After the loss to Spurs ended Chelsea’s unbeaten start to the season, Fulham were the visitors on Sunday lunchtime. Chelsea fielded a full team with Pedro replacing Willian on the right. Fulham, however, were without former Chelsea player Andre Schurrle. Fresh off the win against Southampton, Fulham came here in good spirits but Chelsea came away with all three points to stay in third place.
Chelsea Bounce Back to Beat Lowly Fulham
Pedro Scoring Early
Opening the scoring was Pedro, who was in for Willian, justifying his manager’s choice to play him. N’Golo Kante stole the ball off Jean-Michael Seri in midfield and set Pedro through on goal. His composure was top draw, as he cut back inside onto his left and finished smartly. Kante’s role is not to be overlooked as he put forward a good case and a good performance today to silence some of the critics.
Other chances followed but nothing significant. Eden Hazard set Olivier Giroud through but his touch took him too wide and his shot was easily saved.
Chelsea dominated possession but failed to create much with Fulham sitting deep.
The second half saw Fulham make two changes at half-time – Aboubakar Kamara and Floyd Ayite came on for Stefan Johansen and Ryan Sessegnon. Chelsea also made a change, seeing an injured, off the pace Kovacic exit the pitch with Loftus-Cheek replacing him, who brought about the second goal. Just before that, Hazard managed to find some space for a shot which was parried by Sergio Rico. It fell to Alvaro Morata, who somehow managed to fire over, adding to his ever-growing list of easy chances he continues to miss.
Again, the attack started by Hazard saw him link up with Pedro and Loftus-Cheek before setting him through. The quick passes opened up Fulham as Loftus-Cheek finished smartly to stake his claim for a starting place in this team.
Tougher Tests To Come
Kepa made a few noteworthy saves for Chelsea but most players seemed a bit off the pace. Alonso looked tired, perhaps feeling the effects of a lot of game time in recent weeks. Nevertheless, three points for Chelsea means they stay third. Up next, stuttering Wolves away on Wednesday night.
Following that fixture is a home game next weekend against the leaders and last year’s champions, Manchester City. Today was enough to get the three points against a struggling Fulham team. Chelsea know tougher tests are to come as the games come thick and fast with the Christmas period getting into full swing.