Chelsea 2-0 Fulham: 3 reasons why Chelsea won the west London derby
Chelsea got back to winning ways in the Premier League with a 2-0 win over rivals Fulham at Stamford Bridge after their disappointing defeat to Tottenham Hotspur last Saturday. However, Maurizio Sarri's men were made to sweat unlike the score-line would suggest as they just about did enough to get the job done in the end.
The Blues got off to a flying start when they opened the scoring as early as the 4th minute through Pedro, who started ahead of Willian on the day. Chelsea were accused of starting games poorly in recent weeks, but they responded handsomely by scoring their fastest goal of the season and also their first within the opening 20 minutes since the win over Arsenal back in August.
Despite enjoying an early lead, the hosts were unable to grab the game by the scruff of its neck and struggled to break down the opposition, who resorted to sitting behind the ball and making it difficult for their counterparts as the game petered out to the interval.
Claudio Ranieri's men responded brilliantly after the half-time interval and forced Chelsea on the back foot time and again, albeit struggling to find the back of the net.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who made his 50th appearance in the Premier League, came off the bench to bag his fifth goal from his last six games to snatch maximum points for Chelsea with just eight minutes of regulation time left on the clock. Without further ado, let's take a closer look at three reasons why Chelsea dismantled a resilient Fulham at Stamford Bridge:
#1 Kepa Arrizabalaga's heroics in goal
Kepa Arrizabalaga was probably Chelsea's ray of sunshine in a rather dull performance against Fulham in the derby. The Blues secured maximum points in the end, but it was hardly ever a statement to their rivals and Maurizio Sarri would know that perhaps a better opposition could have punished them.
Fulham almost did it though, they quickly worked towards making amends after conceding the opening goal and made life difficult for Chelsea, especially in the second half. However, the world's most expensive goalkeeper had other ideas and conjured a stellar showing between the sticks to deny Fulham any sniff of restoring parity.
Kepa made a host of saves, more notably from Calum Chambers, who was denied as many as three times during the entirety of the game. The defender, who was deployed in central midfield yet again, had an effort hit straight at the Chelsea shot-stopper in the first half in addition to his two efforts after the interval.
Chambers did well to get away from Marcos Alonso and get a header on target, but Kepa was equal to the task and prevented the ball from hitting the back of the net with a fine save. The Spaniard then produced another stunning save to deny Chambers after he was teed up by Tom Cairney to prevent him for the third time.
Despite having to deal with the error-strewn nature of the Chelsea back-four on a few instances this season, Kepa has been a stellar performer all throughout and is slowly but steadily living up to his hefty price-tag.