Chelsea suffered yet another defeat on Thursday evening, losing 2-1 to Fulham as Joao Felix saw red in his Premier League debut.
Goals from Willian and Carlos Vinicius either side of a Kalidou Koulibaly goal and Felix’s red card were enough to propel Fulham up into the top six and Graham Potter ever closer to the Stamford Bridge door.
Chelsea and Joao Felix started brightly, with the new signing bursting past Tim Ream on the right flank before drilling the ball into the path of Kai Havertz around the penalty spot. The German’s subsequent effort on goal would be blocked but would fall to the onrushing Lewis Hall who could only hit his resulting side-footed effort on goal directly at Bernd Leno.
That lively start came to an abrupt end around the 20th minute mark when a horrific attempted headed clearance from Trevoh Chalobah would lead to Bobby Decordova-Reid bursting into the box and cannoning the ball off of the crossbar.
Moments later, Fulham would bag the opener through ex-Chelsea man Willian.
The Brazilian cut in from the left flank and fired a low strike into the bottom left corner of the net thanks in large part to a deflection off of the leg of Chalobah. It wasn’t a great few minutes for the academy graduate.
Chelsea pressed forward thereafter, with Hall once again being the man whom a chance would fall to. This time the youngster would see a half-volleyed effort on goal be pushed wide of the post by Leno.
The Blues raced out of the blocks at the start of the second half and deservedly drew level in the 47th minute thanks to Kalidou Koulibaly. The centre back reacted first when a clever Mason Mount free-kick from the left flank hit Leno’s near post, to tap home the leveller.
Any momentum the visitors had was then quickly halted by their new star Joao Felix. The on-loan forward had impressed in the first half but his horror tackle on Kenny Tete around the hour mark resulted in Felix receiving just the second red card of his career.
The 11-men of Fulham would take advantage of having an extra man in the 72nd minute when Carlos Vinicius headed home a wonderful cross from the right flank. The cross would come in from Andreas Pereira, who looped the ball brilliantly onto the head of Vinicius and the striker made no mistake with his resulting header.
GK – Bernd Leno – 6/10 – Another solid outing for the ex-Arsenal man.
RB – Kenny Tete – 6/10 – Almost got his leg broken by Joao Felix.
CB – Tosin Adarabioyo – 6/10 – Havertz didn’t exactly trouble him.
CB – Tim Ream – 6/10 – Had a tough time when Felix was on, but after that is was plain sailing.
LB – Antonee Robinson – 5/10 – Caught a few times in the first half.
CM – Harrison Reed – 6/10 – Worked hard throughout.
CM – Joao Palhinha – 7/10 – Another classy performance from the summer signing.
RM – Bobby Decordova-Reid – 7/10 – Hit the bar in the first half with a great strike from the right of the penalty area.
AM – Andreas Pereira – 8/10 – Bagged an assist with a great cross for Vinicius’ goal.
LM – Willian – 7/10 – Of course the ex-Chelsea man scored.
ST – Carlos Vinicius – 8/10 – Deputised for Mitrovic brilliantly, bullying the Chelsea backline and bagging himself a goal.
SUB – Tom Cairney – N/A.
SUB – Harry Wilson – N/A.
SUB – Manor Solomon – N/A.
SUB – Daniel James – N/A.
SUB – Nathaniel Chalobah – N/A.
GK – Kepa Arrizabalaga – 4/10 – Could do nothing about the goal he first goal but was in no-man’s land for the second. An unreliable goalkeeper.
CB – Trevoh Chalobah – 2/10 – A bit all over the place.
CB – Thiago Silva – 4/10 – The best of the back three, as per.
CB – Kalidou Koulibaly – 4/10 – A bit of a ropey first half but made amends with a goal at the start of the second.
RWB – Cesar Azpilicueta – 3/10 – A great player down the years for Chelsea, but nowhere as dynamic as he once was.
CM – Denis Zakaria – 5/10 – A busy midfield performance was cut short by an injury.
CM – Mateo Kovacic – 3/10 – Ran around without ever really effecting play in a positive way.
LWB – Lewis Hall – 4/10 – Spurned a decent chance early on.
RW – Mason Mount – 5/10 – His clever free kick led to the opener. Aside from that, his final ball was lacking all evening (and all season).
ST – Kai Havertz – 1/10 – Very obviously not a number nine. A nothing performance.
LW – Joao Felix – 5/10 – He was actually very good but then he did get himself sent off so it’s hard to rate him too highly.
SUB – Jorginho – 2/10 – You can see why Chelsea aren’t keen on giving him a new contract.
SUB – Conor Gallagher – N/A.
SUB – Marc Cucurella – N/A.
SUB – Hakim Ziyech – N/A.
SUB – Carney Chukwuemeka – N/A.