Chelsea scrape past 10-man Fulham

Chelsea had to work hard for their win 1-0 against Fulham at Craven Cottage to end their recent poor run with a much needed victory for Frank Lampard. The Blues dominated the possession, especially after Fulham were reduced to 10 men, but failed to capitalise on the situation and squandered numerous opportunities to kill the game.

As expected, Chelsea dominated the early proceedings, as Lampard started with Olivier Giroud. After a cagey first 25 minutes, Chelsea had their first chance of the game through Mason Mount, but the midifielder’s crisp shot cannoned off the crossbar.

Moments later, Rudiger drew a diving stop from Areola to prevent Chelsea taking the lead from a corner. Chelsea started to apply more pressure with every attacking move, but Fulham defended diligently with everyone behind the ball.

The best chance of the game fell Fulham’s way when Robinson scampering away on the left passed to Tete on the right wing, who instead of shooting played a neat first-time pass to an unmarked Cavaleiro in the Chelsea penalty spot. However, the Portuguese international completely missed his kick, as the ball ballooned out of play after hitting his other foot.

Fulham were dealt a severe blow after Antonee Robinson was shown a direct red card for his reckless challenge on Azpilicueta in the 44th minute. Although there was not much contact in the challenge, VAR decided it to be a rash challenge by the American international.

Chelsea were in complete control since the beginning of second half and tried to take the advantage of numbers by forcing the play through wide areas. The Blues had 12 corners in the game, and went close to scoring with a few of them. Pulisic was inches away from giving Chelsea the lead, but failed to connect with Ziyech’s vicious cross from the left.

The Blues almost gifted a goal to Fulham after a misunderstanding between Azpilicueta and Mendy resulted in ball breaking to Cavaleiro inside the Chelsea box. However, the forward’s attempt to curl into an unguarded net was blocked brilliantly by Thiago Silva.

Frank Lampard replaced Ziyech and Giroud with Hudson-Odoi and Werner, and the substitution paid dividends within minutes as the former was involved in the buildup to Chelsea’s goal. Areola’s punched clearance from Chilwell’s cross fell kindly to Mount in the box, and the midfielder lashed home his effort into the bottom right to give Chelsea the lead in 78th minute.

Chelsea’s defence were under severe pressure to preserve the lead, as Fulham started to push everyone forward in the final minutes of the game. The Blues were forced into conceding fouls to prevent Fulham breaking away, and looked nervy as the game went on.

Azpilicueta and Werner were guilty of missing glorious chances to finish the game in the stoppage time, as the former blasted his effort high into the stands from the edge of the box, while the latter dragged his effort wide after running through on goal from the left.

Speaking after the game, Lampard said Chelsea are still in a transition stage, but need to continue winning games. The Blues manager added “It feels good. It’s not easy with our league form recently, so you have to break it.

And Fulham were in good form. I felt we started well but against ten men it’s not easy. We got what we deserved tonight.”

Mason was outstanding and he deserves the accolades. I did have the feeling that we could get the goal. Mason needs to score more goals, he knows that, but his quality is brilliant.”

Werner has to keep working, it’s the only way out of it. Go again, go again. And it’ll go in for him, because he’s quality. We’re in a transition, but we need to get points because we’re Chelsea, and we go again on Tuesday.”

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