In Saturday lunchtime’s Premier League West London derby, Chelsea and Fulham look to exact revenge after losing their first legs of the EFL Cup semifinals.
One day after suffering a humiliating 1-0 loss to Middlesbrough, the Blues will be back at Stamford Bridge to face the irate supporters. The previous day, Marco Silva’s team lost 2-1 to a legendary Liverpool comeback.
Chelsea arrived at the Riverside during a period when the Boro team was beleaguered by injuries, ineligible players, and international call-ups. It seemed as though scoring four goals in a row against Preston North End in the FA Cup would be the ideal preamble for their trip to another Championship team, Middlesbrough.
The cards were heavily stacked against Michael Carrick’s team in the EFL Cup, but on Tuesday night, the highly-rated Hayden Hackney helped Middlesbrough to an unforgettable victory, and the former Manchester United midfielder unexpectedly triumphed against the West London giants once more.
It remains to be seen if Boro can strike twice at Stamford Bridge on January 23, but Pochettino’s top goal right now is a third straight Premier League victory before Chelsea can start dreaming of revenge and a possible trip to Wembley.
Even though Chelsea defeated Luton Town and Crystal Palace in back-to-back games, winning by a single goal each time, to cap off a forgettable 2023, they are unable to break into the single digits and are currently ranked tenth in the standings, three points behind Brighton & Hove Albion in seventh.
Chelsea turned around their Stamford Bridge fortunes to grab nine points from a possible nine on familiar ground in December, after winning only three Premier League games at home from January 2023 to November 2023. However, not since July 2020 have they scored four consecutive top-flight victories at home.