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Chelsea made to work for win against 10-man Fulham


Mason Mount
Mason Mount’s strike was Chelsea’s 800th away goal in the Premier League

Mason Mount finally broke the resistance of 10-man Fulham as Chelsea laboured their way to only a second Premier League win in seven games.

Antonee Robinson was sent off late in the first half for Fulham for a dangerous tackle on Cesar Azpilicueta.

Ten different players had shots for Chelsea, but they were wasteful in front of goal.

Their biggest chance before the goal was when Mount crashed a shot off the crossbar.

The England midfielder eventually proved the match-winner with a half-volley after Alphonse Areola flapped at Ben Chilwell’s cross.

The win takes Chelsea up to seventh, while Fulham – who had drawn their previous five league games – are four points from safety.

Can result help Chelsea kick-start season?

Chelsea went top of the table on 5 December when they beat Leeds. This was only their second victory in the league since then – and they sit seven points off Manchester United, having played an extra game.

Boss Frank Lampard talked about “the experience and personality of” Olivier Giroud and Antonio Rudiger when explaining their places in starting XI – and spoke of the need to “kick-start” their season.

The result came eventually, albeit not with a stellar performance.

Giroud and Chilwell both missed the target with volleys, while Hakim Ziyech had a shot well saved before Mount hit the bar.

Rudiger had a header tipped wide, Ziyech went close with a shot from the left wing and Giroud flicked an effort wide at the near post.

It looked as if the goal was never going to come before Mount finally converted with a well-hit low finish.

Substitute Timo Werner had a glorious chance to end his Premier League goal drought – going back to 7 November – late on but slotted wide at the end of a counter-attack.

Robinson red card costs Fulham

Robinson’s dismissal came during Fulham’s best spell of the game – or rather at the end of it.

Three of their five first-half shots came in the five minutes before the USA wing-back’s mistimed tackle on Azpilicueta. Some disputed whether the red card was merited, but in the modern era it was dangerous enough to justify a sending off.

It was a disastrous three minutes for Fulham because Ivan Cavaleiro had just missed their best chance of the game when, unmarked on the penalty spot, he fired over from Kenny Tete’s pass.

They ended up defending for most of the second half – with only 23.2% of the ball – although they did have chances. Harrison Reed and Aboubakar Kamara forced saves and Cavaleiro had a shot blocked by Thiago Silva.

Just when it looked like they were going to make it six Premier League draws in a row, Areola failed to deal sufficiently with Chilwell’s cross and Mount pounced.

‘Perfection is not an easy thing to get’ – match reaction

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard told BBC Sport: “Fulham are tough to beat and dangerous in attack. The challenge against 10 men was different. You want to take advantage of the situation.

“A month ago we were flying high, but since then we’ve struggled. It’s a challenge even a man down. We got the goal though and could have got more.

“Maybe a bit [confidence affecting his players], that’s normal in football, but every team are having phases of form. Within that you get individuals short of form. We’ve got talent at the top end and it’s my job to sort that out.

“Perfection is not an easy thing to get. I won’t say I was blown away with the performance. There were lots of bits I was happy with, but we won’t get too ahead of ourselves.”

Chelsea match-winner Mason Mount to Sky Sports: “I found myself in the box, which recently I haven’t been doing.

“It is something I looked at and I managed to do that today. It fell to me and I probably should have had two.”

Fulham boss Scott Parker told BBC Sport: “The longer the first half went on we came into it. It was a great chance for [Ivan] Cavaleiro – that needs to go in.”

On the Antonee Robinson red card: “I’ve not seen it again. In real time I didn’t see it. I want my players to play on the line – to be committed and aggressive. But if he’s crossed it he needs to look at that.

“I thought defensively we were fantastic. You still want to be a bit of a counter-threat.

“In the second half, you’re playing the clock a bit – we tried to hold on but it wasn’t to be. But I’ve nothing but admiration for my team – they were superb to a man.”

Match stats – Chelsea are the 1-0 kings

  • Chelsea’s win ended a run of three straight Premier League defeats on the road. This was the Blues’ fourth away clean sheet of the season, after keeping just one last term.
  • Fulham remain winless in their last 19 Premier League London derby matches (D2 L17) since a 2-1 win over West Ham in January 2014.
  • Chelsea have lost just one of their 29 Premier League meetings with Fulham (W18 D10), remaining unbeaten in their last 19 against the Cottagers in the competition.
  • Chelsea have won 131 Premier League games by a 1-0 scoreline, the most common winning score for a single team in the competition’s history.
  • Chelsea had 21 shots against Fulham, only managing more against other promoted sides West Brom (22) and Leeds (23) in Premier League games this season.
  • As well as scoring the winner, Mason Mount created seven chances in this game – the joint-most by a Chelsea player in a league game this season (Mount also seven against Leeds).
  • Antonee Robinson’s red card was Fulham’s third in the Premier League this season – no side has had more so far this term.
  • Antonee Robinson became the eighth different player from the USA to be sent off in the Premier League, with Fulham the first side to have two American players see red (also Carlos Bocanegra).

What’s next?

Chelsea visit Leicester City on Tuesday, while Fulham host Manchester United the next day (both games at 20:15 GMT).

Player of the match

MountMason Mount

Fulham

  1. Squad number1Player nameAreola

  2. Squad number21Player nameReed

  3. Squad number5Player nameAndersen

  4. Squad number16Player nameAdarabioyo

  5. Squad number34Player nameAina

  6. Squad number19Player nameLookman

  7. Squad number2Player nameTete

  8. Squad number14Player nameDe Cordova-Reid

  9. Squad number29Player nameZambo Anguissa

  10. Squad number23Player nameBryan

  11. Squad number25Player nameOnomah

  12. Squad number17Player nameCavaleiro

  13. Squad number47Player nameKamara

  14. Squad number33Player nameRobinson

Chelsea

  1. Squad number19Player nameMount

  2. Squad number21Player nameChilwell

  3. Squad number20Player nameHudson-Odoi

  4. Squad number6Player nameThiago Silva

  5. Squad number10Player namePulisic

  6. Squad number22Player nameZiyech

  7. Squad number2Player nameRüdiger

  8. Squad number18Player nameGiroud

  9. Squad number9Player nameAbraham

  10. Squad number16Player nameMendy

  11. Squad number17Player nameKovacic

  12. Squad number28Player nameAzpilicueta

  13. Squad number5Player nameJorginho

  14. Squad number11Player nameWerner

Line-ups

Fulham

Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Areola
  • 34AinaSubstituted forBryanat 83′minutes
  • 5Andersen
  • 16Adarabioyo
  • 2Tete
  • 14De Cordova-ReidBooked at 69minsSubstituted forKamaraat 83′minutes
  • 21Reed
  • 29Zambo Anguissa
  • 33RobinsonBooked at 44mins
  • 17CavaleiroSubstituted forOnomahat 79′minutes
  • 19LookmanBooked at 88mins

Substitutes

  • 3Hector
  • 4Odoi
  • 7Kebano
  • 12Rodák
  • 13Ream
  • 23Bryan
  • 25Onomah
  • 47Kamara

Chelsea

Formation 4-3-3

  • 16Mendy
  • 28AzpilicuetaBooked at 90mins
  • 6Thiago SilvaBooked at 82mins
  • 2Rüdiger
  • 21Chilwell
  • 17Kovacic
  • 5JorginhoSubstituted forAbrahamat 65′minutes
  • 19Mount
  • 22ZiyechBooked at 72minsSubstituted forHudson-Odoiat 75′minutes
  • 18GiroudSubstituted forWernerat 75′minutes
  • 10Pulisic

Substitutes

  • 1Arrizabalaga
  • 9Abraham
  • 11Werner
  • 15Zouma
  • 20Hudson-Odoi
  • 23Gilmour
  • 24James
  • 29Havertz
  • 33Emerson

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