May 11, 2021

Sports Legend

Chelsea 2-0 Fulham: 5 talking points as Kai Havertz brace helps consolidate first place

Kai Havertz was the star of the show at Chelsea, running comfortable winners against their local neighbors.

The German has scored twice – one in either half – as the Blues sidelined Fulham to retain the bragging rights of West London at Stamford Bridge.

This means Thomas Tuchel’s side have consolidated their fourth place ahead of their Champions League clash with Real Madrid next week.

Fulham has occasionally caused problems for Chelsea, with Edouard Mendy having to make big saves in the first half.

Havertz’s strike early in the second 45th has anything but killed the game and leaves Scott Parker looking down as relegation draws closer.

Here are five talking points from Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea took the win on Saturday night
Chelsea took the win on Saturday night

1. Kai the main guy

We are a long way from the first Premier League season that many expected from the German, but optimism is growing.

Havertz came in with a big reputation and a hefty price tag, two things that may have counted against him initially.

But Tuchel stuck with him in a fake 9 role that seems to make the most of him and his compatriot Timo Werner.

Havertz’s brace brings his tally of goals for the second to eight – all of which have come to the capital.

It was Christian Pulisic who played like a false 9 against Madrid midweek, but the Chelsea No.29 certainly gave his manager a decision to make.

2. Tuchel’s choices

The German manager from Chelsea has arrived with a lot of pedigree and you can’t do it without being clear in your beliefs and your philosophy.

Tuchel obviously has beliefs about certain members of his Blues team because, whether by choice or a lack of credible alternatives, he is very sure he knows who deserves a start.

He persevered and continues to persevere with the shy Werner, despite other options.

Havertz, whom he has criticized publicly, is also a regular. There is no doubt that part of his mission was to make the most of Chelsea’s £ 75million signing and a two-goal performance will have been welcome.

Likewise, Tuchel seems to have decided that some Chelsea players are not for him. How his team is shaping up after the summer will be a bigger indicator as he is currently working with a legacy team.

But the future looks bleak for some West London players.

Kai Havertz landed a hug at Stamford Bridge
Kai Havertz landed a hug at Stamford Bridge

3. Another case of What if

Parker and his Fulham team may have won a lot of friends this season, but winning games is what it ultimately comes down to.

The Cottagers got off to a brilliant start again at Stamford Bridge and were in no way outclassed by their local neighbors.

How many times have we said this?

The defeat leaves them dangerously close to collapse, with Newcastle potentially opening a 12-point gap with four games to go when they host Arsenal tomorrow.

Scott Parker's Fulhams are dangerously close to falling
Scott Parker’s Fulhams are dangerously close to falling

4. Gil-plus?

Tuchel’s avoidance of Tammy Abraham has been well documented – although the attacker made a rare appearance.

But another youngster from Billy Gilmour had a rare run on Saturday night.

As with any manager entering the club, there will be winners and losers. Abraham appears to be the biggest victim to date.

The inclusion of Gilmour, however, suggests that there is still a path to the first team for the Scotsman.

Tuchel clearly seems to like N’Golo Kante and Jorginho as his midfielder base, which means competition is tough with Mateo Kovacic also an option.

But Chelsea academy graduates are finally starting to be present in the first team and Gilmour, who has shown a lot of promise, could play a role in the future with his style which would certainly suit Tuchel’s philsophie.

5. Ideal preparation

Tuchel has known for a long time that his Chelsea side were going to play three times in eight days, including a trip abroad, but they have negotiated the challenge well so far.

The Blues returned from Spain with an away goal as they looked to see Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals.

But attention quickly turned to the Premier League and Tuchel was delighted to get all three points while giving some of his key men rest.

Both Kante and Jorginho were left on the bench, but Chelsea were able to consolidate their place in the top four.

The focus now turns to Madrid at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening.