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Chelsea vs Fulham: Ranieri can restrict Blues on Bridge return

Chelsea vs Fulham Match Preview and Predictions

Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri returns to Chelsea on Sunday looking to steer his new charges off the foot of the Premier League table.

[All odds correct at time of publication]

The Italian made a great start to his reign last weekend when he masterminded a 3-2 victory over Southampton, but it will be a much sterner test at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea are fourth in the table but lost their first game of the season at Tottenham last weekend, a performance described as a "disaster" by boss Maurizio Sarri.

Match information

When is it? Sunday 2nd December

What time is kick-off? 12:00

Where is it being played? Stamford Bridge

Which channel is it on? Sky Sports Main Event

Who is the referee? Craig Pawson

Chelsea vs Fulham Betting Tips

Here are our predictions for Sunday's game between Chelsea and Fulham for which we also have a range of other markets available:

The lowdown

There are plenty of sub-plots to the first of three derbies on Sunday as Ranieri heads back to the club where he spent four seasons between 2000-4 which ended with the appointment of Jose Mourinho as his replacement.

One of the biggest talking points ahead of the game has been Sarri's criticism of N'Golo Kante, a World Cup champion with France and winner of two Premier League titles, who has been deployed out of position on the right to accommodate central midfielder Jorginho.

Sarri has encouraged Kante to get forward in some games but was unhappy with the way he attacked at Wembley and has now told him to stick close to Jorginho.

The former Napoli coach held individual talks with the players in the wake of the 3-1 defeat, the fruits of which should be seen in Sunday's noon showdown with their west London neighbours.

Feature match previews for this weekend

If you're interested in tips on our feature Premier League matches this weekend, check out our in-depth previews below:

First goalscorer tips

Eden Hazard has been carrying an ankle injury which ruled him out of the Europa League game against PAOK and although he is expected to be fit for the Fulham game, his participation is not certain so we like the look of Alvaro Morata as first goalscorer at 16/5.

Aside from the goal he scored against Arsenal, the Spain striker has struggled against bigger clubs, with four of his five goals coming against Southampton, Burnley and Crystal Palace, so Fulham seem the ideal team to add to his tally.

Anytime goalscorer tips

Andre Schurrle is also back at the Bridge where he spent a season and a half between June 2013 and February 2015 and we fancy him in the anytime scorer odds at 3/1.

The German attacker has scored five goals for Fulham, is in the top six for shots taken in the Premier League and will be keen to prove a point to the Chelsea faithful.

Where the game will be won or lost

Fulham have conceded 33 times this season, six more than the next worst offenders Burnley, so it looks like we could be seeing plenty of goalmouth action, but the first of our Chelsea vs Fulham predictions is Chelsea to win and under 3.5 goals at 27/20.

The Cottagers lost 2-0 and 3-0 on their trips to Liverpool and Manchester City, teams with superior attacks to Chelsea, who fired blanks against Everton in their last home game and looked all at sea at Wembley.

The next of our football tips for the weekend is for the first goal to be scored between 21-30 minutes at Premier League betting odds of 19/4.

The above graphic shows that the Blues get busy during that period and only one of Fulham's 13 matches have been goalless at the break, so the deadlock is likely to be broken in the first half.

We wrap up our Chelsea vs Fulham betting tips by predicting the Blues to win 2-1 at 10/1.

Chelsea have kept just two clean sheets at home this season, conceding against both Cardiff and Crystal Palace, two teams that are scoring fewer than a goal a game on average.

Team news

Chelsea forward Eden Hazard is expected to return from an ankle injury for the west London derby. Sarri made 10 changes for Thursday night's Europa League win over PAOK and is set to restore Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, David Luiz, Marcos Alonso and N'Golo Kante to the starting line-up. The Italian may have a choice to make between Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud up front. France striker Giroud scored twice against the Greeks but hurt his ankle in the second half.

Fulham's Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa remains sidelined with an unspecified injury and Kevin McDonald is still out with a hamstring complaint. Ranieri is unlikely to make too many changes from the line-up that pulled off a late 3-2 win over Southampton in his first game at the Cottagers' helm.

Traders' Tips - View from the trading floor

Chelsea have kept the third highest number of clean sheets this season and easily defeated Burnley and Southampton, teams in the bottom four like Fulham, without conceding, so a Blues win to nil looks the way to go at evens.

80+ Minute Goal Insurance - Free Bet up to £/$/€20 if a goal scored after 80 minutes turns a winning bet into a loser. Applies to Premier League, Champions League & Europa League Match Result bets only. Min odds: 1/2 (1.50). Terms apply.

Warren Barner
@warren_barner in Football