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Home » COLE RUNNINGS Chelsea 1 Fulham 0: Cole Palmer makes amends for Carabao Cup horror show but Malo Gusto lucky not to see red

COLE RUNNINGS Chelsea 1 Fulham 0: Cole Palmer makes amends for Carabao Cup horror show but Malo Gusto lucky not to see red

Chelsea 1 : 0 Fulham

Chelsea bounced back from their League Cup let-down with a narrow win over their West London neighbours.

Yet again young Cole Palmer made the difference for the Blues, converting a penalty in first-half stoppage time after his fine pass to Raheem Sterling had tempted Fulham’s Issa Diop into a rash challenge.

Cole Palmer netted his 11th goal of the season

Fulham pushed hard for an equaliser but there was no way through the Blues backline

Palmer has converted all five of his spot-kicks this seasonThe Cottagers could have no complaints about the spot-kick or the defeat after a flat display following their own Carabao Cup defeat at Liverpool.

But boss Marco Silva was annoyed that VAR did not intervene to upgrade Malo Gusto’s yellow card to a red after his nasty foul on Willian a few minutes before the goal.

Chelsea’s loss at Championship side Middlesbrough was threatening to send the club into another mini-crisis. But Palmer’s moment of inspiration and ice-cold composure postponed that, for 10 days at least.

It was a game that did little to discourage the theory that this is not one of the world’s great football rivalries. Until added time at the end of the first half, there was very little to get excited about.

Chelsea enjoyed most of the possession and territory but only had a Conor Gallagher shot over the bar, and an Armando Broja header wide, to show for it. In fact, before the opening goal, a disappointing Fulham side had had the best chance.

Antonee Robinson’s cross reached Harry Wilson at the back post, but Blues goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic kept out the shot. A poor 47 minutes was about to end deservedly goalless when Palmer intervened.

His reverse pass to Raheem Sterling was the highest quality bit of play so far. Issa Diop’s challenge was not. Down went Sterling and up stepped Palmer to stroke home the penalty with the calmness that is already becoming his trademark.

Sterling hit the post with a header from an Enzo Fernandez cross soon after the break but he would probably have been ruled offside anyway. Malo Gusto sent in two fine crosses that Broja and then Sterling failed to make the most of, as Chelsea pushed for a second.

Fulham boss Marco Silva made changes but the game kept on a similar course. Levi Colwill sent a right-footed shot over the bar with the aplomb you would expect of a left-footed defender.

The visitors finally threatened again when Andreas Pereira’s cross found Raul Jimenez, but Petrovic got down well to stop the Mexican’s shot. Ben Chilwell’s return from injury brought one of the biggest cheers of the afternoon from the home crowd.

Gallagher hit the post, former Chelsea man Willian fired a free kick just over the bar, Fulham ‘keeper Bernd Leno denied Blues substitute Noni Madueke and two late free kicks for the visitors were scrambled away.

It was a flurry of excitement in a mostly drab game.But Chelsea,  and boss Mauricio Pochettino, will not care one bit.