Fulham vs Chelsea as Frank Lampard prepares his side to return to action for the primary time since the coronavirus pandemic halted the Premier League season.
Chelsea return to Premier League action for the primary time in three-and-a-half months on Sunday once they combat relegation-threatened Aston Villa.
Frank Lampard’s side resume their campaign in fourth place, whereas Villa still sit 19th within the table following their goalless draw with Sheffield United on Wednesday.
Dean Smith’s side earned what might be a precious point within the first fixture under ‘Project Restart’ after a goalless draw with Sheffield United.
The Blues’ form was somewhat disappointing before the season came to an abrupt stop, with two wins in seven games.
But with confirmation of Timo Werner’s signing from RB Leipzig,
the importance on sealing Champions League qualification for next season has increased even further.
The circumstances are going to be challenging, with no fans present within the stadium and competitive football for the primary time in over three months.
Dean Smith’s side have a dreadful record against the ‘big six’ sides too – no wins and 19 defeats from their last 21 such meetings, learning only two points from the 63 on offer during that point .
Villa’s record against Chelsea is especially poor and therefore the Blues are currently on their best ever winning run during this
fixture of 5 during a row, while they need won nine of their last 10 Premier League games against the Villans.
The promoted outfit will need to achieve a shock somewhere along the way if they’re to remain up,
though, with five of their first six matches back after lockdown coming against members of the highest seven.
Fulham vs Chelsea Team News
Chelsea are going to be without Callum Hudson-Odoi because the winger continues to struggle with an ankle injury,
but Reece James and Andreas Christensen are both expected to be fit.
Jorginho misses out through suspension as he serves the second of his two-match ban for accumulating 10 yellow cards before lockdown.
Fikayo Tomori is additionally unavailable thanks to a muscular problem, but N’Golo Kante is in contention, having initially refused
to return to training thanks to coronavirus concerns and Ruben Loftus-Cheek could make his introduction since May.
The three-and-a-half-month break has given some players, including Abraham, the prospect to shake off injuries they were
carrying before, although Olivier Giroud will hope that his form before the suspension will earn him more opportunities.
The Frenchman also features a fine record against Aston Villa, scoring in each of his last six meetings with them and netting eight goals therein time.
Villa are still without long-term absentees Wesley and Tom Heaton, while Danny Drinkwater is both injured and unable to play against his parent club.
The hosts will monitor the fitness of John McGinn after he returned from a lengthy absence in midweek, playing 76 minutes and coming through unscathed.
Smith won’t be ready to turn Bjorn Engels or Frederic Guilbert once more , though.
Fulham vs Chelsea Line Up
Aston Villa possible starting lineup:
Nyland; Konsa, Hause, Mings, Targett; Hourihane, Luiz, Nakamba; El Ghazi, Samatta, Grealish
Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Zouma, Alonso; Kante, Gilmour, Kovacic; Loftus-Cheek, Abraham, Willian
Fulham vs Chelsea H2H
Aston Villa have lost nine of the past 10 league meetings, winning the opposite reception in March 2014.
Chelsea’s current five-match winning league streak against Villa is their best during this fixture.
This is the 50th Premier League fixture between the clubs. Chelsea lead by 25 wins to Villa’s 12, with 12 draws.
Date, time and venue
Fulham vs Chelsea is scheduled for 4.15pm BST kick-off today.
The game will be the second of three fixtures being shown on Sunday, with Everton and Liverpool playing out the Merseyside derby at 7pm.
Villa Park will host the 30th Premier League game of the season for both sides with no fans allowed in the stadium due to government guidelines regarding coronavirus.
How to watch Fulham vs Chelsea
TV channel: The match will be shown live on Sky Sports’ Premier League and Main Event channels, and is available via Now TV with a day pass for £9.99.
Live stream: Sky Sports subscribers can stream the match online via SkyGo and the SkyGo app, with a mobile month pass available for £5.99.
5:30pm, Saturday 16th January 2021.