It's Chelsea's penultimate London derby of the season and a game in hand over the teams immediately above and below in the table. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton look locally…
You may still be fuming about decisions that went against Chelsea on Sunday, and perhaps disappointed that the performance of the last 30 minutes didn't start an hour earlier. But there's no time for regret.
As the Barclays Premier League campaign returns to loom large, disappointment must be quickly dispensed with and the players now have the chance to bring six points back from Fulham tonight and Liverpool on Sunday.
Tonight's game is the one the champions of Europe have in hand over fellow third-fourth place aspirants Tottenham (level on points). Arsenal's home stalemate against Everton was probably the best outcome, Chelsea now lying two points equidistant between the pair with six points more to play for.
Over the previous three seasons tonight's opponents have finished eighth then ninth; they currently lie 10th. They are unbeaten in six matches, three of them wins. Chelsea have not won away since Boro in the FA Cup at the end of February.
This is the Whites' second successive local skirmish at Craven Cottage. On 1 April they beat QPR 3-2, having led 3-0. Former Blue Steve Sidwell was sent off with 11 minutes go but the score remained unchanged.
Another Fulham win tonight would inflict three defeats in succession on Chelsea for the first time since May and August 2006 when, having already won the title, we lost the last two league games against Blackburn and Newcastle and the Community Shield against Liverpool.
The last hat-trick of defeats when it mattered was in September/October 2002 when reverse at Viking Stavanger in the UEFA Cup was sandwiched between domestic losses at home to West Ham and away to Liverpool.
A draw has been the result in our last five encounters in all competitions. You have to go back to the start of the Double-winning 2009/10 season for a Chelsea win, a goal in either half for Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka.
By a slight quirk, going into last weekend's matches, west London's less senior club, Queens Park Rangers, had exactly the same league record as Fulham in 2007/08 - won four, drawn 12, lost 16. Back then Roy Hodgson's team won four of their last six matches to survive. On Saturday QPR lost 0-2 at Everton.
Most Chelsea goals in a season
142 in 2009/10
126 in 2012/13
121 in 1964/65
117 in 1960/61 and 2006/07
112 in 2011/12
110 in 2008/09
Fulham have played 23 fewer games than Chelsea.
Most Chelsea games in a season
68 in 2012/13 (minimum)
64 in 2006/07
62 in 2007/08
61 in 1999/00 and 2011/12)
60 in 1965/66
Barclays Premier League fixtures
Manchester City v Wigan 7.45pm
West Ham v Manchester United 7.45pm - Sky Sports
Fulham v Chelsea 8pm
|Barclays Premier League top half|
|The race for the Champions League - Games remaining|
|Chelsea (7)||Arsenal (5)||Tottenham (6)|
|Fulham (a)||Fulham (a)||Man City (h)|
|Liverpool (a)||Man Utd (h)||Wigan (a)|
|Swansea (h)||QPR (a)||Southampton (h)|
|Man Utd (a)||Wigan (h)||Chelsea (a)|
|Tottenham (h)||Newcastle (a)||Stoke (a)|
|Aston Villa (a)||Sunderland (h)|
|Premier London League|
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WE HAVE HISTORY
Chelsea are looking to extend our unbeaten run against Fulham to 15 games since our last defeat, in March 2006 by Luis Boa Morte's only goal.
West London's big derby was first played at Craven Cottage in December 1910, the hosts edging the game 1-0. The match half a century later in January 1962 was rather more eventful.
The Blues, three months into the fledgling management career of Tommy Docherty (pictured below), were desperately fighting to avoid what appeared inevitable relegation against a similarly threatened Fulham.
A few days earlier the Whites had splashed a hefty £14,000 on Gunners striker Jackie Henderson, a former Scotland and Arsenal teammate of the new Chelsea boss.
Docherty's then wife Agnes even phoned her friend Shirley Henderson saying: 'I hope Jackie plays a blinder - but I hope Fulham lose.'
Such was the tension, Fulham skipper Johnny Haynes suggested a ban on any mention of the 'r' word before the match, but it was on everyone's lips again afterwards.
The game began in bizarre fashion when teenage left-back Graham Mealand dealt poorly with a speculative Chelsea cross, side-footing the ball into his own net to hand the visitors a 1-0 lead.
So it stayed into the second half, when after a few minutes Graham Leggat equalised for the hosts. Chelsea's youngsters now combined to drive their side into a two-goal lead, with Barry Bridges first providing for veteran Andy Malcolm to score, then two minutes later tumbling theatrically to earn a penalty, converted by fellow homegrown Bobby Tambling.
Almost from the kick off Tosh Chamberlain replied with a direct free-kick, Haynes making a decoy run that foiled the youthful wall.
Only now did new recruit Henderson make what he must have thought a decisive contribution, heading on for Eddie Lowe to equalise.
Twenty-three minutes remained for either side to steal both points, and tempers frayed. Just before the end an argument festering between Tambling and Fulham right-back Alan Mullery flared briefly into a fist fight.
The referee booked the pair and minutes later, at the death, Peter Brabrook stole in from the right wing to head a dramatic winner from Frank Blunstone's cross.
Haynes took the result poorly. When a Fulham fan muttered 'Second Division for you' within his earshot he ran down, raged at the man and had commissionaires throw him out of the ground.
Come May, though, it was the Blues who were relegated, Fulham avoiding the drop by one point and reaching the FA Cup semi-finals.
Our 0-1 defeat at Craven Cottage in March 2006 is the only reverse we have suffered there in 17 games in all competitions since our neighbours, including George Best and Bobby Moore, defeated us 1-3 in April 1977.
Although Fulham is the oldest London team in the Premier League, they were originally in the Southern League, and this is only the 23rd season that Chelsea and Fulham have been in the top flight together.
Our last 10 league meetings at Craven Cottage
2002/03 - Drew 0-0
2003/04 - Chelsea won 1-0
2004/05 - Chelsea won 4-1
2005/06 - Fulham won 1-0
2006/07 -Chelsea won 2-0
2007/08 - Chelsea won 2-1
2008/09 - Drew 2-2
2009/10 - Chelsea won 2-0
2010/11 - Drew 0-0
2011/12 - Drew 1-1
The reverse fixture this season
28 November 2012 Barclays Premier League
Fulham v Chelsea in all competitions
Games played 77
Chelsea wins 42
Fulham wins 9
Head to head in the league at Craven Cottage and Loftus Road
Games played 33
Chelsea wins 19
Fulham wins 5
Biggest league win at Fulham for each team
08/04/1977 - Fulham 3-1 Chelsea
13/11/2004 - Fulham 1-4 Chelsea
Frank Lampard made his Chelsea debut: 4,259
Fulham dropped points at home: 74
Arsenal won a trophy: 2,887
Liverpool won the league: 8,382
Visit again at lunchtime for part two of the Briefing.