The Claudio Ranieri Era got off to a great start last weekend beating fellow strugglers Southampton at the Cottage to ease the tensions at the football club. While we couldn’t say that it was a comfortable victory, we saw fight for the first time in months and that alone has brought fresh optimism to the banks of the Thames. We know that we have a squad filled with quality, and while it is really sad that Jokanovic just wasn’t able to make it click, Ranieri already looks to have invigorated the squad. It’s early days, but the signs so far are good.
Just 1.4 miles separates Craven Cottage and Stamford Bridge making Fulham’s trip to Chelsea on Sunday one of the shortest in the Premier League. Given that Cardiff, Southampton, Palace all picked up points on Saturday’s round of matches, it’s important that we are not blown away in this one. It’s not a must win game, but there is no question of it being an important game. Playing against your neighbours is always important and I won’t be the only Fulham fan who had this one marked out early when the fixtures were announced in the summer.
Chelsea are on a weird run at the minute. They flew out of the blocks under Sarri, but have now hit a bit of a road block with a 0-0 draw with Everton before being destroyed by Spurs last weekend at Wembley. They have already taken the first step in redeeming themselves with a comfortable victory midweek in the Europa League, but as it was essentially a meaningless game as they had already qualified for the next round, most of their fans will have been looking ahead to the next game in the league. We might be facing a Hazard-less Chelsea tomorrow with the midfielder still struggling with an ankle knock, plus we may see more of the fallout from the Kante saga, but all in all we face a very tough test tomorrow.
I’ve always had this West London derby on my bucket list so I can’t wait for the game tomorrow, and I can’t help but dreaming about getting something from it. It’s been almost five years since we last played Chelsea, and our last win was 12 years ago when Luis Boa Morte scored the winner at the Cottage 2006. You never know, we could have another hero tomorrow!