Chelsea vs Fulham
It will be Friends Reunited at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
A lunchtime Premier League meeting which brings two fondly remembered favourites – one a player, the other a manager – back to the ground where they made their names in English football.
Many us fans have a soft spot for Claudio Ranieri, and he and Andre Schurrle should certainly expect a warm welcome.
It is Ranieri’s return to a club he managed for almost four years (2000-04) which provides the main talking point.
His recent unexpected return to English football has been one of the Premier League 2018 highlights so far.
After his lively Chelsea tenure (which coincided with the arrival of Roman Abramovich) and his Leicester City fairytale, the popular Italian is back in the top flight and is raring to go.
He made a winning start last weekend as he guided his new side to victory in his first match in charge.
The Cottagers remain rock bottom, but hope springs eternal that he can guide them to safety after taking over from Slavisa Jokanovic (ironically, a Chelsea player during Ranieri’s reign).
As he seeks an unlikely success on his old stomping grounds (Fulham have taken just one point from 21 on the road so far this term), so does Schurrle whose time in West London – on the blue half – was far shorter.
The Germany international spent just 18 months with Chelsea between 2013 and 2015, struggling to hold down a place in the starting XI and making just 20 Premier League starts in total.
Yet he played a role and scored some important goals while he was there, and now he has a point to prove at Fulham, where he is fast becoming a mainstay.
Fulham may not have beaten their neighbours for 12 years, but they will make the short trip in better spirits after that victory over Southampton ended a run of seven straight defeats in all competitions.
Maurizio Sarri’s men come into this one fresh from easing to a Europa League win over PAOK but also after suffering their first Premier League defeat of the season.
They were well beaten at Wembley by Tottenham a week ago and were held in their top-flight match immediately before that, so they will be keen to get back to winning ways in the EPL.
There’s no doubt, however, in third versus bottom, that they come into this with a definite edge.
This is the first meeting between the two London neighbours for almost five years.
When they last met in the 2013-14 season, Jose Mourinho’s men secured a league double.
They won 2-0 at home, courtesy of goals from Oscar and John Obi Mikel, before winning 3-1 at Craven Cottage six months later.
The scorer of a Chelsea hat-trick that day? A certain German by the name of Andre Schurrle.
Of their 83 meetings, Chelsea have the upper hand with 46 victories compared to 11 Fulham successes and 26 draws.
Fulham’s last win over Chelsea came in March 2006 when Luis Boa Morte’s goal gave them a 1-0 win at Craven Cottage.
Chelsea are unbeaten the last 16 times they have faced Fulham in the league and have lost only one of their 26 Premier League matches against the Cottagers (won 15, drawn 10).
|Chelsea vs Fulham||Total Goal 2-3 @ 2.39|
|December 2,2018 20:00 (GMT+8)|
While the Premier League 2018 betting odds have Chelsea as clear favourites against the neighbours from down the road in SW6, there are a number of appealing bets for both sides.
You wouldn’t believe it at first.
Look at the 1X2 odds and the sides are poles apart.
Chelsea are priced @ 1.19 with the draw @ 6.20, and Fulham rank outsiders @ 14.50.
Asian Handicap odds fully back the blues in a variety of ways: -2.00 @ 1.85, – 2.25 @ 2.12 and -2.50 @ 2.33.
In contrast, Fulham are +2.00 @ 2.08, + 2.25 @ 1.82 and + 2.50 @ 1.68.
When you look at all this, you can see why Ranieri this week said it will take him all year to sort out the defensive issues at his new employers.
Especially when you realise that Fulham are without a clean sheet in their last 17 Premier League games, conceding at least twice in 15 of those.
No surprise then that goals are expected with over 3.75 goals only offering odds of @ 2.20.
A routine 2-0 home win will give you a correct score pay out of @ 7.00, yet would you bet against Schurrle or Aleksandar Mitrovic (seven Premier League goals so far for a struggling side) sneaking a goal against the home rearguard.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:|
|= €20 (Highly confident)||= €10 (CONFIDENT)||= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)|
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
CHECK OUT OUR BLOG FOR MORE FOOTBALL STORIES & ODDS
Stay updated with everything sports and betting.
Follow us on social Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.