Fulham piled extra distress on struggling Chelsea with a 2-1 victory at Craven Cottage in Thursday’s west London derby, which additionally noticed new mortgage signing Joao Felix despatched off on his Blues debut.
Former Chelsea midfielder Willian had given Fulham a twenty fifth-minute lead in opposition to his former membership earlier than Kalidou Koulibaly scrambled house an equalizer two minutes into the second half.
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But Felix, who was having fun with a powerful debut following his mortgage transfer from Atletico Madrid, lower quick Chelsea’s comeback when his excessive deal with on Kenny Tete simply earlier than the hour mark noticed the Portugal ahead proven a pink card.
Fulham took benefit of their numerical benefit as Carlos Vinicius, in for the suspended Aleksandar Mitrovic, made essentially the most of poor Chelsea defending to move house the winner within the 73rd minute.
The aim was sufficient to provide Fulham their fourth win in a row within the prime flight for the primary time since 1966 and takes Marco Silva’s spectacular facet above Liverpool and into the highest six, though having performed two extra video games. They are additionally now six factors above a Chelsea group that is still languishing down in tenth spot.
And the strain is bound to solely improve on Chelsea boss Graham Potter after a 3rd straight defeat in all competitions, to go away them with only one win of their final 9 Premier League outings.
There was extra distress for Potter, too, moreover the consequence. Not solely will he now lose Felix for 3 video games to suspension however he additionally noticed midfielder Denis Zakaria endure a second-half damage so as to add to Chelsea’s mounting listing of absentees.
“We began effectively, we had a very good probability early however then errors result in their aim, we responded effectively after which the pink card modifications the sport and makes it harder for us,” Potter informed BT Sport.
“We may do higher with the aim and that is what price us.”
Potter had no complaints concerning the pink card, describing Felix’s problem on Tete as a “ahead’s deal with”.
Fulham supervisor Silva was joyful together with his group’s resilience.
“Delighted with the consequence, happy with the primary half. The second half wasn’t at our greatest stage,” he mentioned.
“The good factor we are able to take as a bunch, even within the second half we did not carry out at our greatest and we’re in a position to win a soccer match in opposition to a prime facet even when they’re on a foul run.”
– Olley: Joao Felix pink card simply the newest setback for Chelsea
In distinction, the night time had all began so brightly for Chelsea and Felix.
Despite solely finishing his mortgage transfer to Stamford Bridge simply over 24 hours earlier, Felix instantly confirmed Chelsea followers what he has to supply to a struggling assault.
Within two minutes, he created a golden alternative, breezing previous Tim Ream down the correct to chop into the field and pick Kai Havertz, whose low shot was blocked earlier than Lewis Hall didn’t profit from an excellent clearer probability off the rebound.
Playing off of Havertz up entrance and linking up effectively with the Germany ahead, the one factor lacking from Felix’s first 45 minutes was a aim.
Three instances he had efforts within the first half however failed to seek out the web. The better of these openings got here 5 minutes earlier than the interval when, from Havertz’s layoff, his shot produced a fantastic response save down low by Bernd Leno within the Fulham aim.
It was a former Chelsea attacker, although, who did discover the goal as Chelsea’s defending was discovered wanting. Only two minutes after escaping when an errant header from Trevoh Chalobah gifted an opportunity to Bobby De Cordova-Reid, whose effort clattered the crossbar, Chelsea fell behind.
Chalobah was once more on the coronary heart of some unconvincing defending, as his tried headed clearance solely helped a deep cross onto Willian on the again publish. The Brazilian veteran was then allowed to chop in on his favored proper foot earlier than unleashing a low shot that deflected off Chalobah and off the far publish to provide Fulham the lead.
Staring at a fifth loss of their final seven Premier League outings, Chelsea, and Potter, desperately wanted a response within the second half.
With a contact of fortune, they acquired simply what they wanted simply after the restart.
Mason Mount was the architect with a intelligent free-kick from vast on the left that caught out Leno at his close to publish, bouncing off the woodwork and falling for Koulibaly, who scrambled the ball over the road regardless of the Fulham goalkeeper’s determined try to hold it at bay
But simply as rapidly as Chelsea started turning issues round, all of it went unsuitable for Potter as soon as extra.
Moments after dropping Zakaria to damage, Felix may haven’t any complaints after he slid in excessive and studs-up onto the knee of Tete to provide referee David Coote little alternative however to provide a pink card.
Fifteen minutes later Chelsea paid the value. Andreas Pereira, for a pinpoint cross, and Vinicius, for a towering again-publish header, each deserve plaudits, however there was loads to criticize as soon as extra within the guests’ defending and goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga getting caught in no-man’s land.
Chelsea had little reply and can now have to attend till Sunday’s house conflict with Crystal Palace to attempt to arrest their slide.