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.
FULL TIME: Fulham 0-1 Chelsea
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: 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.
GOAL! Fulham 0-1 Chelsea (Mount 78)
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.
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.
HALF TIME: Fulham 0-0 Chelsea
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.
Red card: Robinson (Fulham)
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.