When João Félix completed his much-anticipated loan move away from Atlético Madrid, which style and system do not suit the 23-year-old forward, many cheered and looked forward to his fresh start in another club jersey. The played was then successfully loaned to Premier League side Chelsea, and was given the chance to start the game as soon as he was available, but the ending was less than pleasant, or should we say, disastrous.
The Blues travelled to Craven Cottage to play Fulham in their west London derby encounter and were eager to snap their poor form after not winning any of their last three games, but it was the home team, which scored to lead twice in the game, that took away all three points in the latest round of league matches.
Willian Scored Against His Former Club
Chelsea, ranked 10th in the table, was without a long list of players due to injuries, including N’Golo Kanté, Christian Pulisic, Édouard Mendy, Raheem Sterling, Ben Chilwell, Reece James, etc. Being wounded and shorthanded allowed the Cottagers to seize the opportunity and they were fearless to attack Chelsea’s goal in front of their roaring home fans.
18-year-old left-back Lewis Hall were struggling to clear the ball from the edge of his own half, and Bobby Decordova-Reid took the ball away and fired a cross to the penalty box. The delivery was then deflected by the Chelsea defence, only to allow the ball to reach the feet of former Blue Willian. The winger stepped into the close area and measured his chance, before driving a deflected shot to beat Kepa Arrizabalaga. The 34-year-old player from Ribeirão Pires, State of São Paulo honoured his promise and did not celebrate should he be able to score against his ex club.
A Debut to Forget for Félix
Graham Potter’s men had plenty of chances in the game, 20 shots, to be exact, with half of those shots were fired at Fulham’s goal, but they could only find the equaliser minutes after the restart, courtesy of Kalidou Koulibaly’s close-range shot. The opportunity came when Mason Mount cleverly whipped his free kick towards goal that caught Bernd Leno by surprise, and the ball bounced off the left post and landed before the Senegal national team captain. His shot crossed the line and Chelsea was level.
As for the first-timer in a Premier League game, 23-year-old João Félix, plenty of dangerous efforts were created by the forward, before he went crazy to throw himself into a reckless challenge over the opposing Kenny Tete. Fulham players swarmed over referee David Coote and the Englishman took his time to consider the punishment for the offense, before sending the debutant to the dressing room with a red card. That meant Félix did not even complete an hour of what might be his full debut for the Blues.
Joao Felix gets a red card on his Premier League debut 😳 pic.twitter.com/EhulpSGFpz
— GOAL (@goal) January 12, 2023
Cottagers Scored the Winner Against 10-Man Chelsea
With the Blues down to 10 men with more than half an hour of game plus added time still to go, Fulham gathered themselves to build a patient play towards the Chelsea backline and former Manchester United midfielder Andreas Pereira sent a dangerous ball for his fellow countryman Carlos Vinícius to score his first goal for the Cottagers in the 73rd minute. That goal proved to be the winner and allowed Fulham to register only their second win over the Blues in 31 meetings in the history of the Premier League.
A defeat to Fulham meant Chelsea has been defeated eight times over their last 11 matches in all competitions, conceding 20 goals and scoring only seven during that period. Graham Potter’s tenure as the Blues’ head coach looking more and more vulnerable since the team is now few points away from slipping into the bottom half of the Premier League table.
When asked about the team’s situation at the moment, the 47-year-old Potter responded “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 also added, “We have got to keep working, there is no other solutions,” he said. “You have to keep working stay together and try to get the three points.” The team will face Crystal Palace next at home this Sunday.
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