Chelsea suffered a third straight defeat against west London rivals Fulham 2-1 on Thursday night.
Blues manager Graham Potter went one step closer to being sacked after another dreadful result that left his side 10th in the table. Chelsea started brightly and were unlucky to concede to former Blues hero Willian’s deflected strike before half-time.
They equalised two minutes after the break courtesy of Kalidou Koulibaly, but Joax Felix’s red card on his debut left Potter’s men with a mountain to climb.
And the situation soon worsened as Carlos Vinicius headed in a winner in the 73rd minute, leaving Chelsea six points behind their local rivals.
Daily Star Sport looks at three things Potter got wrong as the Englishman edges closer towards an exit – four months after his appointment.
Potter’s bold decision to switch to a back-three at Craven Cottage saw Trevor Chalobah tuck in at right centre-back. But the defender fared no better than at right-back against City at the weekend with a woeful performance in west London.
The 23-year-old was guilty of making loose passes, several poor decisions at the back and a potentially red-card deserving lunge. And that’s ignoring his deflection for Willian’s goal.
Non existent midfield:
Despite some positive signs from Chelsea’s forwards, their midfield failed to have an impact for much of the game. That was the biggest factor in the Blues failing to keep possession and using the ball effectively – resulting in constant counter-attacks from Fulham.
Instead, the trio of Denis Zakaria, Mason Mount and Mateo Kovacic were largely ineffective and bypassed repeatedly – both in an attacking and defensive sense. There were gaps in midfield as the Blues midfielders simply lacked the intensity to close down spaces.
Five at the back
Suddenly switching to a new formation is always risky. It’s even more bizarre doing so before a must-win game – no matter what the previous result was.
Potter’s five-at-the-back failed to shore up the defence as he would have liked, with a numerical advantage proving useless as Chelsea’s Chalobah and Thiago Silva lacked the positioning to mark Vinicius for the winner.
But Potter did get one thing right. It may seem odd to count a red-carded player’s performance as a positive. But one of Potter’s gambles which actually paid off was the decision to start Felix within days of his arrival on loan from Atletico Madrid.
The silky Portuguese international was a livewire from the off, seemingly not needing any time to adapt to the fast pace of English football. He created several chances for himself and others, showing a sign of things to come for the Blues – though he will first need to serve a suspension.