The Latest Fulham FC Transfer News, Stories and Updates have been added below for 2016 – 2017
Historical Transfer News and Team Gossip has been archived below:
There has been wide speculation this summer over the future of Fulham striker Clint Dempsey as the striker has been a top target for many of the leading clubs in the division. The cottagers have been doing everything they can to keep their prized asset but he now looks set to be leaving the club sometime during the closed season which will be extremely disheartening for fans of the cottagers. The club have been trying to distance themselves from the interest of the other clubs which include Liverpool as they have recently stated that they have received no offers for their player so as far as they are concerned he will remain at the club next season as the American still has two years left to run on his current contract.
A firm target for manager Martin Jol this summer is Chelsea forward Romelu Lukaku who has found limited chances with the first team ever since singing for Chelsea from Anderlect last summer for a fee believed to be around the thirteen million pound mark. Jol feels the striker would be the perfect replacement for Clint Dempsey if the striker does decide to move to Liverpool as is expected and would fit right in the squad for next year. Chelsea are thought to be wishing to offload the forward due to the manager bringing in many new players so Fulham are in with a great chance to land the player they are after.
Striker Andy Johnson has recently moved to QPR after a long running rift with manager Martin Jol and as the player was without contract the London club let the player move without any fuss. Johnson has played down the talk of a major rift between himself and Jol but it is believed the two fell out on many occasions and thus Johnson chose to look elsewhere to ply his trade.
Martin Jol is extremely happy with the capture of former Wigan striker Hugo Rodallega who he has just managed to sign on a three year contract free due to the Bosman ruling. The Colombia international says he was extremely sad to leave the Lactics but he felt his future lied in London and this has now given a massive boost to Jol ahead of the new season.
Republic of Ireland winger Damian Duff has spoken out amid rumours the player may decide to hang up his boots and call it a day as he states he does not know where these rumours are coming from. The player has confirmed to Fulham fans that he will not be quitting this summer and will continue to play football until he drops which is a great result for Martin Jol and his team as Duff has been extremely influential since arriving at Craven Cottage.
Yes, it was a big win because it was a hard game. They press and they stay compact behind. We conceded a goal early and we knew it would be hard. We got the win the hard way. I hit it well. I didn’t expect the left foot would be like this. It was a beautiful goal and a beautiful win and that’s the most important thing. [On Liverpool] It’s not like I apologised but I was really mad, maybe I should have done better. It’s beautiful to win like that. No, we didn’t know [about City]. We just have to get our results. I have said this before: I love winning. It’s always about winning I would always been happy if we win. If we lose I win be angry again; this is me. This is the Premier League. It’s always hard.
Here’s the table, with United above City, who have a game in hand, and Fulham burning up one of their games in hand on their fellow strugglers.
United are top of the league, and that’s thanks to Paul Pogba’s brilliant winner. They’ve gone 366 days without losing away and haven’t lost at all for three months. Fulham gave it plenty but suffered for a lack of attacking quality.
90+4 min: United look very nervous but hang on to win. They make a final sub, and it’s Matic for Bruno. Fulham have a long throw. Matic does his job by getting the ball clear and chasing up to support Rashford, and that’s the final action.
90+3 min: Great control by Lookman, great recovery from Wan-Bissaka to block the ball to concede a corner. And then, oh my, Bailly almost deflects a Mitrovic cross past De Gea. All they could do was watch it drift by.
90+2 min: Four minutes added on. Cavani and Rashford combine but Rashford again gives the ball back to Fulham.
90 min: Rashford and Wan-Bissaka are a tad hurried in the Fulham box when they had the option of killing the ball or taking it into the corner.
89 min: Desperation on those benches. “Don’t foul him” is the cry to Fulham’s players. Scott E doesn’t want them to waste time.
88 min: Bailly heads out as Fulham launch the ball down the channels. Eventually they get it out left but beyond the wingspan of Reed.
86 min: Bailly plays a hospital pass that asks a lot of De Gea, who is up to the task. Pogba commits a tired foul but surely not enough to get another yellow. In actual fact, the foul goes against Fulham.
85 min: Two United changes. Martial and Greenwood off, Rashford and McTominay on.
84 min: Fulham are pushing on. This time it’s Lemina having a shot blocked.
83 min: Final Fulham change: Aina off, Mitrovic on. No United change as yet.
Fulham meanwhile have a chance. Shaw’s tackle is desperate and the ball comes to Loftus-Cheek whose shot ends up somewhere in the Hammersmith area.
82 min: Yet another United corner forced by a Greenwood slalom. Cavani goes down, but is not hurt just not rushing. It’s taken and Fred launches a shot that’s blocked.
81 min: Fulham free kick, and Fulham players are queuing up. It’s wasted as Bailly lets it drift out.
79 min: Another United corner, which Bruno takes his time over. It’s played short and Fred tries to play in Maguire with a “diag”. The skipper fails to reach it.
Fulham sub: on comes Lemina for Zambo Anguissa.
77 min: United’s turn to look a little tired? Or have Fulham lifted the tempo? Bruno loses the ball then runs all the way back to collect it back from Kamara.
75 min: Oof! Fulham go close. Loftus-Cheek escapes again and his shot is saved by De Gea. RLC might perhaps have done better there. Scott E certainly thinks so.
74 min: Patient build-up from United. Are Fulham a little tired by their defensive exertions. Another United corner, Andersen heads away.
72 min: Fred wins a corner. United slowing up their act and taking their time. On this occasion, Maguire does not climb highest. Fulham get the ball away.
71 min: Fulham sub:Cavaleiro off, on comes Kamara.
69 min: Ola Aina is booked for what looks like repeated infringements. Bailly does well to stop Cavaleiro in his tracks. Another look at the Pogba goal suggests it is an absolute peach.
68 min: Cavani is baulked by Andersen; those two have had quite a battle today. Cavani has been excellent tonight. He looks so suited to English football.
66 min: That, then, is what Paul Pogba can do. And he’s doing it more often for United...it’s almost three when Cavani heads at goal and Areola has to make a full-length save. The former PSG colleagues have had quite a battle tonight.
The ball drops, Pogba kills it like a feather, whips past two players and smashes beyond Areola. What a goal!
64 min: Fernandes and Greenwood conjure a chance. Martial heads at Areola but was offside in any case. Slow momentum building. And it is pretty slow.
63 min: United are looking a little slovenly. Surely reinforcements are to come. Rashford one of them.
61 min: Fulham camping deep. Bruno is looking for the pass, while Pogba also lurks with intent but there’s numbers to get through. Loftus-Cheeks sets off on a jaunt again and it’s Cavani who robs him.
59 min: Loftus-Cheek on another of his runs, but his pass is read by neither Lookman nor Cavaleiro. He’s been an increasing danger to United.
57 min: It’s a pair of tense benches. Scott E still talking incessantly and there’s the odd squawk in a Scandi/Manc accent from United’s boss.
56 min: Bruno header, great save from Areola but also offside. Bruno again looks very unhappy. It was a fine cross from Pogba that set up that passage of play.
54 min: Bruno shoots, but his shot is blocked. His face is like thunder when Adarabioyo gets in his way. Then Greenwood’s cross is headed out by Andersen, and then Shaw’s volley goalwards is blocked by Andersen.
52 min: Suddenly, Loftus-Cheek escapes down the flank. He does so twice in fact. The first time, the ball flies across goal, with no takers. Then he plays in Lookman who shoots straight at De Gea.
51 min: Cavani working back like a Trojan. Bruno gets a ball through the gap and Martial is again casual with his shot. A pass inside might have been the better part of valour. From the resultant corner Harry Maguire climbs highest but Ola Aina does just enough to put him off.
49 min: Martial and Fred fail to break through the Fulham wall. Then Martial reads a Shaw run that never comes. Martial looks to the heavens but should be blaming himself in truth.
47 min: Pogba is slow on the uptake in sweeping up a headed clearance from Bailly. Lookman steals in and Reed whacks a shot wide. The ball fell for him and glory was seen, and soon lost.
46 min: Away we go again. As in the opening minutes of the first half, Fulham press up, clearly on Scott E’s instructions.
A big 45 minutes coming up for both teams here...Ole seems quite smiley as he comes out. Scott Parker makes his way across the field in his dapper jacket, his quiff unshaken by the wind.
Fatsani has his say: “I am not a soothsayer nor a prophet but I will easily join the bandwagon of those taking Man United as serious title contenders if they successfully negotiate the Parker’s Parked Bus and get a result tonight. They tend to struggle against such!”
Peter Kingsnorth has an observation to make and also a prediction. “Pogba looks like a walking red card, already on a booking and almost catches a Fulham player with a high boot. But with Ole needing him to break down the Fulham defence, he if subs him it may cost united the game..”
Two minutes of time added on tick on without too much incident. They go in at level pegging. Lookman’s goal was well taken, and had United rocking but once Bruno Fernandes got into the game the visitors took hold. Cavani’s goal was slotted in after a mistake from Areola. Fulham have been ragged at times while still not allowing United to get into too much of a flow.
45 min: Greenwood chases down the ball, down his lonely furrow down the right, but can’t prevent a goal kick.
43 min: Wan-Bissaka gallops to the byline and bombs a cross into the back post that has Fulham scrabbling. From the opposite flank, Martial heads over. Fulham conceding territory and chances.
42 min: Lookman wins a free kick for Fulham. It’s not very well worked and the ball eventually makes its way back to De Gea.
41 min: United haven’t been great, as has been their pattern a little bit of late. It is their quality that has carried them this far.
39 min: United’s momentum has abated a little, though they nearly stole a goal when Areola failed to notice that Bruno had sneaked up behind him.
37 min: Fulham chance...Zambo Anguissa beats a couple of men, then passes the ball through to Cavaleiro who, well, takes a very heavy touch. A real waste.
36 min: Bruno Fernandoes and Tete clash and the Fulham player looks to be in pain. He gets up, and rather quicker than would be expected.
34 min: Fernandes is fouled and United have a free-kick on the left-hand edge of the area. Few questions over who will take it. He spots the ball Ronaldo-style and hoofs it over in the style of Neil Jenkins.
32 min: Lovely spinning pass from Bruno to Shaw but the full back can’t get the ball across. Mason Greenwood has been quiet on the flank. Cavani is the centre forward and perhaps cramping his style.
31 min: Scott Parker chewing wildly and asking a question of the assistant referee. Another draw isn’t a great deal of use to his team.
29 min: The Cavani goal owed much to Areola’s fumble of a Bruno’s cross. Wan-Bissaka sorties forward and Martial heads the ball off Tete’s head. From the corner, Maguire climbs highest and misses. Fulham had gone to sleep. That counts as a miss.
27 min: Something of a lull. United are sitting a little back and looking for the long pass rather than pushing forward en masse.
25 min: United supplying Bruno the ball all the time, and he is demanding it too. Pogba is very much in a supporting role. These days, and when he’s in this mood, everyone is in a supporting role to Bruno.
24 min: Fulham now looking much more nervous than before. Bruno Fernandes has got their number at the moment.
22 min: Ole himself would have approved of that goal, a real poacher’s goal. Fernandes though is now in the mood. His crashing shot is well saved by Areola. United smell blood.
21 min: Fulham take their time over a throw-in. Shaw begins a United move and gets almost to the byline and he releases Fernandes, whose shot cracks off the post. United recycle the ball. A cross from the left rebounds to Cavani and United are level!
19 min: Martial and Shaw having a row now? United are very tetchy. Bruno and Pogba both fail in their attempts to play defence-splitting passes.
17 min: Scott Parker is very vocal on the sidelines. His Fulham team concede a soft corner which doesn’t amuse him. United try to be too clever and make a mess of it. Soon enough, they are back in defence and try to build up an attack.
15 min: More Bruno rage as Luke Shaw fails to read his pass.
14 min: Fred’s ball is skewed by an exasperated Fernandes. Cavani is making a nuisance of himself in chasing shadows. It is going to take something to unpick this lock.
12 min: All of the action in Fulham’s half but they look comfortable. Bruno Fernandes has been an absentee, suffering with a severe lack of space.
11 min: Pogba’s down. And it looks like an ankle problem before he’s resurrected. He took a rap but it looks to be an impact injury.
10 min: United penalty claim as Fred falls. Fulham break and Pogba is booked for a cynical foul. Both were correct decisions.
9 min: Loftus-Cheek, back defending, stops a Shaw cross in the left-hand corner.
8 min: This is a test for Manchester United, who really don’t like to play against a massed defence. Fulham have retreated into their shell already and will probably use Lookman as their outlet.
6 min: For Manchester United, that goal was the definition of sloppy. For Fulham, that was a well-executed springing of the offside trap.
Long ball out to Lookman who surges through. He’s onside, played there by Wan-Bissaka, and scores. Great finish. And a big shock. Scott Parker punches the air in delight!
4 min: The television coverage has allowed a decent earful of the benches and their exhortations to the players. Fulham’s crew and bringing the ruckus. United have two sniffs, first Greenwood and then Cavani.
2 min: It’s cagey but Fulham have pushed up from the start. Wan-Bissaka comes under some pressure with the ball on the edge of his box. Fulham then press hard once more, and Lookman gets space to shoot. It’s a low skidder and David de Gea is happy to claim it with his body behind the ball.
1 min: And away we go.
OK, we are go at the Cottage...Scott Parker and Ole exchange pleasantries to the sound of Insomnia by Faithless.
Richard Hirst has been in touch. “Venturing into the land of inappropriate comparisons, I feel this game is the perfect follow up to the inauguration. Quiet and moderate Biden/Fulham about to repudiate narcissistic and self-entitled Trump United. It will be good to feel that we are playing our part in knocking them off their ....... perch. Not that I think we will, anymore than the red half of the USA will accept Biden, but in both cases one can dream.”
Richard may not be a Manchester United fan.
Here’s where Ole Gunnar Solskjær earns his corn by urging his men to great things on what looks a stinking night. The rather antsy buildup music that visitors to Craven Cottage are used to hearing is blaring out to the empty stands. So, here come the teams.
Manchester City have won 2-0 against Aston Villa, though had to work hard. They are top of the league and thus United must win to leapfrog City and Leicester City.
For Fulham, Bobby Decordova-Reid makes way for Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Joe Bryan steps in for Antonee Robinson.
For Manchester United, Eric Bailly replaces Lindelöf at the heart of the defence. Edinson Cavani and Mason Greenwood replace Marcus Rashford and Scott McTominay, with Paul Pogba, who played off the flank at Anfield, is playing in midfield.
Should Manchester City - currently playing Aston Villa at the Etihad - win then United will have to climb over both them and Leicester to top the table. Scott Murray has the latest from that.
Johnny Haynes. Ole’s Army makes its way down to what will be a brass monkey’s night out on the banks of the Thames. Manchester United need to win to leapfrog Leicester as Brendan’s boys have a better goal difference. They come up against a home team who have improved their performance level while won since November - against Leicester - but only lost twice, with creditable defeats to Liverpool and Manchester City bookending six straight draws. It’s still far from impossible that Scott E Parker’s Fulham pull themselves out of the mire if they find out how to win matches. United’s performances at Burnley and Liverpool were not exactly scintillating but grinding along seems as a good a policy as any this season. Last time Fulham were in the Premier League they lost 7-1 on aggregate to United, losing 3-0 at home in February 2019 to two goals from Paul Pogba - including a penalty - and one from Anthony Martial. Johnny Haynes.
On a sodden, freezing Wednesday night in west London Manchester United came from behind to claim a fiercely fought 2-1 win against an impressive, resilient Fulham team.
The result leaves United top of the Premier League table, and extends to 17 matches their unbeaten away run, equalling the all-time club record. Best of all it arrived thanks to a moment of the highest quality from Paul Pogba, who was a quietly majestic presence in midfield.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær takes a leaf out of Fergie’s book, Mason Mount channels vintage Lampard and Wolves’ woes go on
There has been recent evidence that Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s adherence to the lessons learned at Sir Alex Ferguson’s feet was wavering. His Manchester United have lately shown something of their own identity, but here Solskjær used a classic Fergie blueprint. Even when United were far superior to Liverpool, Anfield was where the old master’s team would sit deep and try to score on the counter, or from set pieces. It is not difficult to imagine unsung players like Scott McTominay and Fred being handed a Ferguson detail of sweeping up the bits and pieces in midfield in the mould of a Phil Neville or Quinton Fortune. There was to be no unlikely goalscoring hero in the mould of a John O’Shea, Diego Forlan or Gary Pallister. Instead, Sunday will be recalled in future for Anfield’s emptiness, a match endured rather than enjoyed. And Ferguson, even during his imperial period, would probably have been happy with a point. John Brewin
Scott Parker talks. “We started compact, but they got a foothold in it. The last ten minutes before the sending off we had a massive chance. That had to go in. We had a little threat on the break in the second half. But I’ve got nothing but admiration for my players, who went up against a team like Chelsea. Robinson was causing them a few problems. I’ve not seen the sending off back, but in real time I didn’t think it was. But I wouldn’t want to comment, I’m not sure. I want my players to be aggressive and committed, but if it was reckless, there’s a balance, and he’s a young lad and he’ll learn. There are fine margins, and sometimes you cross that line. We could have given them a game with 11. Disappointed? Yes, but we’ll dust ourselves down and prepare ourselves for Man U.”
Frank Lampard’s verdict. “It feels good. It’s not easy with our league form recently, so you have to break it. And Fulham were in good form. I felt we started well but against ten men it’s not easy. We got what we deserved tonight. Mason was outstanding and he deserves the accolades. I did have the feeling that we could get the goal. Mason needs to score more goals, he knows that, but his quality is brilliant. Werner has to keep working, it’s the only way out of it. Go again, go again. And it’ll go in for him, because he’s quality. We’re in a transition, but we need to get points because we’re Chelsea, and we go again on Tuesday.”
Post-match pow-wows with both managers still to come. But in the meantime, Jacob Steinberg’s verdict has landed ... and here it is, for your entertainment and edification.
A word with the match-winner Mason Mount. “It was a massive game for us ... the run we’ve been through has been tough ... we’ve had to look at ourselves ... today was a tough, tough game ... we’ve had to dig deep and show character tonight ... the win is the main thing ... there is pressure for us to perform, looking at the quality of our changing room ... we were up against a good team that’s been playing well ... they had five at the back and that’s always difficult ... we stayed patient ... we got better and better and nicked the goal ... I should have had two! ... this gives us a lift, we’ve been a bit down, and now we look on to the next game.”
Frank Lampard looks more relieved than ecstatic. His team didn’t play well, but one moment of calm, considered quality from Callum Hudson-Odoi set off a chain of events that led to Mason Mount’s 78th-minute winner. Scott Parker has a word with the referee, clearly considering Antonee Robinson’s first-half sending off to be harsh. Fulham dug in well in the second half, but couldn’t hold out. When the pain subsides, Parker should take a lot of positives from that performance. But Fulham remain in 18th spot, four behind Burnley. Chelsea meanwhile leapfrog Southampton and West Ham into seventh place on 29 points.
It was hard work, but Chelsea break their losing away sequence with victory over their near neighbours.
90 min +4: Azpilicueta drags back Lookman. Booking, and a free kick. Fulham load the box. Chelsea deal with it ... and suddenly Werner is away, free on the counter! He tears down the inside-left channel, enters the box and ... pulls a dreadful effort across goal and wide right.
90 min +3: Fulham throw in Chelsea territory. It’s flung in. Silva heads clear. Bryan crosses from the left. Rudiger bashes clear this time.
90 min +2: Pulisic dances down the left before pulling back for Azpilicueta, who leans back and skies an effort from the edge of the box. Penny for Werner’s thoughts; how he could do with an unchallenged chance like that to build some confidence.
90 min +1: Nothing comes of it.
90 min: Mount sees a long-range effort blocked. That’ll be a corner, and it’ll be taken in the first of five added minutes.
88 min: Lookman makes a late lunge on Azpilicueta. It’s not a million miles away from the Robinson challenge, but just a yellow this time.
86 min: Chelsea try to play it out from the back, and an under-pressure Mendy is forced to slice out for a throw. Nothing comes of it, but Chelsea’s nerves have betrayed them a couple of times at the back this evening. Still a work in progress.
84 min: Hudson-Odoi finds Werner in acres with a glorious crossfield pass from the right ... but the out-of-sorts striker can’t get the ball under control and the chance to advance on the Fulham goal is gone.
83 min: Fulham replace Decordova-Reid and Aina with Kamara and Bryan. Just the two at the back now, as they strive for an equaliser.
82 min: So having said that, Lookman embarks on a fresh dribble down the middle and is hauled back unceremoniously by Silva, who goes in the book.
81 min: Fulham look visibly deflated. No wonder: the ten men had dug in bravely, and they got so close to a precious point, but all seems lost now. Plenty of time to equalise, of course, but they can’t get the ball at the minute, and suddenly they appear tired.
79 min: Fulham respond by sending on Onomah, who replaces Cavaleiro.
Hudson-Odoi sashays down the right and chips across towards Chilwell on the opposite flank. Chilwell thinks about hitting it, but hits the byline instead. His cross is clawed down by Areola, straight to the feet of Mount, who hammers an unstoppable shot into the bottom right. The 11 men break through at last!
76 min: Reed, who had taken an innocent whack on the back of the neep from Ziyech, is up and good to go again.
75 min: While the game is stopped, Chelsea make a double change: off go Ziyech and Giroud, on come Hudson-Odoi and Werner.
74 min: Ziyech has a blast from distance. Blocked. Kovavic picks up the loose ball and drives down the right and into the box, but can’t find anyone with his cutback. Fulham clear, and the game’s paused for Reed, who is down and requires treatment.
72 min: Now it’s Chelsea’s turn to get cynical, Ziyech barging into Lookman as the Fulham man careered up the left flank.
70 min: Decordova-Reid is booked for a cynical slide on Pulisic, who was in the business of launching a counter.
68 min: A ball played down the Fulham left. It should be easy for Azpilicueta to deal with, but his backpass wrong-foots the outrushing Mendy. The ball breaks to Cavaleiro, who tries to curl into the unguarded net, but Thiago blocks bravely. What an absurd event.
67 min: He’s nearly in again, Ziyech delivering a vicious low in-swinger from the right. The ball evades Abraham’s head by an inch or so, then Pulisic’s toe, and rolls out for a goal kick. How did that not get poked home?!
66 min: A ball flung in from the Chelsea left. Abraham rises and sends a weak header straight at Areola. Chances are the flag would have gone up for offside, but that’s an immediate statement of intent by Abraham.
65 min: Abraham replaces Jorginho. From the restart, Aina tries to surprise Mendy with a shot from 60 yards out. It’s always heading wide, but full marks for quick thinking and ambition.
63 min: Jorginho and Ziyech work the ball cutely down the inside-right channel. The ball’s slipped to Giroud, alone on the penalty spot, Fulham carved open. But he drags his shot wide right. He contemplates eating his shirt in shame, but the flag goes up for offside, partially saving both his blushes and his digestive tract.
61 min: Chelsea ping it around the middle now, to little effect. For all the possession and pressure, Areola hasn’t had to deal with too much last-gasp stuff.
59 min: Chelsea probe down both wings. Nothing doing. Ziyech gets fed up and has a pop from 25 yards. It’s deflected out for yet another Chelsea corner on the right. Azpilicueta meets it, but not with any great conviction. Goal kick.
57 min: Tete hassles Chilwell down the Fulham right and makes off with the ball. He’s penalised for over-eagerness and the whistle goes before he can enter the box and think about causing trouble. But that’s another sign that Fulham aren’t planning to sit back completely in the hope of holding on.
55 min: Chelsea have enjoyed 87 percent of possession since the restart.
54 min: The best form of defence might be attack, you know, and with this in mind, Aina strides forward, drifts in from the left, and looks to curl spectacularly into the top right. He finds the top right of the Hammersmith End, but if nothing else, that’s allowed the rest of the defence a breather.
53 min: The corner ticker continues to spin around at industrial pace. Azpilicueta wins this one. From it, Giroud plants a header goalwards, but with no real pace. Areola claims.
52 min: Silva bashes a close-range header goalwards, and grimaces in annoyance as it’s deflected wide. Nothing comes of the second corner, but Fulham have a job on if they’re to keep resisting this for another 38 minutes plus stoppages.
51 min: Mount busies himself down the right and fires low to the near post. Giroud tries a cute flick, but it doesn’t come off. He has to settle for another corner.
50 min: Chelsea win another corner out on the left. It’s played short. Ziyech whistles an outrageous screamer towards the top left from a tight angle. Areola is forced to turn it around the post. Nothing appears to happen at the second corner, though we’re told VAR are poring over the footage looking for an illegal shove. Nothing doing.
48 min: Chelsea dominate possession. Expect more of this as well.
46 min: Some space for Azpilicueta down the right. He cuts back for Jorginho, whose shot is blocked, and the flag goes up for offside anyway. Areola takes his time over the free kick. Expect plenty of professional clock management as the ten men of Fulham look to hold on.
Chelsea get the second half underway. They’re kicking towards the famous old cottage this time. There have been no half-time changes.
Fulham were beginning to create chances against a previously dominant Chelsea, but then Robinson had that rush of blood. Advantage Chelsea ahead of the second half, not least because the young American full-back was Fulham’s most potent attacking threat.
45 min: VAR takes a look. It doesn’t appear to be a studs-up affair, and there’s not a whole load of contact. But it is a wild lunge and he wasn’t fully in control. Not the most heinous of challenges, but not the greatest either, and there’s not enough doubt to overturn the decision.
44 min: Robinson slides in hard and fast on Azpilicueta. He catches the Chelsea man, who flips over in mid-air and screams in pain. Mount gets involved, and then so does the referee, flashing red.
43 min: Anguissa brushes Jorginho aside with contempt, spinning into space down the inside-right channel and striding towards the box. He shapes to shoot, but then loses the rhythm of his stride, and the ball clanks away. Half a chance, that.
41 min: Fulham are this close to scoring the goal of the season. Lookman sends Robinson scampering away down the left with an astonishing backheel. He reaches the box and passes towards Tete, romping down the other wing. Tete would be within his rights to shoot, but instead plays a stunning first-time pass towards Cavaleiro on the penalty spot. Cavaleiro leans back and shanks wide right. What a shame. That would have been quite the sensation.
39 min: Reed takes. It’s half cleared. Decordova-Reid chips the ball back wide right for Lookman, who attempts to recreate Marco van Basten’s famous goal in the Euro 88 final. That one’s away to Putney.
38 min: Decordova-Reid bursts down the right and earns Fulham their first corner of the game.
36 min: Chelsea nearly score their ninth goal of the season from a corner. The ball bagatelles in the six-yard box, and should really be poked home by Jorginho, but he hesitates and Areola snaffles. At present, a Chelsea opener looks merely a matter of time.
35 min: Pulisic and Chilwell combine crisply down the left and earn a corner, Chelsea’s fifth of the game.
34 min: Fulham can’t get anything going themselves. Adarabioyo, quarterbacking from deep, tries to find someone with a glory pass. Not sure who his target was, on account of the ball sailing out of play in the agricultural style with no white shirt in view. Goal kick.
32 min: Pulisic spins into space, just on the edge of the D, and pings a shot towards the bottom left. Just wide. Chelsea are applying some serious pressure now.
30 min: Anderson takes a whack upside his head, Giroud the culprit. He’s not particularly happy about it, but it looked accidental, the pair challenging for a loose ball, and the referee agrees.
29 min: Azpilicueta fizzes low into the Fulham box from the right. Areola parries it into the danger zone, but is fortunate that the ball drops to Decordova-Reid instead of the four blue shirts surrounding him on the penalty spot. Fulham play their way confidently away from danger.
28 min: Fulham are struggling to get out of their own half, Chelsea responding well to those half-chances for the hosts.
26 min: But not for long, and Chelsea force a corner down the right. Rudiger meets it, and sends an effort towards the bottom left. Areola paws it away at full stretch. What a save! Chelsea, all of a sudden, are turning the screw.
25 min: Azpilicueta crosses from the right. Pulisic can’t get his head onto it. Chilwell returns the ball into the mixer from the right. Robinson’s clearance is dismal, falling to the feet of Mount, who whacks a rising shot across Areola and off the crossbar! A stunning strike, and so unfortunate. Fulham clear.
23 min: Mount is clattered from behind by Lookman. The Fulham forward is lucky not to get booked for that one. From the resulting free kick, Ziyech advances on the Fulham box and tries to thread one into the bottom right from 25 yards. It’s easily dealt with by Areola.
21 min: Lookman overplays near his own box and ships possession. The ball is shuttled to Chilwell, bombing in down the middle. He has another whack at goal, but this one’s blocked and loops away harmlessly. This is an intriguing game, if not yet an exciting one.
19 min: Fulham are beginning to ask a few questions now. Robinson makes good down the left again and slips infield for Cavaleiro, who tries to trap and spin from the edge of the six-yard box. If he could sort his feet out, it’d be a sure-fire goal. But he can’t, and the chance clanks between his boots and away.
17 min: Robinson turns on the jets and whistles into space down the left. He reaches the box and crosses low for Lookman, whose shot is blocked. The ball breaks back to Robinson, who has a pelt himself. That’s blocked too, but what a scintillating run from the young American. All right!
15 min: Chelsea continue to dominate possession, but Fulham are holding them at arm’s length for now.
13 min: Chilwell has a speculative slash at a dropping ball from distance. He’s got a taste for the spectacular, has Chilwell, but this particular effort is only spectacularly awful. That one’s on its way back to Stamford Bridge. Still, if you don’t buy a ticket, and so on, and so forth.
12 min: The ball’s pumped long for Giroud, who can’t control. But the ball does bounce off Aina’s arm. Jorginho wants a penalty kick, but it was completely accidental; the defender was behind Giroud and Anderson, his view impaired, and couldn’t be expected to react in time. Mr VAR has a check, but isn’t interested.
10 min: Nothing comes of the corner.
9 min: Mount busies himself down the inside-right channel, the ball breaking to Giroud, who hits a first-time volley towards the bottom left. It’s deflected out for a corner.
7 min: A little space for Cavaleiro down the right. He crosses in the hope of finding Lookman, but Chelsea hack clear. Fulham come again from the resulting throw, Tete one-twoing with Cavaleiro and charging into the box from the right. He chests down, but can’t find space to smack the dropping ball goalwards. The move fizzles out.
6 min: No wonder Chelsea have the confidence to mix it up at corners: they’ve scored eight goals from corners this season, the best total in the division. Everton, Liverpool and Wolves are next on the rank with six.
4 min: Azpilicueta wins a corner off Adarabioyo down the right. Giroud takes, pulling it back for Mount, who opens his body, hoping to sidefoot powerfully into the bottom right from 12 yards. Fulham, lining up extremely deep, are totally outfoxed. But they do manage to get in a block, and clear. A clever training-ground move nearly came off.
2 min: Plenty of Chelsea possession in the early stages. Pulisic nearly releases Chilwell on the overlap down the left, but Aina is over quickly to cover.
The knee is taken - there’s no room for racism - and then Fulham get the game underway. The hosts will be kicking towards the famous pavilion in the first half; Chelsea are playing towards the Hammersmith End.
Before the game starts, a moment of quiet reflection in memory of Tosh Chamberlain, who passed away last Sunday. Chamberlain was part of the famous Fulham team of the late 1950s, playing alongside Johnny Haynes and Jimmy Hill. He scored 64 goals in 204 appearances for the Cottagers.
Here come the teams! Fulham wear their white shirts and black shorts; blue is the colour for Chelsea. It’s a cold night by the River Thames. It won’t be long now.
Scott Parker talks to Sky Sports ... “Momentum is with us ... we’ve put in some good performances ... games come thick and fast and it’s exactly how you want them ... Adi Lookman has been superb since he’s been here, he can score and create goals ... he gives us a lot and we’re looking forward to seeing him.”
... and so does Frank Lampard. “Some of our results recently have been indifferent ... that’s not a direct thing on Kurt Zouma but we lean more on what Toni is doing ... he’s a personality within the group ... it just felt like a change was needed ... Tammy and Oli bring different things to the team ... Oli is a leader in the dressing room ... we haven’t scored enough goals, and Oli up front can bring that for us.”
It’s suddenly become an even more important game for Fulham. This lunchtime, West Bromwich Albion closed the gap from behind with a 3-2 win at Wolves. And now, Brighton have won 1-0 at Leeds thanks to Neal Maupay’s fine first-half goal. That’s a first win in ten for the Seagulls, who leapfrog Burnley - 1-0 losers at West Ham - into 16th spot. It all means Fulham are now now four points from safety: they’ve got 12 compared to Burnley’s 16. It’s getting interesting at the bottom.
Just the one change for Fulham from the draw at Spurs, and it’s a swap that’s out of Scott Parker’s hands. The on-loan Ruben Loftus-Cheek is ineligible against his parent club, so he’s replaced by Ademola Lookman. Aleksandar Mitrovic hasn’t recovered from injury, and isn’t even on the bench.
Chelsea make seven changes from the team that saw off Morecambe in the FA Cup, but never mind that. More significantly, it’s just three changes to the team named for their last Premier League match against Manchester City. Olivier Giroud, Antonio Rudiger and Jorginho take the places of Kurt Zouma, N’Golo Kante and Timo Werner.
It’s the west London derby ... or one of them, at least. As with any other local rivalry, football’s most unappealing prize - bragging rights - are up for grabs. Three precious points are on offer too, manna from heaven for a couple of teams not quite firing on all cylinders right now.
Fulham are slowly attempting to extricate themselves from the mire. They’ve drawn their last five matches, a run that’s better than it sounds, given it features hard-won points against Liverpool, Tottenham and high-flying Southampton. But wins are at a premium right now - they’ve only managed two all season - and how they could do with three points that would ease their relegation worries.