On Thursday night in the Premier League, Fulham and Chelsea will square off in a thrilling West London derby at Craven Cottage.
Despite playing one extra game, Marco Silva’s team is astonishingly three spots and three points ahead of its close neighbors in the standings.
Fulham fans haven’t often been able to boast that their team is higher on the English football pyramid than Chelsea in recent years, but the Cottagers have a strong case for qualifying for Europe after an outstanding run of holiday form.
Fulham is aiming to win four straight Premier League games for the first time since the 1965–1966 campaign as they gear up for a demanding stretch of January games against Chelsea, Newcastle United, and Tottenham before traveling to Stamford Bridge for a second encounter with the Blues in early February.
Even though Fulham has won just two of their past six home games in front of their own supporters, while having only two home losses all season, they are undoubtedly in a better position than their ineffective opponents.
Graham Potter, the under-fire Chelsea manager, doesn’t appear to be in immediate danger of losing his job, but although the Englishman’s project is still trying to gain traction, angry Blues fans made their opinions known after their FA Cup defeat at the hands of Manchester City.
Chelsea is now in 10th place in the Premier League standings, 10 points off the top four and 10 points above the relegation zone. The team is struggling to maintain its European status, let alone qualify for the Champions League.
Chelsea travels to Craven Cottage with only one win in their past eight Premier League games, and they haven’t won all three points away from home since defeating Aston Villa on October 16. They have an appalling five losses in their last seven competitive games overall.
Positively, Chelsea has a seven-game winning streak over Fulham to defend, along with a 21-game unbeaten streak across all competitions, but as Potter has rapidly discovered, all good things must come to an end.