EPL

Chelsea 0-0 Fulham: No dream debut for Fernandez as Blues endure derby frustration

By Sports Desk February 03, 2023

There was no dream debut for Enzo Fernandez as Fulham held toothless Chelsea to a goalless west London derby draw on Friday.

Three days after joining the Blues for a staggering £106.8million (€121m) Premier League record fee on transfer deadline day, Fernandez made a tidy first appearance for his new club but was unable to celebrate with a win.

Big-spending Chelsea lacked a cutting edge, with Kai Havertz hitting the post in the first half of a stalemate at Stamford Bridge.

A point keeps Fulham above the Blues in the table and struck another blow to their neighbours' hopes of securing a top-four finish.

Chelsea were disjointed in the first half with a new-look side needing time to gel and Andreas Pereira almost put Fulham in front with a powerful right-footed drive that was tipped around the post by Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Tim Ream got a slight touch on Mason Mount's pass to prevent Havertz from converting at full stretch and the Germany international endured more frustration just before the break.

Hakim Ziyech, who saw a deadline-day move to Paris Saint-Germain fall through, picked Havertz out with a brilliant pass and his lob over Bernd Leno came back off the post.

Mykhaylo Mudryk was replaced by fellow new boy Noni Madueke at half-time after a disappointing first start, but Chelsea continued to lack fluency.

Fernandez was just off target with a long-range right-footed strike after an audacious attempted lob from Aleksandar Mitrovic had Kepa scrambling back to claim on his line.

Conor Gallagher fired wide and Ream cleared David Datro Fofana's shot off the line after he rounded a stranded Leno on a frustrating evening for Chelsea.

 

Related items

  • Former Blackburn boss Jon Dahl Tomasson named Sweden manager Former Blackburn boss Jon Dahl Tomasson named Sweden manager

    Former Blackburn boss Jon Dahl Tomasson has been appointed as the new manager of Sweden.

    The Dane succeeds Janne Andersson, who stepped down following the team’s failure to qualify for Euro 2024, and becomes Sweden’s first foreign manager.

    Tomasson has signed a contract which covers the qualifying campaign for the 2026 World Cup and will be automatically extended if Sweden advance.

    “I’m very much looking forward to starting this great assignment and meeting supporters, players and of course the media in Sweden. And to be able to think, speak and dream in blue and yellow,” the former Denmark striker said on the Swedish Football Association website.

    His first game in charge will be a friendly away to Portugal next month.

    The 47-year-old left Championship side Rovers by mutual consent at the start of February, with the club 18th in the table, five points above the relegation zone.

    Tomasson, who was appointed Blackburn manager in 2022 after a spell in charge of Swedish side Malmo, was previously assistant manager of the Danish national team between 2016 and 2020.

    The Swedish FA’s head of football Kim Kallstrom said: “Jon Dahl Tomasson’s characteristics fit the requirement profile well. It wasn’t decisive, but we appreciate his playing background.

    “We see it as a strength that he has a good understanding of what national team activities are after his years as assistant coach in Denmark. He has also played and been captain of the Danish national team.

    “Jon Dahl Tomasson’s way of wanting to play positive attacking football is something that will suit our group of players well. He also has good experience of being a leading figure, which you naturally become for the Swedish men’s national team.”

    Tomasson will bring his former assistant at Blackburn, Remy Reijnierse, with him as assistant manager.

  • Proud Lilywhites have no plans to quit as they celebrate 10th anniversary Proud Lilywhites have no plans to quit as they celebrate 10th anniversary

    Proud Lilywhites, Tottenham’s official LGBTQI+ supporters’ group, has changed lives and the law since their inception a decade ago, but have no plans to call it a day any time soon.

    Tuesday marks the organisation’s 10th anniversary and co-founder Chris Paouros acknowledged an early aim was to “put ourselves out of business” by improving equality in football and changing homophobic attitudes.

    The achievements of the group include helping a member seek asylum in the UK and contributing towards the Chelsea rent boy chant being deemed a homophobic hate crime, with this past month full of activities to celebrate their milestone.

    Recent men’s and women’s matches with Wolves and Aston Villa respectively were dedicated to Proud Lilywhites’ 10th anniversary with the club’s 62,850-seater stadium lit up in rainbow colours and again on February 15 when a celebration event was held at the ground, with first-teamers Ben Davies and Ellie Brazil in attendance.

    “Walking down the High Road (before Wolves), I can’t even begin to tell you how I felt,” Paouros told the PA news agency.

    “I come from Seven Sisters way and seeing the stadium saying celebrating 10 years of Proud Lilywhites, it almost took my breath away and I feel emotion now talking about it.

    “We just made up this thing 10 years ago and thought this is a good idea!

    “As a LGBTQI+ fan, you don’t always feel football is for you. And I always say that feeling when the ball is about to hit the back of the net and everyone rises in unison, you don’t get that anywhere else. For that reason I don’t want to deny that for anybody.”

    Proud Lilywhites’ celebration event was attended by several key allies with Spurs’ executive director Donna-Maria Cullen, Troy Townsend of Kick It Out, Women in Football’s Jo Tongue and Olympic gold-medallist Helen Richardson-Walsh all addressing the three-figure audience, while symbolically Ledley King was also present.

    Ex-Tottenham captain King has supported the group since the beginning after being in their first ever photo ahead of a Europa League clash with Dnipro on February, 27 2014.

    View this post on Instagram

    A post shared by Tottenham Hotspur (@spursofficial)


    The wheels in motion for Proud Lilywhites started weeks before that launch event at the Dnipro fixture when Paouros and five others held a meeting at White Hart Lane with then-supporters’ liaison officer Jonathan Waite to set out the group’s formation.

    In the Bill Nicholson Suite, Proud Lilywhites declared their three key principles would be community, education and campaigning and with it the pathway to changing lives and the law had been set.

    Later that year Proud Lilywhites put up their rainbow-coloured flag at White Hart Lane for the first time, which has been the catalyst for fans like group co-chair Lee Johnson to give football a second chance.

    Paouros added: “When we first put a flag up at White Hart Lane, there was a huge hoo-ha about it.

    “Now it is a permanent fixture and people are proud of it. You can say it is just a symbol to say you are inclusive, but actually that flag has brought so many people back to the game.”

    The homophobic rent boy chant – aimed at Chelsea, its players and fans – had forced Johnson away from football, but the Crown Prosecution Service in 2022 recognised it as a homophobic hate crime after Proud Lilywhites alongside Chelsea Pride co-chair Tracy Brown gathered evidence through victim impact statements to ensure the law was changed.

    Proud Lilywhites also work alongside Kick It Out to provide fan education, but a real source of pride revolves around helping a now-committee member to be granted asylum in the UK.

    “One of our members, she is a committee member now, was seeking asylum in this country for persecution for her sexual orientation,” Paouros explained.

    “And as you know if you seek asylum, you have to prove it and how on earth do you prove your sexual orientation? It is unthinkable.

    “However, in 2016 or 2017, we did a stall before the north London derby where we made rainbow rock sweets, talked about Proud Lilywhites. She helped and it was photographed.

    “So, that evidence of helping with the stall along with a letter we wrote supporting her case meant she was granted asylum and it is one case, but I am really proud of that.”

    There are countless other examples of Proud Lilywhites’ impact with the group recently singled out for praise by Angharad ‘Haz’ James upon her departure from the women’s team, while Ashleigh Neville described them as “amazing” earlier this month.

    Proud Lilywhites have twice been recognised at the Football v Homophobia awards and were the fourth LGBTQI+ football group to form in England. Now they are one of more than 50 linked to the Pride in Football network, which they helped form.

    However, the groups’ work is far from over with homophobic abuse targeted at Proud Lilywhites on social media earlier this month, which means a one-time assertion no longer rings true.

    “We’ve always said we want to put ourselves out of business and not be in a position where we’re doing this forever, but Donna (Cullen) said, ‘Do you really? Because look at all these people who love being part of this group’. There is something in that because it’s about how you bring people together to feel a sense of community,” Paouros conceded.

    “Last year we saw an increase in homophobic chanting and abuse in professional football.

    “So, we need to encourage a culture of reporting that doesn’t feel like people being grassed up.

    “While we are not safe on our phones, not safe on our streets and while football can sometimes send us signals that we don’t belong, the Proud Lilywhites remains a beckon for the positive change fans can make alongside committed clubs like Spurs to ensure football really is for everyone.”

  • Klopp’s kids and Chelsea’s Wembley blues – stats behind Carabao Cup final Klopp’s kids and Chelsea’s Wembley blues – stats behind Carabao Cup final

    Sunday’s Carabao Cup final brought Jurgen Klopp an eighth trophy as Liverpool manager as his inexperienced side saw off Chelsea 1-0 at Wembley.

    It was a sixth consecutive defeat in domestic cup finals for Chelsea and here, the PA news agency looks at the noteworthy statistical implications of the match.

    Trophy haul

    Klopp has won seven different honours with Liverpool, with Virgil van Dijk’s extra-time winner meaning the League Cup is the first trophy his side have lifted more than once.

    Victory over Tottenham in the 2019 Champions League final brought his first trophy and the following season saw Liverpool win the UEFA Super Cup, the Club World Cup and then the Premier League.

    A domestic cup double in 2021-22, both in penalty shoot-outs against Chelsea after goalless finals, allowed them to add the 2022 Community Shield.

    An eighth different prize could yet come in this season’s Europa League, a competition in which Liverpool lost the 2015-16 final to Sevilla at the end of Klopp’s debut season.

    Sunday was Liverpool’s record 10th League Cup win.

    Klopp’s kids

    Much was made of the youth of the Liverpool team that ended the game but Chelsea too are in a rebuilding phase – their finishing XI actually had a slightly younger average age than their Liverpool counterparts, 23 years and 77 days to 24 years and 172 days.

    Liverpool brought on Bobby Clark, James McConnell and Jayden Danns for, respectively, their ninth, seventh and second senior appearances, while Jarell Quansah was playing only his 20th Reds game and 36th in senior football.

    Van Dijk, though, lifted the total senior appearances of their finishing XI to 1,670, compared to Chelsea’s 1,513, with Joe Gomez joining him above 200 club appearances as Liverpool totalled 817 by that measure to Chelsea’s 371.

    The key difference is the method of acquiring those players. While Liverpool finished with five academy products on the pitch, and started another in Conor Bradley, Chelsea’s were largely acquired in Todd Boehly and co’s billion-pound spending spree.

    The Blues XI that finished the game cost a reported £466million in transfer fees, with Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo both £100m-plus signings and every outfield player bar homegrown pair Trevoh Chalobah and Levi Colwill costing £25m or more. Van Dijk accounts for just over half of the £148m cost of Liverpool’s XI.

    Final destination

    Gary Neville, on co-commentary duty for Sky, labelled Chelsea “billion-pound bottle jobs” after Van Dijk’s winner. And while the Blues won the 2021 Champions League and 2019 Europa League, they have lost six successive domestic finals since lifting the 2018 FA Cup.

    Sunday’s setback followed in a near-identical vein to Liverpool’s 2021-22 cup double, with Van Dijk staving off the prospect of another penalty shoot-out.

    Kostas Tsimikas, whose corner set up that goal, scored the winning kick in the FA Cup final two years ago while the League Cup was a nightmare for Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, who was substituted on for the shoot-out but conceded to all 11 Liverpool players – including goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher – before blazing his own penalty over the bar.

    That echoed 2019’s confusion over Maurizio Sarri’s attempt to substitute Kepa off before the start of the shoot-out. He saved from Leroy Sane but let a weak Sergio Aguero effort under him as Manchester City won 4-3.

    Youri Tielemans settled the 2021 FA Cup final in Leicester’s favour, a year after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s double earned Arsenal a 2-1 win over Chelsea. Christian Pulisic’s early opener was Chelsea’s only goal in the six finals.

    Manager Mauricio Pochettino also lost both his finals with former club Tottenham, in the 2019 Champions League – against Liverpool – and the 2015 League Cup.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.