Match Report: Fulham 0 Chelsea 2
Mykhailo Mudryk’s first goal in Chelsea colours and Armando Broja’s first in nearly a year set us on the path to a confidence-boosting first away win of the season.
Mudryk opened his account on 18 minutes, rounding off a fantastic move involving Moises Caicedo and Levi Colwill with a confident finish in front of the Hammersmith End.
It had been more than five hours since our last league goal, Nicolas Jackson’s against Luton, but we only had to wait another 82 seconds until our next! It was a special moment for Broja on what was his first start since sustaining that awful ACL injury back in December, even if the goal did have some good fortune about it.
2-0 inside 20 minutes and that was how it stayed, the Blues playing with plenty of swagger in possession and a dogged determination out of it, worthy winners for the 50th time against Fulham in our history.
Pochettino handed Cole Palmer, Marc Cucurella and Broja their first Premier League starts this season. Cucurella came in at right-back, with Palmer and Mudryk flanking Broja. Raheem Sterling dropped to the bench after a virus disrupted his training schedule in the build-up to the game.
Chelsea started well. We had already looked a menace in transition by the time two goals in as many minutes put us firmly in control of this west London derby.Mudryk’s big moment
The first was a wonderfully crafted goal, and some way to end our three-game streak without one in the league. Moises Caicedo sprayed a pass wide left, inviting Colwill to run on to it close to the touchline. His lofted centre was perfectly weighted for Mudryk to chest the ball down and coolly slot it through Bernd Leno’s legs.
You wait quite a while for a goal and then two come along at once! This was more Fulham’s doing, and a sure sign of a change in fortune for us in front of goal.
Palmer intercepted an errant Tim Ream pass out from the back and tried to slip in Broja. Ream got across to cut it out but succeeded only in clearing it against the Albanian’s right foot, the ball ricocheting into the net at speed.
The rest of the half played out with Chelsea continuing to look the more dangerous, Mudryk and Palmer especially lively and Broja a willing runner. Fulham’s threat was limited to set-pieces, one of which Raul Jimenez headed wide with the hosts’ only attempt of a very satisfactory first 45 minutes.Close for Maatsen
Ian Maatsen replaced Mudryk ahead of the restart and it was he who came closest to scoring the next goal, thudding an effort against the left-hand post having collected a cutback from the excellent Conor Gallagher. Leno did well to save Enzo’s follow-up effort.
Sterling came on for Broja after that double chance, with the Albanian understandably looking fatigued after his first hour of Premier League football in so long.
We needed Robert Sanchez to be at his best to keep out Fulham’s only meaningful chance of the night on 77 minutes, sub Sasa Lukic unable to steer his close-range effort past our keeper.
The travelling support were able to go through their songbook as the game meandered to its conclusion, although it did finish on a sour note for Moises Caicedo, who limped off in some pain with time almost up, while youngster Alex Matos made his Chelsea debut off the bench.What it means
We rise to 11th in the table after our first away win of the season and our second success in a row in all competitions. This was our third clean sheet in the league this season and we now have eight of those in our past 11 fixtures against the Cottagers.What’s next
The Blues are back on the road on Saturday although much further from home as we make the long trip to Burnley. That one is a 3pm kick-off.
Chelsea (4-3-3): Sanchez; Cucurella, Disasi, Thiago Silva, Colwill; Gallagher (c), Caicedo (Madueke 95+6), Enzo (Matos 90+5); Palmer (Ugochukwu 78), Broja (Sterling 65), Mudryk (Maatsen h/t).
Unused subs Petrovic, Brooking, Gilchrist, Washington.
Scorers Mudryk 18, Broja 19
Booked Cucurella 34, Palmer 55, Sterling 68, Sanchez 87
Fulham (4-2-3-1): Leno; Castagne, Diop, Ream (c), Robinson; Reed (Cairney 65), Joao Palhinha; Wilson (Iwobi 54), Andreas Pereira (Lukic 75), Willian; Jimenez (Vinicius 53)
Unused subs Rodak, Bassey, Ballo-Toure, Rodrigo Muniz
Booked Vinicius 57
Referee Tim Robinson