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Premier League: Fulham holds Chelsea to a goalless draw

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Chelsea 0 0 Fulham
Chelsea midfielder Enzo Fernadez in the clash against Fulham. | PHOTO: Eurosport |
  • Chelsea hosted Fulham in the Premier League in their first match since their busy January transfer window
  • Chelsea were the most active in the transfer window signing nine players, and five played against Fulham
  • The Blues lacked a cutting edge, with both teams sharing spoils at Stamford Bridge

Enzo Fernandez’s debut was less than ideal as Fulham held a lethargic Chelsea to a scoreless draw in the West London derby on Friday.

Fernandez had a polished debut for the Blues three days after signing with them for a shocking Premier League record sum of £106.8 million (€121 million) on transfer deadline day, but he was unable to celebrate with a victory.

Big-spending Chelsea lacked a cutting edge, with Kai Havertz hitting the post in the first half of a stalemate at Stamford Bridge.

A point denies the Blues’ chances of finishing in the top four and keeps Fulham ahead of them in the standings.

In the first half, Chelsea struggled to gel as a new-look team and Andreas Pereira nearly gave Fulham the lead with a thunderous right-footed shot that Kepa Arrizabalaga deflected around the post.

Tim Ream touched Mason Mount’s pass slightly, preventing Havertz from scoring at full strength. The German international then experienced additional frustration right before halftime.

Chelsea 0-0 Fulham

Chelsea forward Kai Havertz came close to scoring the opener against Fulham in the Premier League. | PHOTO: The Independent |

Hakim Ziyech, whose transfer to Paris Saint-Germain on the final day of the transfer window fell through, found Havertz with a wonderful pass, and his lob over Bernd Leno rebounded off the post.

After a lacklustre debut, Mykhaylo Mudryk was replaced by fellow newcomer Noni Madueke at halftime, but Chelsea’s lack of fluidity persisted.

Following an ambitious attempt at a lob from Aleksandar Mitrovic that sent Kepa scurrying back to claim on his line, Fernandez narrowly missed the target with a long-range right-footed strike.

On a dismal night for Chelsea, Conor Gallagher missed the target, and Ream cleared David Datro Fofana’s attempt off the line after he rounded a stranded Leno.

Chelsea a work in progress

Despite the enormous sum of money spent by Chelsea, they still seem to lack firepower in the absence of a proven striker, and Fulham did an excellent job of holding them at bay.

The Cottagers are three spots ahead of Chelsea in sixth place after defeating the Blues 2-1 last month.

Given that Graham Potter’s team is nine points behind fourth-placed Manchester United and has played one more game than the Red Devils, they could need to win the Champions League in order to participate in the competition the following season. Reece James and Ben Chilwell’s recovery from injuries gave Chelsea a major boost, as they have now kept three straight clean sheets.

Good start for Fernandez

Enzo Fernandez

New Chelsea midfielder Enzo Fernandez had a great start to his Chelsea career in the Premier League clash against Fulham. | PHOTO: Reuters |

Although Fernandez’s Premier League debut was not particularly impressive, the most expensive player in league history fit in perfectly with Chelsea.

The World Cup-winning Argentina midfielder gained possession 10 times and nine of his 12 duels while coming close to scoring the game-winning goal.

There is another London derby for Chelsea at West Ham next Saturday, while Fulham head to Sunderland for an FA Cup fourth-round replay on Wednesday.

Nathan Sialah is a journalist by profession with interest in politics, sports, cryptocurrency and human interests with 5 years experience in Radio and Digital Journalism. This has helped Sialah develop a responsible approach to any task he undertakes or any situation that he is presented with.

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