Fulham have a minimum of 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 this point, Chelsea’s place in subsequent season’s Champions League is now within the realm of fantasy, even when it hasn’t been fully 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 go away 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 shedding his job as nicely.

There’s loads of high quality within the Chelsea ranks, they usually’ve proven, significantly within the first half of their 0-1 Premier League defeat to Manchester Metropolis, that they will really play nicely towards prime opposition after 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 positive. Chelsea now have a whole XI out of motion. However the gamers who can be found are (or must be) adequate to grind outcomes.

Potter has been making an attempt to rotate wherever it was affordable to attempt that strategy, giving a few younger prospects some necessary game-time. Lewis Corridor, 19, is one in every of 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 enormously 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 displaying him vast 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 laborious to elucidate why didn’t react higher, or a minimum of smarter.

Kepa Arrizabalaga has solely added to Potter’s issues with a few questionable moments just 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 start out upfront beside Kai Havertz and his efficiency was very energetic for 57 minutes. He was concerned in every little thing good Chelsea did within the opposition half straight, 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 together with his studs displaying, and whereas some would argue that there was no malice supposed, there might be little question that referee David Coote made the best name when he raised the pink card towards the Portugal worldwide. What had been wanting like a advantageous debut for the membership broke into 1,000,000 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, artistic, technically very gifted and fitted to an attacking model of soccer, had no enterprise becoming a member of a workforce like Atletico – a workforce the place defensive duties bear absolutely the precedence over every little thing else and the place a certain quantity of so-called “darkish arts” is employed.

It’s subsequently no shock that Felix grew to become extraordinarily sad together with his state of affairs and needed to go away the Wanda Metropolitano as quickly as doable. Manchester United have been mentioned to be keen on his companies too, however Chelsea acted decisively and introduced the 23-year-old to Stamford Bridge, albeit with out an choice to purchase on the finish of the season.

To get that executed, Chelsea needed to pay €11 million as a mortgage price to Atletico directly, they usually did so within the perception the ahead would play 21 Premier League matches for them between now and the tip 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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Chatting with the press after the match, Fulham defender Tim Ream was requested about his workforce climbing into the highest six and sitting above not solely Chelsea, however Liverpool as nicely. The USA worldwide clearly didn’t need to get dragged into some type of speculative end-of-season dialogue, and centered his speak on taking the marketing campaign match by match, every because it comes, considering solely in regards to 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 few superb finish to a season by which their workforce returned to the Premier League, performed rather 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 quite a bit to consider there. They first go to Newcastle, then they welcome Tottenham Hotspur, and after dealing with 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 change into barely clearer after that.

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