Chelsea vs Fulham LIVE Football Score 3 Feb 2023
The £106.8m spent on the Argentine means it is an all-time English record transfer fee, and having played five games for Benfica post-World Cup, Fernandez will be ready to make an immediate impact in the side.
With that signing taking their spending for the season to over £600 million, the Chelsea hierarchy are certainly putting a lot of faith in Graham Potter to turn their fortunes around after a woeful season on the league front especially.
This fixture will be a rematch from the thrilling encounter at Craven Cottage three weeks ago, which saw Fulham win 2-1 as Felix was sent off on debut for Chelsea.
That result left Potter in big trouble as it meant they had gone on a run of just one win in 11 domestic matches.
A win over Crystal Palace and a goalless draw at Anfield followed to ease the pressure on the manager, but this is yet another must win match for a club in the media spotlight given their recent spending, who are inexplicably down in 10th.
Even though only three sides have conceded fewer goals, Chelsea’s problems lie mainly in attack, and not signing an elite-level, out-and-out striker, despite the astronomical figures they have paid out, could backfire.
Kai Havertz, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mason Mount, Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic are among a long list of Chelsea attacking options who have performed below expectations this season, as that quintet of players have notched just 14 goals between them in the league.
The red card to Felix was an extraordinary welcome for him to the Premier League, but the brief glimpses seen of the Portuguese international, and that of Mudryk at Anfield, suggests that the duo could make the difference for Chelsea in the second half of the season.
They very often have the edge over Fulham in this West London derby at Stamford Bridge too, as Fulham’s only wins here came in 1964 and 1979, neither of which were in the top flight.
Since beating Chelsea in the reverse fixture, Fulham have lost both league matches and been forced into an FA Cup replay by lower-league opposition.
However, it would be unfair to suggest they have played poorly, as they were very unlucky to lose at St. James’ Park as Aleksandar Mitrovic had his penalty ruled out for an unfortunate double kick, before Newcastle United netted a very late winner.
Another narrow defeat to Tottenham Hotspur saw them play slightly below their very high levels of recent weeks, but an Antonio Conte side can be difficult to break down.
Manager Marco Silva made a few changes for their cup tie versus Sunderland and produced a fantastic spectacle in which both sides could have won.
Having 22 shots on goal, 12 on target and 69% possession shows that despite failing to win the game, Fulham are still capable of dominating the play even with some fringe players in the side against an in-form Championship outfit.
If they can pull off a famous win here at Stamford Bridge, they would move into sixth before the rest of the league play.
It would also be the first time in the club’s history that they have completed a league double over Chelsea, and it would certainly have their fans dreaming of a first European adventure since 2011.
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