Fulham’s two goals proved to be enough to force out a 2-1 victory over rivals Chelsea, despite an encouraging start from Joao Felix. With this victory, Fulham moves up one spot to sixth, while Chelsea stays solidly planted in the middle of the league.
In the West London rivalry, Fulham prevails despite Chelsea’s best efforts. However, the visitors came up empty-handed against their London rivals, and Potter is now under more and more pressure.
Joao Felix, Chelsea’s brand-new talisman, made his debut in this match after joining the club the day before, giving him little time to get to know his new teammates in his one training session before the game.
The on-loan Atletico player made it clear that this didn’t concern him by effortlessly gliding through the Fulham midfield and drawing fouls and yellow cards from opponents.
Moving ahead, multiple opportunities came from his feet, further demonstrating his dominance. His immediate influence was demonstrated by the fact that Chelsea had more shots on goal after only 35 minutes than they had averaged in every other game this season (14 vs 10.9). This was futile, though, since he had numerous opportunities to bring one home but was unable to do so.
The home team showed far better clinical play, scoring almost all of their chances in the opening 45 minutes. This goal came in the 25th minute when Willian, an ex-Chelsea player, struck it lucky. When the Brazilian attempted to shoot after collecting a poorly cleared cross, his effort took a nasty deflection and swerved past the defenseless Kepa.
The visitors were unfazed by losing to their former player since they were focused on tying the game. Felix, the new star, continued to be of service and kept up his attacking prowess.
This flurry of opportunities made it easier for Fulham shot-stopper Bernd Leno to become more involved, as he consistently defended his team, deflecting multiple opportunities to help Potter’s team increase their corner rate.
As Potter’s recent bad form had lasted for yet another half of football, this pressure eventually did not pay off. It would have been disappointing to trail by one goal at the half, and it was maybe unfair given how much the visitors controlled the first half’s possession and opportunities.
The first-half hangover was instantly disregarded because Potter’s team scored after only 48 minutes. Leno was beat after a Mason Mount free-kick curled into the front post. The shot hit the front post and bounced back into the six-yard box, where Koulibaly was waiting patiently to score.
The next event dealt a severe shock to the opposition as Joao Felix was dismissed for a last-second challenge. After his recklessly tardy challenge, which was unrevised by the VAR, the referee was left in no doubt, ending what had been a very good evening for the new man. After the shock, Chelsea needed some time to collect themselves, but they were more determined than ever to not let it impact them.
With less than 20 minutes remaining, much to the pleasure of the Craven Cottage crowd, the home team took the lead once again after pounding Potter’s 10-man side.
Vinicius got some room at the back post, rose highest to the deep cross, and expertly swept it past Kepa for the 2-1 goal, sending the supporters behind the goal into absolute ecstasy.
Potter gave the order to switch out four players in a last-ditch effort to try and salvage something from the game. The visitors did make a late push, but nothing that could even threaten the Fulham defense, and Fulham easily closed out their well-earned victory.
With this victory, Fulham moves up to sixth place and is prepared for their upcoming away match against Newcastle on Tyneside, while Chelsea stays in tenth place. For their home match against fellow Londoners Crystal Palace, it’s back to the drawing board.