Roughly a mile and a half separate the two stadiums, both in the same postcode district in west London and within walking distance of the river Thames. This is a true derby and always a fierce encounter — it is only a shame that fans will not be in attendance to savour it.
Hosts Fulham come into the match on a five-game unbeaten run, though it should be noted that all of those have been draws. It is nonetheless the mark of a team that is desperately hard to beat and a far cry from the 2018/19 Cottagers who floundered their way to relegation, and that is testament to manager, and former player for both of these clubs, Scott Parker.
The most recent of those draws came at Tottenham Hotspur in midweek. A fine first-half display from goalkeeper Alphonse Areola saw Spurs lead by just one Harry Kane goal, but Fulham were much improved after the break and ultimately got the equaliser they deserved through Ivan Cavaleiro. The result left them 18th in the Premier League table, but with two games in hand on the team above.
Meanwhile, Chelsea have, by their own lofty standards, struggled of late, with one win in their last six leaving them 9th in the standings as things stand. The problem appears to be goals; the Blues managed to score more than a solitary goal in just one of those six games.
Their last Premier League match was on 3 January, when Manchester City ran riot in the first-half at Stamford Bridge, leading by three goals at the break, and all Chelsea could offer in reply was a consolation from Callum Hudson-Odoi in the 92nd minute. Frank Lampard will be hoping to see his side improve markedly here.
Fulham could have the option of calling upon Aleksandar Mitrovic after the striker was missing from the squad for Wednesday’s match — he has been in light training since.
However, they will be without skipper Tom Cairney due to a knee injury, while Mario Lemina is also unavailable due to illness. Ruben Loftus-Cheek will miss out against his parent club.
Visitors Chelsea will assess the fitness of defenders Reece James and Andreas Christensen, though Lampard is not likely to rush them back into the team.
N’Golo Kante is absent through suspension so there will be some shuffling in midfield.
Fulham — Areola; Aina, Andersen, Adarabioyo; Decordova-Reid, Reed, Anguissa, Robinson; Cavaleiro, Kamara, Lookman.
Chelsea — Mendy; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Silva, Chilwell; Kovacic, Jorginho, Mount; Ziyech, Werner, Hudson-Odoi.
Fulham manager Scott Parker:
“To go unbeaten in this division, for a team like us, over a sustained period of time now against some very good opposition, shows how far we’ve come. We’ve worked tirelessly throughout, but we’ve needed time as well.
“It’s a tough game against an exceptionally good team in Chelsea, a famous team. Saturday we’ll go and give them a good game and hopefully get something out of it. We approach every game like that, no matter what the challenge, we’ll always try and put our stamp on the game.
“I’ve got a massive respect for Frank as a footballer and the player he was. I was privileged enough to play with him, a guy who had an unbelievable work ethic, drove every day in terms of his craft and wanting to get better.”
Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard:
“My concern has been training and the atmosphere around that because when you haven’t won for a few games it’s clear the players need to stay positive. I’ve seen good reactions from the players, they’ve worked hard.
“It’s an exciting fixture. I always felt it had an extra edge to it. Fulham were sometimes in the Premier League, sometimes not, but when they came they had a feeling of wanting to beat us. Without fans it takes a slight edge off things, but mentally as players and as a club we should retain that passion.
“We must credit Scott and his team, with a change of system and how they’ve worked. They are very well organised and have threats throughout their team. It’ll be a tough game no matter but we have to focus on ourselves.”
Chelsea have not been beaten by their SW6 rivals in the last 19 meetings in all competitions, winning 12 and drawing the other seven.
Luis Boa Morte was the hero in Fulham’s only victory over Chelsea in the past 38 encounters, scoring the only goal at Craven Cottage in March 2006.
How to watch
Fulham vs Chelsea will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Main Event, with coverage beginning at 17:00 GMT. Kick-off is set for 17:30 GMT.
Alternatively, a highlights package will become available on the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.
BBC One’s Match of the Day airs at 22:20 GMT and will cover the best action and analysis from all of this midweek’s Premier League fixtures.
And remember, there will also be live text commentary on the match right here at VAVEL UK — make sure to follow along!