Fulham 2-1 Chelsea: Graham Potter’s side lose again and Joao Felix is ​​sent off

“Graham Potter must be wondering when his luck will change.”

Former Chelsea striker Joe Cole said what many of the club’s fans, including Potter himself, will be thinking.

A terrible run of form, disgruntled fans, a growing injury list and now their new star has been suspended for three games after being sent off on his debut.

Chelsea, European champion a year and a half ago, is 10th in the Premier League after that losing 2-1 to west London rivals Fulham at Craven Cottage – and again the Blues were the architects of their own downfall.

Portuguese winger Joao Felix looked to be Chelsea’s best player and was at the heart of their best attacking moments before he pounced and caught Fulham defender Kenny Tete on the shin to earn a straight red card.

Chelsea's Joao Felix tackles Fulham's Tete and is sent off on his Premier League debut
Joao Felix became the first Chelsea player to be sent off on his Premier League debut for a tackle on Tete

‘The hits keep coming’

“Joao has had a fantastic performance and now it’s really disappointing to lose him for three games,” Potter said.

“He didn’t want to hurt anyone and that’s a football action that can happen.

“This is where we are in terms of the things that can happen to us. It’s another blow, the blows keep coming at this point. We’re suffering.

“It was a tackle by a striker, there was no malice in it but I understand why he was red. He was really good, you could see his quality in the game so it’s doubly disappointing for us.”

Chelsea were the better team but fell behind when teenage full-back Lewis Hall and centre-back Trevoh Chalobah failed to clear the ball and former Chelsea player Willian scored with a deflected shot.

But Potter’s side leveled within two minutes of the second half as Kalidou Koulibaly was quickest to react after Mason Mount’s free-kick hit the post and Chelsea looked on top.

But the lead was short-lived as Joao Felix, who only joined Chelsea on loan from Atletico Madrid on Wednesday, was sent off before the hour mark and Carlos Vinicius headed home for the hosts in the 72nd minute.

“Moments are going against Potter”

The Opta board graphic shows Joao Felix attempting six shots (purple circles) with four on target (green lines), one blocked (blue line) and one off target (red line).  He had two successful dribbles (triangle) and won four fouls (pentagon).
In the second half, Joao Felix sent six shots (purple circles) with four on goal (green lines), one blocked (blue line) and one off target (red line). He had two successful dribbles (triangle) and won four fouls (pentagon).

“That moment of the red card changed the game,” added Cole. “Joao Felix was brilliant – I saw enough in his 59 minutes to know he will be a good addition for Chelsea.

“It’s difficult when you drop to 10 in the Premier League because you’re overloaded in different parts of the pitch.

“Moments are going against Graham Potter and something has to change. They need a fluke win or a goal to bring confidence back into the team.”

Potter said he was pleased with his side’s performance, but this was another missed opportunity to pick up a much-needed win.

He said: “I think we controlled the game early, got the ball back high, created some chances, maybe missed the last pass. We made a few mistakes for their goal.

“The second half I think we responded well, and then the red card changes the game. It makes it a little difficult for us, I thought the application when we went down to 10 was very good.

“I’m disappointed with the goal because I think we could have done better and it cost us.

“We have to keep working. There is no other solution – you have to keep working, stay together and try to get the three points.”

Zakaria reinforces Chelsea’s injury concerns

Another concern for Potter is Chelsea’s injury problems, with midfielder Denis Zakaria, on loan from Juventus, limping off early in the second half and Chelsea unsure of the seriousness of the injury.

But it is potentially another player to join an injured list that includes goalkeeper Edouard Mendy (arm), defenders Ben Chilwell (hamstring), Reece James (leg) and Wesley Fofana (knee), midfielders N’Golo Kante (hamstring) and Ruben Loftus-Cheek (calf), and forwards Raheem Sterling (muscle injury), Christian Pulisic (knee) and Armando Broja (cruciate ligament).

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