Date: 13th January 2024 at 9:30am
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Chelsea welcome West London rivals Fulham to Stamford Bridge on Saturday for what could be a crucial derby. 

The Blues have struggled so far this season and currently sit tenth in the Premier League table, with Mauricio Pochettino having endured a difficult start to his tenure in SW6.

Last time out, Chelsea suffered a 1-0 defeat against Championship side Middlesbrough in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final, and Pochettino will expect to see improvement when his side face the Cottagers on Saturday.

Here, we predict the XI that Pochettino could select for the West London derby.


Djordje Petrovic has started each of the Blues’ last seven matches across all competitions, having replaced the injured Robert Sanchez during Chelsea’s defeat to Everton in December. The Serbia international has impressed since making his debut, keeping two clean sheets.

Petrovic has impressed since making his debut for Chelsea


Despite Chelsea’s recent struggles, Malo Gusto has impressed of late and the Frenchman will expect to continue at right-back in the absence of the injured Reece James. Gusto provided an assist during Chelsea’s win over Crystal Palace in their last home league game, and repeated the feat against Preston North End in the FA Cup.

At centre-back, Axel Disasi will likely partner Thiago Silva. The pair are Pochettino’s most used central defensive pairing so far this season, with the latter missing just one league game so far. Benoit Badiashile is close to making a return from injury, while Trevoh Chalobah and Wesley Fofana remain sidelined.

Silva scored against Preston in the FA Cup last weekend

Levi Colwill, who is naturally a centre-back, will likely continue in a makeshift left-back role. The Blues’ only fit natural left-back, Ian Maatsen, joined Borussia Dortmund on loan this week, and both Ben Chilwell and Marc Cucurella remain injured, although the former could return to the bench against Fulham.


Moises Caicedo and Enzo Fernandez haven’t started together in the Premier League since the middle of December, but the pair are likely to do so against the Whites on Saturday. Both players have arguably underperformed since arriving in London, but Pochettino will be hopeful that they can both recreate the form that prompted Chelsea to spend more than £110 million on each of them.

Conor Gallagher is likely to complete the Blues’ midfield and will also likely captain his side against Fulham. The Englishman has been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge this month, but he has already played 25 times this season across all competitions and the only Premier League game he didn’t start was due to a suspension.


In attack, Pochettino will be hoping that Cole Palmer can put his frustrating performance against Boro behind him. The England international missed a number of glorious chances on Tuesday, and he will be hoping to add to his impressive tallies of eight goals and seven assists for Chelsea on Saturday.

Palmer struggled in front of goal against Middlesbrough

Raheem Sterling was another player that failed to impress against Middlesbrough, but the England international has shown glimpses this season of his best, and Pochettino will be relying on him to spearhead Chelsea’s attack.

Albania international Armando Broja will most likely be deployed through the centre in the absence of Nicolas Jackson, who is on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations. Broja has scored just once in the league this season, but did net Chelsea’s opener against Preston last weekend.

Predicted XI: Petrovic; Gusto, Disasi, Silva, Colwill; Caicedo, Gallagher, Fernandez; Palmer, Broja, Sterling 

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