Europa League, but Maurizio Sarri is set to revert to his first-choice line-up against Fulham.
"In the last match the problem was the team, not one or two players," he said.
Eden Hazard is pushing to return after missing the win over PAOK with an ankle injury, but Olivier Giroud's two-goal performance may not dislodge Alvaro Morata as first-choice striker, particularly as the Frenchman appeared to suffer a knock in the second half.
Chelsea vs Fulham is the first part of Derby Day on Sky Sports, with Arsenal facing Tottenham and Liverpool playing Everton later in the day.
After making 10 changes against PAOK, Sarri is set to restore the likes of Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, David Luiz, Marcos Alonso and N'Golo Kante to the starting line-up.
Hazard will be assessed ahead of the game.
Andre Anguissa and Kevin McDonald (hamstring) are unavailable for Fulham.
- Chelsea have only lost one of their 26 Premier League matches against Fulham (W15 D10), a 0-1 defeat in March 2006.
- Fulham have won just one of their 24 away top-flight matches against Chelsea (D9 L14), a 2-1 victory in March 1964 under manager Bedford Jezzard.
- This is the first Premier League encounter between Chelsea and Fulham since March 2014, when current Fulham player Andre Schurrle scored a hat-trick for the Blues in a 3-1 win.
- Chelsea are winless in their last two Premier League games, last going three without a win back in September 2016 - after which they embarked on a 13 game winning streak en route to winning the Premier League title.
- Fulham have lost all three of their London derbies in the Premier League this season, by an aggregate score of 2-10. The last team to lose their first four such matches in a Premier League campaign were Crystal Palace in 2016-17 (5) who ended that run with victory at Chelsea.
- Chelsea haven't lost two London derby matches on consecutive Premier League matchdays since October 2011, when they lost to QPR and Arsenal.
- Managers who've previously managed Chelsea in the Premier League have never returned to Stamford Bridge and won in 13 attempts (D5 L8), with Claudio Ranieri managing two of those games (D1 L1).
Chelsea got well beat last weekend. Tottenham caught them by surprise with the way they pressed and it made Jorginho look like Alberto Aquilani. He didn't get any time on the ball to pass, and he was lost. If he's not getting on it, who's going to give it to Willian or Eden Hazard? You're also not going to win anything with David Luiz in a back four, or Marcos Alonso at left-back. He plays as a 10!
Fulham will go there and stick 10 behind the ball, and you've got 95 minutes to score if you're Chelsea. I expect them to win. I think this is where we'll see if Claudio Ranieri has a chance of keeping Fulham up. Last week they had to attack anyway, they had to win. This will show if he's been able to do anything with their defence.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-0 (13/2 with Sky Bet)