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Winners & Losers

That's what you call rock bottom! Chelsea winners, losers & ratings as Felix debacle only part of Blues' sob story vs Fulham

01:31 GMT+3 13/01/2023
Joao Felix Chelsea Fulham react walk off 2022-23
Chelsea hit rock bottom as they slipped to another Premier League defeat against Fulham, with new signing Joao Felix seeing red on his debut.

Life, death, taxes - and Chelsea beating Fulham in the Premier League. That's the way it's supposed to be. That's the way it's been ever since the Cottagers last avoided defeat against their dominant, less sophisticated neighbours all the way back in 2012.

But this isn't the Chelsea of old. This Blues team has a soft underbelly, don't know how to finish their chances and now look at their lowest ebb in recent history.

The 2-1 loss didn't always feel inevitable. The inclusion of new signing Joao Felix gave Graham Potter's team something resembling a fresh impetus in the opening exchanges, and even with Fulham entering half-time 1-0 up - thanks to a goal from former Stamford Bridge hero Willian - it felt like they could recover.

Those hopes increased when Kalidou Koulibaly bundled home, but things went very wrong very quickly after that. Clearly infected by the virus that is Chelsea's recent malaise, Felix left his brain in the dressing room and flew into a studs-up tackle on Kenny Tete. It resulted in him becoming the first Chelsea player to be sent off on his Premier League debut.

It was Fulham's game to win from there and they delivered - with Aleksandar Mitrovic stand-in Carlos Vinicius losing his man and powering a header home.

Defeat for Chelsea then. Just their eighth ever against Fulham, and their second in the Premier League era. We think you call that rock bottom.

Below, GOAL takes a look at the Chelsea winners and losers from a damaging night at Craven Cottage.

  • Willian no celebration Chelsea Fulham 2022-23

    The Winners

    Willian:

    In the early exchanges of the derby a packed-out away end serenaded the former Blue, who won a pair of Premier League titles during his time at Stamford Bridge, but the affection they still hold for the Brazilian did little to soften the blow of him opening the scoring for Chelsea fans. After becoming a bit of a punchline during his Arsenal spell, Willian has enjoyed a wonderful renaissance by the River Thames, with the strike bringing his goal involvement tally up to five for the season.

    Benoit Badiashile:

    If Chelsea's new £34m signing from Monaco can't get in this defence he may as well hang up his boots. Again, the Blues looked mightily uncomfortable whenever they were put under any form of pressure, while Chalobah and Koulibaly seemed to be competing to see who could make more individual errors in the first half. Whether Potter sticks with a back three or reverts to a back four, you'd have to expect Badiashile to feature in some capacity against Crystal Palace.

    Liverpool, West Ham & Everton:

    There always has to be at least one crisis club in the Premier League. That's just the way it works. And right now, Liverpool, West Ham and Everton will be delighted that the Blues are stealing that honour away from them. Another disastrous evening ensures Chelsea will be dominating the back pages once again and incredibly leaves them in an even weaker position than when they entered the game. It'll take some disasterclass to take the crisis-club crown away from them.

  • Joao Felix Chelsea debut pre-match 2022-23

    The Losers

    Joao Felix:

    Goodness gracious me, that was quite the eventful debut. A surprise inclusion in the starting XI before he'd even had time to drop his wash bag at Cobham meant all eyes were on Felix on Thursday night. And after a spritely but wasteful start to his Chelsea career, Felix's Premier League bow descended into farce. The forward's wild flying lash out was ironically a challenge that his arch-nemesis, Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone, would have been proud of. His current manager will be less pleased. Felix has just given Potter yet another selection headache to deal with.

    Graham Potter:

    Fulham fans revelled in informing Potter that he was "being sacked in the morning" throughout proceedings. While that is probably not true, there is now a genuine argument that he has guided Chelsea to their post-Abramovic nadir. This defeat leaves them a humiliating 10 points shy of fourth-placed Manchester United, with their Champions League prospects now fanciful. A battered and bruised Crystal Palace are next up for Potter and Co. Lose that, and parroting lines about the club being in transition simply aren't going to cut it.

    Kepa Arrizabalaga:

    Another Chelsea game, another appearance in the losers section for the most expensive goalkeeper in the world. My oh my Kepa, we thought you were past this? It would appear not. A second piece of game-changing goalkeeping - and not in a good way - on the bounce will have fans yearning for the return of Edouard Mendy between the sticks, but the Senegal international was in similarly shaky form pre-injury. Whatever way you spin it, it's not good news for Chelsea.

  • Trevoh Chalobah Chelsea Fulham 2022-23

    Chelsea Ratings: Defence

    Kepa Arrizabalaga (5/10):

    Made a few good stops, but spilled one on the stroke of half-time and might have been punished. All at sea as Fulham took the lead.

    Trevoh Chalobah (4/10):

    A slip, which allowed Bobby Decordova-Reid to rattle the crossbar, sent the tone for a nightmarish first half. Lost Vinicius for the goal.

    Thiago Silva (6/10):

    Emerged with some credit. Chelsea could really do with finding the fountain of youth so he can play for another five years.

    Kalidou Koulibaly (5/10):

    Guilty of some seriously sloppy moments in the opening exchanges. Partially redeemed himself by bundling Chelsea's equaliser over the line.

  • Cesar Azpilicueta Chelsea Fulham 2022-23

    Midfield

    Cesar Azpilicueta (5/10):

    Had a few uncomfortable moments against the more athletic Antonee Robinson. Offered very little going forward.

    Mateo Kovacic (5/10):

    Usually one of the most accurate passers in world football, but tonight more than a few of his attempts failed to find their man. .

    Denis Zakaria (6/10):

    Fired up. He wasn't perfect, but it's that sort of intensity that'll help Chelsea out of their current funk. His injury is another big blow.

    Lewis Hall (4/10):

    Should have scored inside three minutes. Never looked comfortable and a tricky situation risks killing his confidence.

  • Kai Havertz Chelsea Fulham 2022-23

    Attack

    Mason Mount (6/10):

    A petty foul on Willian on the stroke of half-time summed up a difficult opening 45 minutes. Created the goal but did not consistently influence proceeding.

    Kai Havertz (5/10):

    Had a couple of moments, but underwhelming overall. You get the feeling he's playing within himself.

    Joao Felix (5/10):

    Potter said he hoped Chelsea's new arrival would give the team a "lift". And, to be fair, he was at the centre of everything the Blues did - before he got himself sent off. Oh dear.

  • Subs & Manager

    Jorginho (5/10):

    Needs to show leadership with a return to the team likely in the wake of Zakaria's injury. Did OK here.

    Carney Chukwuemeka (N/A):

    Surprised he didn't come on earlier after doing well against Man City recently.

    Conor Gallagher (N/A):

    Tried his best.

    Hakim Ziyech (N/A):
    Little chance to influence things.

    Marc Cucurella (N/A):
    Will be recalled on Sunday, surely?

    Graham Potter (5/10):

    Selecting Hall was interesting and didn't really pay off. Subs did very little, but it's difficult not to sympathise over the Felix situation. Under serious pressure now.