Struggling Fulham were beaten by a rejuvenated Chelsea side in Scott Parker’s first match as interim manager.
Chelsea took the lead in the 20th minute as Gonzalo Higuain continued his good start in a Chelsea shirt with a low finish from a Cesar Azpilicueta cross.
However, the lead only lasted seven minutes after Fulham equalised from a corner through Calum Chambers.
The sides were level for all of four minutes when Jorginho placed a shot into the top corner from 20 yards out to ensure that the three points ended up on the blue side of West London.
In the last few minutes Fulham thought they may have snatched a point as Ryan Sessegnon had the ball in the net but the 18-year old had his effort ruled out for offside.
Is it time to say goodbye to Fulham?
I know I can’t speak for every football fan, but I have really missed Fulham being in the Premier League. They were a staple team of my early football education and seeing them in the Championship just felt wrong. However, it feels that we may need to get used to that as it seems very likely they will be there next year.
While the Cottagers had no doubt improved from their last showing at Southampton, they still provided a disappointing performance, despite earning an ovation from the home fans at the end of their 20th league defeat of the season. Relegation appears fairly certain for Fulham and even if they thought they had a way back in, their run-in includes home games against both Liverpool and Manchester City.
Keeper Kepa shows his class
It’s fair to say that Chelsea’s goalkeeper has been in the headlines in the past week but this time it was for all the right reasons. The Spaniard was exceptional and the principal reason that the Blues left with all three points.
Following a fine stop to deny a Mitrovic volley, Kepa set himself a high standard that he more than matched during the rest of the game. With more saves from Tom Cairney and Joe Bryan under his belt, Chelsea’s number one seemed to grow in confidence.
The Kepa/Sarri situation was used as a microcosm for the rest of the Chelsea dressing room and his non-appearance in Wednesday’s defeat of Spurs didn’t help calm matters. However the situation appears to be under wraps now and the Blues are bouncing back.
Scott Parker: Another English managerial gem?
Anyone reading this between the ages of 19 and 25 will probably feel incredibly old seeing people like Scott Parker, Frank Lampard, and Steven Gerrard go into managerial careers, but I believe this is nothing but good for English football.
There has seemingly been a death of top quality English managers in recent years, with the same old faces like Alan Pardew and Sam Allardyce being given jobs rather than promising young talent. Yet this appears to mark a changing of the guard. This new generation have experienced success and failure and understand what modern football is like. They get it. The old breed simply don’t.
While this may not be the most ideal start to Parker’s managerial career, it is a start nonetheless. I would love to see him given the job full time at Fulham, whether that’s in the Premier League or the Championship. If he is half as good a manager as he was a player then we are all in for a treat.
Gonzalo Higuain continues his good start
Higuain now has three goals in five Premier League appearances since his arrival in January. When he came there was talk that he was out of shape, having been sat on the bench at Milan for 6 months. However, he seems to have hit the ground running and has really found his feet in West London.
Chelsea have been crying out for a striker ever since Didier Drogba left, with the exception of one season of magic from Diego Costa. It seems they may have found one in Higuain. Even though he is 31, Chelsea should do everything they can to make this deal permanent at the end of the seasons and enjoy him while they can.
Having said this, they must not get complacent as they have before. Given his age, he will not be around for long, so it is also essential to plan for the future.
Man of the Match – Kepa Arrizabalaga
After the League Cup final defeat to Manchester City, Chelsea were seen as a club in crisis but in reality, it was just a case of two individuals clashing in an incredibly heated situation. Both men have since proved their point: Sarri by dropping Kepa in midweek, and Kepa by putting in a quality performance today. They have both moved on and so should we.