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Joao Felix sees red as Fulham beat Chelsea

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Kai Havertz Chelsea Fulham 2022 23 goal
  • Chelsea was beaten 2-1 in a match that saw debutant Joao Felix sent off.
  • Goals from Willian and Vinicius assured Fulham all three points.
  • The defeat puts Graham Potter under more pressure from the board and fans.

Chelsea’s disappointing season continued as they were defeated 2-1 by West London rivals Fulham, with Joao Felix receiving a red card on his debut.

Chelsea came into the game with just one win in their previous eight Premier League games, but they got off to a fast start on the banks of the Thames, with Joao Felix looking particularly lively on his debut.

Joao Felix’s debut.

Willian refused to celebrate after scoring the first goal.|PHOTO: Goal|

Willian refused to celebrate after scoring the first goal.|PHOTO: Goal|

Earlier this week, the Blues paid £11 million to secure the services of Joao Felix on loan from Atletico Madrid.

It all started well for Chelsea, with Felix igniting their attacking play immediately. Within two minutes, he’d nutmegged Tim Ream to set up Kai Havertz for a blocked shot, resulting in Lewis Hall squandering a follow-up. Chelsea fans were chanting his name by the quarter-hour mark, with Antonee Robinson and Andreas Pereira both in the book for bringing down the stylish, dangerous, roaming forward.

Despite the extra impetus Felix provided to Chelsea’s attack, their lack of belief at the back was evident and proved to be their undoing.

After an encouraging start from the visitors, it was Chelsea old boy Willian who got Fulham up and running, firing in (25) with the help of a deflection against the side where he spent seven years of his career.

By that point, Fulham had already had a penalty appeal turned down and hit the crossbar through Bobby Decordova-Reid, with Chelsea’s defence lacking confidence. Still, Potter’s men struck back at the start of the second half when Kalidou Koulibaly (47) forced the ball over the line after Mason Mount’s free-kick hit the post.

The red card offence.

Joao Felix

Joao Felix saw red on his debut.|PHOTO: Getty|

After being put into the starting lineup just 24 hours after completing his transfer from Atletico Madrid, Felix had seemed destined to make headlines, with a fantastic first-half performance illuminating what had been a toothless Chelsea attack. But in the end, his first outing will be remembered for a stupid lunge at Kenny Tete with his studs up.

On a night when Denis Zakaria was added to Potter’s already extensive injury list, his red card on 57 minutes means he will now be suspended for three of the 20 Premier League games left in his loan period, further complicating matters.

Fulham was missing talisman Aleksandar Mitrovic due to suspension, but his replacement, Carlos Vinicius, put the Cottagers ahead in the 73rd minute. With Kepa appearing to lose the ball’s flight, the Brazilian got on the end of a lovely delivery from Andreas Pereira to nod home.

The hosts easily held on for three points, moving them within four points of the Champions League places, while Chelsea is six points further back in 10th.

Manager thoughts.

Chelsea coach Graham Potter

Chelsea coach Graham Potter. Photo by Sky Sports

Speaking after the game, underfire Blues boss Graham Potter felt his side applied themselves well during the game, especially having gone down to 10 men.

“I think we controlled the game early, won the ball back high, created some opportunities, maybe missed the last pass. We made a couple of mistakes for their goal,” he told BT Sport.

“Second half, I think, we responded well, and then the red card changed the game. It makes it a little more difficult for us; I thought the application when we went down to 10 was perfect.

“Disappointed with the goal because I think we could do better, which is what cost us. Disappointed to lose.”

I am an ardent sports enthusiast interested in writing about football, motorsport and athletics.

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