Chelsea ended a run of three Premier League (PL) games without a goal as they defeated south-west London rivals Fulham 2-0 at Craven Cottage.
By this point, Chelsea’s goalscoring trouble is one of the biggest elephants in the PL room. The Blues came into this encounter having failed to score in 285 minutes of top-flight football, and their lack of clinical edge has become the butt of so many jokes that Domino’s parked a van outside Craven Cottage to remind fans how many pizzas they have sold since Nicolas Jackson bagged his side’s third against Luton Town.
When Armando Broja somehow fired over the bar within two minutes in this encounter – albeit having been flagged offside – there was a sense it would be a familiar story for Mauricio Pochettino and Co.
However, shortly before the 20-minute mark, the visitors had the opener their performance deserved, as Mykhailo Mudryk controlled Levi Colwill’s delightful pass before slotting through Bernd Leno’s legs for his first club goal since his January move from Shakhtar Donetsk. Unsurprisingly, the relief on his face was evident, and he looked full of confidence from then on.
You know the one about London buses? Well, that old adage rang true on this occasion, as 80 seconds later, Chelsea were two to the good. This one was admittedly fortuitous, as Tim Ream’s clearance bounced off Broja and into the net, but neither the goalscorer nor his teammates cared too much. That one-and-a-half-minute blitz knocked the stuffing out of Fulham, who provided next to no attacking threat before the interval.
Of course, a dominant 45 minutes was never going to solve all of Chelsea’s problems, and after the break, they were clearly wary of committing too many players forward as they looked to defend the three points. Still, the Blues should have netted a third through Ian Maatsen, who replaced Mudryk at HT, but the Dutchman could only hit the post, while Enzo Fernández’s shot on the rebound was pushed behind.
As the Cottagers tried to find a way back into the match, Carlos Vinícius misjudged two headed opportunities, before Alex Iwobi wasted a similar chance. The best opening, though, fell to Saša Lukić, whose effort from close range was saved by Robert Sánchez.
That was Fulham’s final flourish as Pochettino’s outfit saw out the remainder of the game to triumph.
Following a midweek 1-0 win against Brighton & Hove Albion in the Carabao Cup, Chelsea have now prevailed in back-to-back fixtures – a mini vein of form they can look to build upon.