Fulham have no less than briefly damaged into the highest six within the Premier League and have clearly put their identify ahead for the race for the spots guaranteeing a marketing campaign in Europe subsequent time period. They did it in model, by beating Chelsea 2-1 at Craven Cottage on Thursday, with former Blues winger Willian breaking the impasse within the twenty fifth minute, Kalidou Koulibaly equalizing for the guests simply after the break, and Carlos Vinicus heading the winner in with 17 minutes left on the clock.

Chelsea in disaster

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With simply 25 factors from 18 matches to date, Chelsea’s place in subsequent season’s Champions League is now within the realm of fantasy, even when it hasn’t been utterly dominated out but. They’ve received simply two of their final 11 matches in all competitions, and it painfully clear that their cart is in a ditch.

Ever since Todd Boehly took management of the membership following the compelled exit of Roman Abramovich, Chelsea have been making an attempt to remain aggressive by quite a few costly signings, strengthening their choices in each division. They used an early patch of poor type as an excuse to let Thomas Tuchel depart and introduced in Graham Potter to switch him, however now there’s loads of hypothesis about the opportunity of the previous Brighton and Hove Albion supervisor dropping his job as nicely.

There’s loads of high quality within the Chelsea ranks, and so they’ve proven, significantly within the first half of their 0-1 Premier League defeat to Manchester Metropolis, that they’ll really play nicely towards prime opposition once they set their minds to it. That, nevertheless, hasn’t been the case almost sufficient this season and therein lie the issues.

Accidents haven’t helped, that’s for certain. Chelsea now have an entire XI out of motion. However the gamers who can be found are (or ought to be) ok to grind outcomes.

Potter has been making an attempt to rotate wherever it was affordable to strive that strategy, giving a few younger prospects some necessary game-time. Lewis Corridor, 19, is one among them, and he began this match forward of Marc Cucurella. Potter0 additionally switched to a again three system, permitting for Trevoh Chalobah (20) to affix seasoned centre-backs Thiago Silva and Koulibaly in that line, however the teen struggled drastically on that aspect, with the Fulham duo of Willian and Antonee Robinson proving a handful and captain Cesar Azpilicueta not doing sufficient to assist.

It was a wierd state of affairs which led to Willian’s opener, as Azpilicueta stood in entrance of his former teammate and as a substitute of exhibiting him huge and forcing him onto his weaker left foot, allowed the Brazilian to chop inside and shoot. Not solely is Azpilicueta skilled sufficient to learn such moments higher, however he additionally is aware of Willian fairly nicely and it’s arduous to elucidate why didn’t react higher, or no less than smarter.

Kepa Arrizabalaga has solely added to Potter’s issues with a few questionable moments lately, and this

Joao Felix – The dream turns into a nightmare

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Simply 24 hours after becoming a member of the membership on mortgage from Atletico Madrid, Joao Felix was named to begin upfront beside Kai Havertz and his efficiency was very energetic for 57 minutes. He was concerned in all the pieces good Chelsea did within the opposition half immediately, and by halftime, the sensation was that his identify showing on the scoresheet on this match was a matter of time.

However in that 58th minute, he inexplicably slid into Fulham defender Kenny Tete along with his studs exhibiting, and whereas some would argue that there was no malice supposed, there will be little doubt that referee David Coote made the best name when he raised the pink card towards the Portugal worldwide. What had been wanting like a fantastic debut for the membership broke into one million items, significantly with a three-game ban that accompanies direct pink playing cards in thoughts.

Felix left Atletico in disagreeable circumstances, having fallen out with head coach Diego Simeone. It grew to become painfully apparent {that a} participant like him, inventive, technically very gifted and fitted to an attacking model of soccer, had no enterprise becoming a member of a staff like Atletico – a staff the place defensive duties bear absolutely the precedence over all the pieces else and the place a specific amount of so-called “darkish arts” is employed.

It’s subsequently no shock that Felix grew to become extraordinarily sad along with his state of affairs and wished to go away the Wanda Metropolitano as quickly as potential. Manchester United have been stated to be curious about his providers too, however Chelsea acted decisively and introduced the 23-year-old to Stamford Bridge, albeit with out an possibility to purchase on the finish of the season.

To get that performed, Chelsea needed to pay €11 million as a mortgage payment to Atletico directly, and so they did so within the perception the ahead would play 21 Premier League matches for them between now and the top of the season. Having performed as soon as, nevertheless, he’ll play a most of 17 extra as a result of ban for the pink card on this match.

Fulham flying

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Talking to the press after the match, Fulham defender Tim Ream was requested about his staff climbing into the highest six and sitting above not solely Chelsea, however Liverpool as nicely. The USA worldwide clearly didn’t wish to get dragged into some sort of speculative end-of-season dialogue, and centered his speak on taking the marketing campaign match by match, every because it comes, considering solely concerning the subsequent opponent.

Possibly the gamers and supervisor Marco Silva received’t permit themselves to get too excited at this level, however the followers will definitely be dreaming a couple of superb finish to a season by which their staff returned to the Premier League, performed very well and booked a spot in a European competitors.

However for now, Silva and his males will certainly be wanting on the upcoming fixtures, and there’s so much to consider there. They first go to Newcastle, then they welcome Tottenham Hotspur, and after going through Sunderland within the fourth spherical of the FA Cup, it’s Chelsea once more, this time at Stamford Bridge.

It’s all the time good to really feel optimistic, however Fulham’s prospects for the season will certainly turn into barely clearer after that.

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