Fulham at Chelsea - Three Questions

Clive Brunskill

This week's three questions is with Graham MacAree of We Ain't Got Now History. He's a busy guy as he's also the SB Nation Lead Soccer Editor, but he was kind enough to answer our questions.

Once again, I took questions from you to pass on. If you have a question you want asked for the opponent blog, get it into the comments before the Wednesday night before the match (Thursday for a Sunday match and Friday for a Monday match). There's no reverse this week.

CC: What's up with Juan Mata? I'm not a Chelsea fan by any means, but he's been one of my favorite players to watch over the last couple seasons. Has he been hurt? Do he and Mourinho really hate each other? Do you think he's going to play on Saturday? (It's my birthday on Saturday, and perhaps Mourinho will do me a solid and sit him again)

WAGNH: I think Mata will play on Saturday. Chelsea can only struggle for so long without using their best player, and I think Mourinho knows that. That said, thanks to a combination of rust and a lack of preseason training Mata's not exactly been setting the world on fire when he's played, so it's not like him being on the bench is the source of every issue with the team. And yes, I think he'll play on Saturday.

CC: What's up with Chelsea's midfield? It seems they bought every attacking midfielder that didn't go to Tottenham. Yet, I'm not sure they have a true defensive midfielder around. Is it just me or is that a bit crazy?

WAGNH: Beats me. We do have one 'true' defensive midfielder in john Obi Mikel but the central midfield has, apart from the time when Roberto di Matteo turned the side into a defend-and-counter outfit, been unbalanced ever since Michael Ballack was let go in 2010. It's been something I've been fretting over for a number of transfer windows, but just hasn't been addressed. Which isn't great.

CC: The last two Chelsea results have been pretty poor. Do you expect Mourinho to come out and try to destroy Fulham just to make a statement?

WAGNH: Yes. He'll try to, anyway.

Key players, projected lineup, and score prediction

WAGNH: Key player: Honestly there are so many players who've been poor and might get benched for it that I can't even figure out who'll be in the squad. I was going to say Eden Hazard here, because he's been struggling and needs to get back to stretching defenses, but I'm not at all sure he'll play. As for the score, I'll go with 0-5 Fulham, because EVERYTHING IS GOING WRONG RIGHT NOW.
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