Just as with the last time he faced Fulham, Mykhailo Mudryk lasted only 45 minutes. But what a world of difference this outstanding performance was from that unhappy, rabbit-in-the-headlights appearance back in February.
This time the winger finally scored his first goal for Chelsea, finally showed what he can deliver and finally gave a glimpse of a promising future. It has been a long time coming, as no one at Chelsea needs reminding.
But just as it felt this was the evening when it changed for Chelsea and for Mudryk, he departed injured at half-time. The last time he had been withdrawn through illness as the 22-year-old Ukrainian’s torrid start to life in the Premier League unravelled following his move for up to £88.5 million from Shakhtar Donetsk in January.
Mudryk’s goal came in his 24th appearance, with his 22nd attempt, although in fairness it has felt like it has been coming as Mauricio Pochettino has worked hard on building his fragile confidence.
Afterwards the Chelsea head coach spoke about how when a club sign a talented young player such as Mudryk he is usually the “cherry on the cake”. Unfortunately Chelsea have been a club who have not been “solid” enough and have been in search of not just the right ingredients but also even a recipe.
“It is about maturity; adaptation,” head coach Pochettino said. “We have to understand that young people need time. It has been a massive change for him.” It was surely also no coincidence, therefore, that this was the first time Mudryk had started four consecutive games.
But he did not finish it and neither did Armando Broja, who was Chelsea’s other goalscorer, and Pochettino will curse his luck that as he appeared to have struck on the right combination in attack – with Cole Palmer clever on the ball – he lost two-thirds of it to an already lengthy injury list.
Just as Mudryk showed that he might be able to justify that huge fee, so Broja demonstrated that he could also save Chelsea having to spend another small fortune to sign an additional striker in the January transfer window. The 22-year-old certainly looked a more assured prospect through the middle than the suspended Nicolas Jackson and Pochettino will be desperate to get him and Mudryk back quickly.
Encouragingly he is hopeful both will make it for Saturday’s fixture at Burnley, suggesting their substitutions were precautionary moves. “Pleased for Mudryk and for Armando,” Pochettino said of their goals. “For ‘Misha’ because he scored his first goal in the Premier League and for Armando after a long period out.
“He [Mudryk] was unlucky at half-time, he felt something in his quad [muscle], but hopefully it’s not a big issue and he will be ready for the weekend.”
The win means Chelsea are up to the giddy heights of 11th place, still in the bottom half of the table but having beaten a team starting the day above them for the first time since May 2021, which is an even more embarrassing fact.
Before the game began it had been 285 minutes without even a league goal for Chelsea. It felt much longer. It even extended to 303 minutes, before they suddenly claimed two in 82 seconds.
In fairness it was fully deserved. They had dominated Fulham and there appeared far more balance, menace and speed to their attack. Broja, on his first start since December having recovered from an anterior cruciate ligament injury, provided greater focus.
The combination felt better with Mudryk and Palmer either side of Broja and although the Albanian international was guilty of a terrible early miss he was unperturbed, as were Chelsea. They have pace to burn up front and athleticism and aggression in midfield, with Conor Gallagher playing slightly further forward, and it was Moises Caicedo who set them off.
So much money has been spent and so little return have Chelsea had so far that it is sometimes forgotten they have largely bought good players, so when Levi Colwill collected Caicedo’s pass and floated a precise cross it was met by Mudryk in his stride. Usually at this point he blazes high over the crossbar but, instead, he coolly threaded his shot through the legs of goalkeeper Bernd Leno.
Given his troubles, his lack of confidence and lack of goals it was an accomplished finish and one that clearly meant much. Thirty yards back, Caicedo and Enzo Fernandez embraced in celebration.
Maybe it even stunned Fulham because seconds later Chelsea doubled their advantage in what was a calamity from Tim Ream, the home side’s captain, culminating with his attempted interception rebounding off Broja to provide him with his first goal for 359 days.
Chelsea will believe they – and especially Mudryk and Broja, given what they have been through – deserved the break.
Fulham 0 Chelsea 2: as it happened, below
10:26 PM BST
Mauricio Pochettino on Sky
“Important for us to build our confidence and trust in ourselves. Happy for the players, we got what we deserved.”
“I am happy for both the goalscorers.
“In any team, the number of injuries we have had, the results would be affected. We have a young squad but we are finding our feet. Very talented squad, need to build confidence.”
10:24 PM BST
Silva speaks to Sky
“Clear that you cannot make mistakes like this at this level, against teams like this. Two goals in two minutes, we were punished. First goal was soft, and the way we lost the ball for the second? We should have reacted much stronger.
“Chelsea were under pressure but this was good for their confidence. Our pressure was not strong enough. Better in the second half, we had chances to score. We should have scored one and then chased at the end but Chelsea deserved it.”
10:12 PM BST
Conor Gallagher on Sky
“Decent performance, not as good as we’d like but we desperately needed the three points.
“Wins bring confidence, hopefully we can build on this.
“The boss said before the game that he wanted the midfield to rotate more, get higher, be more free on the ball. I got in good pockets and I think it worked more.
“A really proud moment to captain the club. It is my club, I have supported Chelsea my whole life. I want to keep performing.”
Dave Jones jokes that Conor seems more serious since getting the armband...
“You got to be, don’t you?!” he replies. “It is a young squad and so I have tried to be a leader and be more disciplined on and off the pitch.”
10:08 PM BST
Broja talks to Sky
“We are a whole new team, we are gelling us as team, it is always hard when new boys come in and new coaching staff. It is a massive boost for us going forward. It’s amazing. As a striker you always want to score. Unbelievable feeling to score in a derby.”
Seems like a nice lad.
09:57 PM BST
Full time: Fulham 0 Chelsea 2
Silva will be disappointed, Chelsea were there for the taking tonight but Fulham were never really at the races and Chelsea were good value for their 2-0 lead at half time.
Fulham had the better of the game’s third quarter but they ran out of ideas and they ran out of puff and Chelsea worthy winners in the end.
09:55 PM BST
90 mins: Fulham 0 Chelsea 2
Willian and Caciedo catch each other going for the ball, both of them need some treatment and that’s going to prolong an already lengthy injury time.
Not a lot happening in it to tell you about.
09:47 PM BST
88 mins: Fulham 0 Chelsea 2
Willian slides it down that channel for Castagne but the cross is straight into the arms of the Chelsea keeper.
09:45 PM BST
86 mins: Fulham 0 Chelsea 2
Chelsea keeper booked for timewasting.
09:45 PM BST
85 mins: Fulham 0 Chelsea 2
Lukic really should have potted that one away, and that would have set up a grand finish because Chelsea have looked leggy and lacking in confidence.
09:44 PM BST
81 mins: Fulham 0 Chelsea 2
Palmer comes off for Ugochukwu. He’s had a good game.
09:36 PM BST
76 mins: Fulham 0 Chelsea 2
Good save from Sanchez in the Chelsea goal! Fulham get down the left, nice wee low ball from Cairney, Lukic stabs it at the goal but straight at the keeper.
09:33 PM BST
72 mins: Fulham 0 Chelsea 2
Castagne and Owobi are combining well down the right. Cross for Vinicius but floaty and hard for him to get power on it.
09:26 PM BST
67 mins: Fulham 0 Chelsea 2
Raheem Sterling comes on and is soon booked for not playing to the whistle. Raheem says he didn’t hear it.
09:23 PM BST
63 mins: Fulham 0 Chelsea 2
Broja is coming off - limping. Oh boy, not another one?!
Good cross from Fulham and Vinicius heads over the bar.
Maatsen hits the post for Chelsea! That obviously would have been game over.
09:21 PM BST
61 mins: Fulham 0 Chelsea 2
Fulham’s Andreas Pereira is booked in the aftermath of that for running his mouth.
Var checked and Carlos V is not getting a red.
09:18 PM BST
58 mins: Fulham 0 Chelsea 2
Carlos Vinícius has karate chopped Thiago Silva on the back of the neck! Bizarre and outrageous - not least because you’d think young Carlos would have a bit more respect for his senior countryman. Gets away with a yellow.
09:15 PM BST
55 mins: Fulham 0 Chelsea 2
Fulham definitely more into it. Robinson gets down the left, Iwobi fails to do the necessary in the area after a very useful cross.
09:13 PM BST
53 mins: Fulham 0 Chelsea 2
And that’s going to be the lot for Jimenez.
He’s coming off. Wilson’s also coming off. Iwobi’s on. Vinicius is on.
09:12 PM BST
52 mins: Fulham 0 Chelsea 2
Jimenez with a good run down the right but the mighty veteran Thiago Silva is more than equal to the challenge.
09:12 PM BST
50 mins: Fulham 0 Chelsea 2
Fulham playing a little better now, moving it around and players are running for each other more. Diop has come into midfield on occasion. They look more switched on.
09:05 PM BST
46 mins: Fulham 0 Chelsea 2
Mudryk scored a goal! Yay! But now being taken off at half time. Oh noes!
Presumably that’s an injury? He was playing well and I can see no reason why you’d gie him the hook just as he was starting to play with a bit of confidence. Ian Maatsen the guy coming on, versatile left sider, he’ll go up to LW.
08:59 PM BST
08:57 PM BST
Second particularly shocking
Blink and you'll miss it as Chelsea make it 2-0! 2️⃣
What a start! 😲 pic.twitter.com/mFRDqyhlV8
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) October 2, 2023
08:52 PM BST
A few boos from the Fuggham faithful. Bad enough to lose the first goal but their lads really should have tightened up before letting in a second. Poor-little-rich-boys Chelsea, badly depleted squad and all, are having them for breakfast.
08:49 PM BST
Half time: Fulham 0 Chelsea 2
Two defensive errors by Fulham but Chelsea are the side doing all the playing and attacking and one has little or no sympathy for Fulham, who have been basically pathetic so far.
08:48 PM BST
44 mins: Fulham 0 Chelsea 2
Broja’s doing well since the goal, he gets to the byline and very nearly cuts that back.
Fulham are on the ropes here and somehow need to hang on and hope they can sort things out at half time.
08:47 PM BST
42 mins: Fulham 0 Chelsea 2
Cole Palmer tries a lob from distance but nah.
08:43 PM BST
40 mins: Fulham 0 Chelsea 2
That’s Fulham’s best chance as they whip a good ball in. Jimenez launches himself with a flying header and glances wide.
08:38 PM BST
35 mins: Fulham 0 Chelsea 2
Cucurella brings down former Chelsea wide man Willian and is booked.
08:37 PM BST
32 mins: Fulham 0 Chelsea 2
Fulham have just not turned up. Atmos is muted, players listless.
08:37 PM BST
30 mins: Fulham 0 Chelsea 2
Chelsea counter, Enzo Fernandez has a go from the edge of the box.
08:28 PM BST
25 mins: Fulham 0 Chelsea 2
Mudryk looks more confident already, a darting, aggressive run to the byline and a handy cut back. Leno does well to grab that.
08:28 PM BST
22 mins: Fulham 0 Chelsea 2
Mykhailo Mudryk has scored his first Premier League goal, then. Just the 89 million quid and 21 games to do it in but hey he’s on the board now.
08:23 PM BST
GOAL! Fulham 0 Chelsea 2 (Broja 19)
20 seconds after the restart, and Fulham have shot themselves in the other foot! This time it’s the other centre half, Ream, who tries to play it out of defence and gifts it to Chelsea. Broja gets a bit of good fortune with the break of the ball but he’s done well to tuck it away and fair play to the young man.
An absolutely ghastly minute’s football for the Fuggers!
08:21 PM BST
GOAL! Fulham 0 Chelsea 1 (Mudryk 18)
Chelsea looking decent on the break so far, and they deserve the lead. They allow Colwill lots of time down the left flank, he looks up and floats it over to Mudryk. Awful defending from Diop, who has got totally in the wrong position. Mudryk gifted the opportunity and he makes no mistake.
08:19 PM BST
17 mins: Fulham 0 Chelsea 0
Fulham have a corner, but Chelsea deal with that ok.
08:14 PM BST
11 mins: Fulham 0 Chelsea 0
Chelsea making all the running. Gallagher and Fernández really getting nicely forward, asking lots of questions. Good link up here and Fulham have to hack it clear in something close to panic.
08:12 PM BST
9 mins: Fulham 0 Chelsea 0
Mykhailo Mudryk gets on it again but fires over.
08:10 PM BST
7 mins: Fulham 0 Chelsea 0
Chelsea play through the press, Mudryk tries to go around the RB but his tough is horrible and he boots it out for a goalkick.
08:05 PM BST
4 mins: Fulham 0 Chelsea 0
Chelsea have had 45 shots in their last three PL games but no goals, so Broja’s obviously not the only one who could do with some shooting practice.
08:04 PM BST
2 mins: Fulham 0 Chelsea 0
Oh my days! A shocking miss. Fulham caught in possession, Broja bundles through, does superbly to dance around the keeper and fires miles over. Luckily for him, the offside flag has gone up.
08:02 PM BST
1 mins: Fulham 0 Chelsea 0
Fulham kick us off and look bright and busy as they come forward.
08:02 PM BST
who reffed Tottenham vs Liverpool, is the 4th official tonight.
07:58 PM BST
Marco Silva names six changes to his starting XI for the Premier League west London derby against Chelsea after Fulham’s 2-1 Carabao Cup third-round win against Norwich last week.
Bernd Leno replaced Marek Rodak in goal and both Antonee Robinson and Tim Ream rejoin the back four.
Andreas Pereira replaces last week’s goal scorer Alex Iwobi in Midfield and Raul Jimenez is preferred over Carlos Vinicius.
Mauricio Pochettino makes three changes from Chelsea’s 1-0 Carabao Cup victory over Brighton.
Thiago Silva and Conor Gallagher return to the XI and Armando Broja is picked over the suspended Nicolas Jackson.
07:57 PM BST
gave young Broja his debut, says that he is a big strong boy, very quick, scored a lot at youth levels.
Magic wand update:
Still no magic wand pic.twitter.com/5N5LG2pHJP
— Bryan’s Gunn (@bryansgunn) October 2, 2023
07:54 PM BST
Kick off coming up
in West London.
07:54 PM BST
Fulham boss Silva
“We have been brave and shown courage, quality is the other reason we have done well. We have to respect ourselves and be brave, stick with our plan.”
07:39 PM BST
Jamie Carragher: “we’ve got the best League, the best players, why haven’t we got the best officials?”
Dave Jones asks him do you need “football people” doing the Var work.
Carra and Fwank don’t look too keen on that! And fair enough: why would you train for ages to do something hard, boring and low status if you are a famous footballer?
Both of the ex pros seem to be of the view that there are hundreds of brilliant refs just waiting to be plucked from obscurity. It doesn’t seem very likely to me but what do I know?
07:36 PM BST
Keep switching off MNF and back and they're still going! Would we have been going on this long if they linesman had just given it offside in the game and we didn't have VAR??? No!!!!!!
— Melissa Chappell (@MellyChaps) October 2, 2023
07:34 PM BST
As you'd imagine
Monday Night Football on Sky is now all about the Liverpool disallowed goal.
07:33 PM BST
Chelsea starts for Marc Cucurella, Cole Palmer and Armando Broja against Fulham.
Raheem Sterling out of starting XI due to a virus. He hasn't trained for the last three days.🔵 pic.twitter.com/XWWz4ZiVjU
— Ben Jacobs (@JacobsBen) October 2, 2023
07:18 PM BST
who will play up front for Chelsea gets his chance partly because Raheem Sterling has come down with a virus that has meant he hasn’t trained for a few days.
Armando Broja is 22, and he had a few minutes as a sub for the Blues against Villa recently but it’s a big responsibility and it sounds like MP is uncertain the lad will last the distance.
07:05 PM BST
“win against Brighton very important, gives confidence.
“Option to play with Armando Broja we start to look at yesterday, maybe not 90 minutes but we hope he can deal with the competition. He needs to build his confidence and his fitness.”
07:03 PM BST
Fulham: Leno, Castagne, Diop, Ream, Robinson, Reed, Joao Palhinha, Andreas Pereira, Wilson, Jimenez, Willian. Subs: Rodak, Bassey, Cairney, Ballo-Toure, Reid, Rodrigo Muniz, Iwobi, Lukic, Vinicius.
Chelsea: Sanchez, Disasi, Thiago Silva, Colwill, Cucurella, Caicedo, Gallagher, Palmer, Fernandez, Mudryk, Broja. Subs: Sterling, Madueke, Ugochukwu, Petrovic, Maatsen, Deivid Washington, Gilchrist, Brooking, Matos.
Referee: Tim Robinson (West Sussex)
06:46 PM BST
Betting tips and offers
on thee Monday night football game.
Our experts are fancying a draw...
06:41 PM BST
“Chelsea have spent a billion quid and they are still half a team from challenging Man City. It is flabbergasting. The goalie is not good enough, the centre forward is not good enough, they need another centre half and probably another midfielder.”
Jamie reckons even if Chelsea had ZERO injuries they are still miles off.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.
06:35 PM BST
is on Monday Night Football.
“The Premier League is unforgiving,” says Frank. Be interesting to see if it forgives him (again) and he gets another go at managing a top-flight team.
06:33 PM BST
Here's Matt with the shirt lowdown
06:32 PM BST
Chelsea unveil a new shirt today
06:18 PM BST
Monday night football incoming
Good evening and welcome to our live blog of the Monday night football match between Fulham and Chelsea; the action comes to us from Craven Cottage in West London. It started tipping it down in the capital at about six and the forecast is for rain, thunder, cats, dogs and the rest. That could well be an objective correlative for the mood of the Chelsea supporters, who make the short trip to watch their lads struggling along in lowly 15th place. The home side are in 12th.
Chelsea had a poor September in the League, they were beaten at home by Forest and Villa and managed a point away at AFC Bournemouth. They were also soundly beaten by West Ham earlier in the season and another defeat to a London rival would cement this as a grim start to the new Pochettino era.
The manager has refused to blame injuries for his team’s slow start to the season, with as many as 11 players likely to be missing for tonight’s match.
There were three players aged 19 or under with no first-team experience named on the bench when the team drew at Bournemouth two weeks ago, and since then Ben Chilwell’s name has been added to an extensive injury list after he limped out of last week’s win over Brighton with a hamstring problem.
“I cannot use the excuse of injuries,” said Pochettino. “The performances have been good. We cannot blame injuries, I think it’s not fair. We played well in every single game and we deserved more, but for different reasons, we didn’t score and we were not clinical enough.
“But we cannot blame injuries. Of course it’s a factor that we need to improve. When you have your whole squad, you increase the level of the team. You put pressure on the players that play because it’s another player waiting for your place. We’re not winning the games that we deserve, but not because of injuries.”
You’d think having spent one hundred billion dollars or whatever it is over the last few years they should be able to get a team out but there it is.
Fulham manager Marco Silva insisted it is “impossible to compare” his side with Chelsea.
“You think we have an advantage against Chelsea in terms of squad?,” Silva said when asked about the neighbour’s injury woes.
“We are talking about two players who they have got in the last six months (who cost) nearly £250 million (Fernandez and Caicedo), if I say more (about Chelsea spend) it will probably be plus £1billion
“How can you compare? It’s impossible to compare. In the game we are going to give our maximum, but don’t try to say there is an advantage for us.
“We are playing at home and we love playing at home and it will be more special.”