Chelsea look to Raheem Sterling for Fulham clash as they seek to end goal drought

Blues are scoreless in three league games and have no fit strikers for London derby

Raheem Sterling of Chelsea in action during the Premier League match against Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on September 24. Getty
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Chelsea's goalscoring issues are unlikely to be helped by the fact they head to west London rivals Fulham on Monday night (11pm UAE time) without a fit senior striker.

The Blues, who did manage a narrow 1-0 win over Brighton in the League Cup in midweek, haven't registered in their last three league games, losing twice and drawing once to sink to 15th place in the Premier League.

Mauricio Pochettino's side have found the net just five times in the league this season - only Burnley have scored fewer - with the absence of summer signing Christopher Nkunku keenly felt.

The France international is out until December, while Nicolas Jackson is suspended tonight after racing to five bookings and Armando Broja is not deemed fit enough to return. That's likely to mean Raheem Sterling will start through the middle for a Chelsea side who travel to Craven Cottage without 11 first-team players.

“The most important thing is to adapt to the players that are available, to try to find a way to perform,” said Pochettino. “Maybe different characteristics we can use, like we can play with one striker or without a striker. I need to asses all the squad and take that decision.”

Among those ruled out are Chelsea's England international full-back pairing of Reece James and Ben Chilwell, players Pochettino described as “the best full-backs in the world”.

Their absence has certainly contributed to the shortage of creativity in recent games and the Chelsea boss admits they have been missed. There's currently no timescale for Chilwell to return from a "bad injury", but James is thought to be targeting the Arsenal game on October 21.

“At all clubs, important players are missed when they don’t play,” said Pochettino. “If the question is ‘do we miss them?’ Of course. Reece is a top player and [Chilwell] also. When they’re at their best, they are the best full-backs in the world.

“But all teams when they miss important players are affected [in their] performance. Why did we not sign another Ben Chilwell and another Reece James? Because there’s only one Reece James and one Ben Chilwell."

Fulham, who sit 11th in the table, will be without defender Tosin Adarabioyo and winger Adama Traore.

Updated: October 01, 2023, 1:18 PM