February 8, 2023

Fulham turned up the pressure on Chelsea boss Graham Potter with a shock 2-1 win that saw Blues striker Joao Felix sent off on his debut before Kepa Arrizabalaga made a decisive blunder.

Potter’s troubled side crashed to a seventh defeat in their last 10 games in all competitions after another sputtering performance.

Chelsea fell behind on Thursday with a goal from their former winger Willian in the first half at Craven Cottage.

Kalidou Koulibaly equalized after the break, but Felix was sent off after a reckless lunge at Kenny Tete.

Fulham were gifted their late winner from Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa, who messed up to handle a cross that converted Carlos Vinicius, leaving Potter to face renewed talks about sacking just four months after he had suspended Thomas Tuchel to replace.

Potter this week labeled managing Chelsea “the toughest job in football” following a turbulent period that seriously tests owner Todd Boehly’s hopes that the former Brighton boss is the right man for the job to start the new era at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea languish in 10th place – 10 points adrift of the top four – after their miserable run was extended to one win in their last nine league games.

They have scored just four goals in their last eight games in all competitions and Potter desperately needs a win against Crystal Palace on Sunday to buy at least a little breathing room.

Hampered by a grueling list of injuries including N’Golo Kante, Christian Pulisic, Raheem Sterling, Ben Chilwell and Reece James, Potter admitted this week that Chelsea were “suffering”.

The 47-year-old defender met senior players Cesar Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic on Tuesday in a bid to calm the crisis.

But the patience of Chelsea fans is running thin and the loss of sixth-placed neighbor Fulham was another bitter blow to his hopes of being sacked.

It was in line with Potter’s misfortune that Felix’s promising debut ended prematurely following his move from Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old, who reportedly cost Chelsea 11 million euros ($12 million) on loan, was one of four changes from last weekend’s 4-0 FA Cup defeat at Manchester City.

Potter misery –

Felix was allowed to wander through Chelsea’s three-man attack, demonstrating his speed and nimble footwork as he charged into the Fulham area.

Felix’s pass found Kai Havertz and when the German’s shot was blocked he put the rebound on Lewis Hall, whose low drive was saved by Bernd Leno.

Selected by Mateo Kovacic, Felix shot wide from the edge of the penalty area

But even then, Potter’s luck wouldn’t last, because Felix saw red.

Felix unnecessarily threw himself into a high tackle that bounced into Tete’s shin and couldn’t complain when David Coote flashed the red card.

There was an even more disgraceful contribution to Chelsea’s downfall at the hands of Kepa in the 73rd minute.

Kepa completely misjudged the flight of Pereira’s cross, sending him sailing over his head to Vinicius, who nodded into the empty net as Chelsea defender Thiago Silva yelled at the hapless keeper.

Potter’s woes mount as Fulham beat Chelsea after Felix’s red card first appeared on Vanguard News.

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