Chelsea vs Fulham (2-0): Match Review
First Half: As it happened
Craig Pawson, the match referee, whistled to mark the start of the West London derby, which resumed after a 4-year hiatus. The away side started brightly with plenty of early possession but Chelsea soon recovered after Kante stole the ball from Seri in Fulham's own half. The French midfielder set up Pedro who coolly finished to put Chelsea ahead within four minutes in the first half.
The hosts soon after started to dictate proceedings as Fulham largely played on the counter, which has usually been the case at Stamford Bridge for the visitors. After a spell of possession, Fulham tried to assert themselves by carving out a chance but Arrizabalaga easily caught Calum Chambers' shot on target at the 15th minute.
Chelsea were often left frustrated with Marcos Alonso's delivery from out wide even after being afforded a lot of space down the left-hand side. The home side continued their dominance, passing the ball around trying to find inroads through Fulham's defence.
Eden Hazard, who was surprisingly quiet until now, found space down the left-hand side and slid in Olivier Giroud, who was let down by his first touch as he failed to make the most of the opportunity.
Pawson came close to his first booking of the match against Odoi, who fouled Hazard and gave away a free kick. The Blues failed to put the set piece to good use and also failed to make the most of the corner that followed.
Fulham defender Christie was close to inflicting damage on his own team as he gave away the ball cheaply to Giroud in his own half five minutes past the half-hour mark, but Chelsea failed to capitalize on the turnover.
Cesar Azplicueta was quite conservative down the right-hand side for Chelsea this season. Three minutes from halftime, the Spaniard bombed down the right-hand side of the Fulham box and created the most clear-cut opportunity for Chelsea to add to their 1-0 lead which was saved by Sergio Rico after Giroud connected to the fullback's cross.
Fulham got the opportunity to regroup after a sustained spell of Chelsea's dominance by the halftime whistle. The hosts lead their West London neighbours by one goal as they dominated the majority of the first half.