Date: 2nd February 2023 at 7:02pm
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Chelsea welcome Fulham to Stamford Bridge on Friday for what promises to be an exciting west London derby. 

Graham Potter’s side have picked up four points from their last two games, after a run of one win in 11 across all competitions, but they have been boosted by the arrival of seven new signings across the January transfer window.

Despite the excitement surrounding the new faces, The Blues face a Fulham side that have been one of the most impressive teams in the Premier League so far this term and will undoubtedly provide a stern test.

The Cottagers currently sit in seventh place in the Premier League table, two points ahead of their opponents.

With so many new stars available, Potter will have plenty of difficult decisions to make ahead of the game.

Here, we take a look at the XI that we predict Potter will choose.


Spaniard Kepa Arrizabalaga has started all seven of Chelsea’s games since the return of club football following the World Cup. The ex-Athletic Bilbao man has only kept three clean sheets in that time, and it is unclear whether he will keep his starting spot once Edouard Mendy returns to fitness. The Senegal international has been out for over two months now and isn’t yet ready to return.


Veteran defender Thiago Silva has been in sensational form this season despite Chelsea’s poor run of results. The Brazilian is set to be out of contract at the end of the current campaign but it has been rumoured that he may sign a 12-month extension.

Alongside Silva, new signing Benoit Badiashile looks likely to start a third consecutive Premier League match. The Frenchman looked a little nervy during the first half of his debut against Crystal Palace, but put in a much more encouraging display against Liverpool last time out.

Badiashile looks set for a third straight Premier League start

Trevoh Chalobah could complete The Blues’ back three. The academy product has been useful whenever called upon since becoming involved with the first team at the start of last season, and he undoubtedly benefits from playing alongside Silva. Kalidou Koulibaly will likely be among the substitutes once again, while Wesley Fofana remains sidelined through injury.


Chelsea fans will be thrilled, albeit anxious, about the return of Reece James. The England international has been pictured in training this week and is expected to make his return on Friday. Having missed the World Cup due to injury, the full-back was forced off with a knee problem just an hour into his return against Bournemouth in December.

James hasn’t played since being forced off with an injury against Bournemouth in December

In the centre of midfield, Enzo Fernandez could make his debut for his new club following his record breaking transfer. The Argentine became the most expensive signing in Premier League history when he joined The Blues on Tuesday, and he could be thrown straight into the action with Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante both injured.

Jorginho’s departure could allow Conor Gallagher to push for more regular game time, and the Englishman will be looking to start against Fulham.

In the advanced midfield role, Mason Mount will most likely start in the absence of Joao Felix who will serve the final game of his three-match suspension following his debut red card against The Cottagers last month. Mount hasn’t been in the best form of his career lately, but the arrival of so much attacking talent could push him to improve for the second half of the season.

On the left, Marc Cucurella will likely be deployed at wing-back. Ben Chilwell is back and available following a long injury lay-off, but Potter is unlikely to throw the England international straight into things and he will likely therefore be named on the bench. Lewis Hall has done well on the left in recent weeks, but he could also have to settle for a place among the substitutes.


Up front, Mykhaylo Mudryk will be eager to make his first start for his new club. The Ukraine international played superbly when he was introduced for the final half hour against Liverpool at Anfield, and Chelsea supporters will be hopeful that he can add some attacking intent to the squad.

Mudryk impressed during his debut against Liverpool

`Raheem Sterling is back in contention following an injury, but Kai Havertz will most likely lead the line for The Blues. The German scored against Palace during their last home match, and has been preferred to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of late.

David Datro Fofana and Hakim Ziyech look set to miss out on a start, while Christian Pulisic remains injured.

Predicted XI: Arrizabalaga; Chalobah, Silva, Badiashile; James, Fernandez, Gallagher, Cucurella; Mount, Mudryk, Havertz

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