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Injury-hit Chelsea start Joao Felix against Fulham one day after his arrival as Potter tries to spark turnaround

7:37 PM GMT 12/01/2023
Joao Felix Chelsea debut pre-match 2022-23
Amid a lengthy injury list, Graham Potter elected to start Joao Felix against Fulham on Thursday just a day after he signed from Atletico Madrid.

WHAT HAPPENED? In a desperate attempt to make up ground in the race for the top four, Potter fielded an XI against Fulham - who sit above the Blues in the Premier League by three places and three points - which included their recent acquisition Felix, who signed on a six-month loan deal less than 24 hours earlier.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Felix's immediate introduction speaks volumes to the current injury problems that are plaguing Potter's side. Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic were the latest additions to a lengthy injury list which currently stands at nine first-team players, the latter of whom could be out for a couple of months with his knee issue. Felix, meanwhile, is thrown straight into Premier League action having played 73 minutes of Atletico's La Liga match against Barcelona just three days before.

WHAT THEY SAID?: Potter explained his decision to BT Sport before kick-off at Craven Cottage: "I think [Felix starting] is a combination of a lot of things. His training, the quality he has, and the team needs a little bit of a lift in terms of the attributes that he has. Obviously, it's a tough one to come into but he's a confident boy, he just wants to play football and I'm looking forward to seeing him play."

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WHAT NEXT FOR CHELSEA? Potter's side cannot afford to drop more points in the league if they are to keep their faint top four hopes alive. The Blues host Crystal Palace on Sunday before a trip to Anfield to face Liverpool on January 21.