Premier League

Fulham-Chelsea Preview

Chelsea boss Graham Potter acknowledges he will need to hold "awkward conversations" with members of his squad following their remarkable spending spree in the recent transfer window.

The Blues broke the Premier League transfer record to acquire Enzo Fernandez from Benfica on deadline day, having already signed Mykhaylo Mudryk, Benoit Badiashile, Andrey Santos, David Datro Fofana, Joao Felix and Noni Madueke earlier in January.

Ahead of Friday's Premier League London derby against Fulham, Potter highlighted the difficulties Chelsea's newfound depth may cause him.

"Of course, there's going to be a few awkward questions, that's the reality of where we are," Potter said.

"A few awkward conversations because only 11 can play and only a certain amount can be in squads, so there's always going to be ones that are disappointed.

"It's about being as honest and open and transparent as you can and creating an environment where you respect that people want to play, and respect the fact that players want to compete and help the team.

"They have to be patient and make sure they're ready to play and perform and help us win."

Fulham posted a memorable 2-1 win in the return fixture against Chelsea just over three weeks ago, but Cottagers boss Marco Silva remains wary of the threat posted by a strengthened Blues squad.

"They have the capacity to change systems and do something different," Silva said ahead of the game.

"We are going to be ready to face the different types of formations they can play and the new signings.

"They strengthened their squad and they were able to do the same again in this transfer window. They have that power. If this is too much money or not, is not for me to talk about."

Chelsea - Enzo Fernandez

The Premier League's new record signing could make his Chelsea debut on Friday, after earning plaudits for his contribution to Argentina's World Cup triumph. In Qatar, the midfielder won 40 of his 68 duels and carried the ball for a total distance of 1,239.7 meters. His all-round game could be key for the Blues.

Fulham - Aleksandar Mitrovic

Fulham have scored a league-high 11 goals from crosses in the Premier League this season. Fulham striker Mitrovic has been the recipient of more open-play crosses than any other player in the Premier League this season (27), and he will be sure to trouble Chelsea's backline.

- Chelsea have lost just two of their 37 home league games against Fulham (W22 D13) and are unbeaten in their last 17 against them at Stamford Bridge (W11 D6) since a 2-0 loss in November 1979.

- Fulham won 2-1 at home to Chelsea in the reverse fixture last month - they are looking to complete their first ever league double over the Blues, with this the 38th different campaign in which the teams have met.

- Having won their first three Premier League games under Graham Potter, Chelsea have now won just two of their subsequent 11 (D4 L5). They also scored as many goals in those first three games as they have in their last 11 (seven).

- Chelsea are the only side yet to concede a first half goal at home in the Premier League this season. They've not conceded in any of their last 10 first halves at Stamford Bridge, last having a longer such run between December 2007 and August 2008 (11).

- No side has won more Premier League games than Fulham since the restart of the competition following the World Cup (four), with only Newcastle (none) and Brentford (three) conceding fewer goals than the Cottagers (four). Despite this, Marco Silva's side could lose three consecutive league games for the first time this season.

Updated February 2, 2023

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