MX23RW : Thursday, December 6 20:05:42
Dec 2, 2018 at 12pm UK at ​Stamford Bridge
Pedro (4'), Loftus-Cheek (82')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Live Commentary: Chelsea 2-0 Fulham - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live coverage as Chelsea prevail by a 2-0 scoreline in Sunday's West London derby at Stamford Bridge.
Live Commentary: Chelsea 2-0 Fulham - as it happened
© Reuters

Chelsea have returned to winning ways in the Premier League with a 2-0 triumph over West London rivals Fulham.

Pedro put Chelsea ahead as early as the fourth minute, but Fulham proved to be a match for their more illustrious opponents for much of the game.

However, a late strike from Ruben Loftus-Cheek sealed the points for Chelsea as they kept their place in the top four of the standings.

Find out how all of the action unfolded in England's capital courtesy of Sports Mole's minute-by-minute updates below.

11.00amHello and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of the match in the Premier League between Chelsea and Fulham. The Blues suffered their first defeat in over three months last weekend, while Fulham ended their lengthy wait for a win. This West London derby is set up rather nicely!

11.02amWithout further ado, let's take a look at the two teams, starting with the home side...

11.04amCHELSEA XI: Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic; Pedro, Giroud, Hazard

CHELSEA SUBSTITUTES: Caballero, Fabregas, Loftus-Cheek, Zappacosta, Willian, Christensen, Morata

11.06amFULHAM XI: Rico; Christie, Odoi, Mawson, Le Marchand; Chambers, Seri; Cairney, Johansen, Sessegnon; Mitrovic

FULHAM SUBSTITUTES: Bettinelli, Kebano, Ayite, Ream, Bryan, Cisse, Kamara

11.08amLet's start with the home side as Maurizio Sarri opts to make a couple of alterations to his starting lineup. The most notable one sees Olivier Giroud come back into the team in place of Alvaro Morata. The Frenchman came off the bench to net against Tottenham Hotspur last weekend before following that up with a double against PAOK in the Europa League.

11.10amThe second switch in attack is a recall for Pedro, who has taken the place of Willian. That's somewhat of a surprise given the Brazilian's regular involvement this season, but maybe it is time for the playmaker to have a bit of a deserved rest.

11.12amThe rest of the starting lineup is pretty much as expected. Eden Hazard has shaken off a minor injury to take his place in the team, while Mateo Kovacic gets the nod over Ross Barkley. The back four remains the same.

11.14amThe substitutes' bench is also pretty much what you would expect it to be. The likes of Cesc Fabregas and Ruben Loftus-Cheek both offer options, but there is no place for Callum Hudson-Odoi.

11.16amAs for Fulham, Claudio Ranieri has made just the one change to the team which began the fixture with Southampton. Andre Schurrle - a former Chelsea player - does not feature in the 18-man squad, with his place being taken by Stefan Johansen.

11.18amJohansen is one of four players to be named who can feature in central midfield, but we think that it will be Tom Cairney who will be moved out to the right flank with Calum Chambers and Jean Michael Seri playing in the middle.

11.20amThe back four stays the same, despite conceding two goals against a Southampton side who are not known for their efforts in the final third. Maxime Le Marchand gets the nod over Joe Bryan at left-back.

11.22amFulham's bench appears to be on the thin side. As well as Schurrle missing out, there is also no Luciano Vietto. The Argentine has contributed four assists in the Premier League this season.

11.24amChelsea can move into third place with victory this afternoon, although whether they stay there would depend on how Tottenham Hotspur fare against Arsenal a bit later.

Fulham are bottom of the standings, and a draw would not be enough to move from that position. However, three points would lead to the Cottagers progressing up to 17th spot.

11.26amThis is the reason for Barkley's absence from today's match...

11.28amChelsea have been in top form for most of the campaign, but failure to win this afternoon would mark the first time that they have gone three consecutive league games without a victory since September 2016.

11.30amThere is also pressure on the Blues to keep a clean sheet. They have not recorded successive shutouts at home in the Premier League throughout 2018.

11.32amThere will also be reason to celebrate if Chelsea find the back of the net today. It would represent their 1,000th Premier League goal at Stamford Bridge!

11.34amHazard undoubtedly remains Chelsea's star man, but the Belgian has not scored a goal for the club since October 7! Just the one assist has come from his last five outings.

11.36amIt has been over 14 years (FOURTEEN!) since Ranieri had a permanent seat in the dugout at Chelsea, but the Italian is always warmly welcomed back. As many as 107 wins came from his 199 matches in charge, with his most notable triumph coming against Liverpool at the end of the 2002-03 campaign. It was the result which effectively brought Roman Abramovich to Stamford Bridge.

11.38amFulham are making the shortest of trips to face their rivals having claimed just one away point all season. That came at Brighton & Hove Albion, although the Cottagers did blow a lead against the Seagulls.

11.40amThey have also failed to keep a single clean sheet in the top flight all season. That won't exactly fill Ranieri with much confidence, but at least Chelsea are not in free-scoring form in the Premier League.

11.42amIt is yet to be determined why Schurrle doesn't feature for Fulham today, but the German has previously enjoyed a spell at Stamford Bridge. Between June 2013 and February 2015, the attacker netted 11 goals from 44 outings in the Premier League.

11.44amActually, we do know. It's a big blow for Fulham. Schurrle has netted five times in the league this season.

11.46amPREDICTION! Chelsea returned to winning ways with a convincing 4-0 win over 10-man PAOK on Thursday night, but it is arguably Fulham who head into this match in the better mood thanks to their win against Southampton a week ago. A trip to Stamford Bridge is not the kindest of opening away fixtures for Ranieri, however, and this could be another rude awakening for the division's bottom-placed side. Chelsea to prevail by a 3-0 scoreline.

11.48amHEAD TO HEAD! Sunday's meeting will represent the 84th competitive clash between the clubs, with Chelsea claiming 46 wins in comparison to 11 victories for Fulham.

11.50amThe two teams have not met since March 2014, but Fulham will still not feel great about the fact that they have failed to beat Chelsea in the last 17 encounters!

11.52amFulham's last success came in March 2006 when an early goal from Luis Boa Morte proved to be the difference at Craven Cottage. The game is also remembered for Jose Mourinho choosing to make two tactical substitutions during the first half-hour.

11.54amA quick reminder that at the conclusion of this game, you will be able to switch straight to our coverage of the North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, which starts at 2.05pm, GMT.

11.56amIt's time for the two sides to start making their way out at Stamford Bridge. We are starting early today but it's a full house as these two neighbours collide in England's capital.

11.58amA reminder of the two starting lineups...

CHELSEA XI: Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic; Pedro, Giroud, Hazard

FULHAM XI: Rico; Christie, Odoi, Mawson, Le Marchand; Chambers, Seri; Cairney, Johansen, Sessegnon; Mitrovic

1 minKICKOFF:  Chelsea get us underway!

1 minSHOT!  What a start. Fulham quickly win the ball and Christie bursts forward from right-back before seeing a low drive from 25 yards saved by Arrizabalaga.

3 minFulham are bang up for this and are pushing Chelsea onto the back foot. Their supporters are already encouraged.

4 minGOAL!  Chelsea 1-0 Fulham (Pedro)

4 minAnd just like that, Chelsea take the lead. Seri is put under pressure around 40 yards out and is quickly dispossessed by Kante. The Frenchman powers forward before playing in Pedro, who cuts inside before finding the far corner from six yards.

Pedro scores for Chelsea against Fulham in the Premier League on December 2, 2018© Reuters

6 minChelsea have a spring in their step now and so they should. They've already identified that Fulham are there for the taking at the back. This is a big 10 minutes for the visitors.

8 minThe Blues are finding it far too easy to put together threatening passages of play, especially down the right. Azpilicueta, Kante and Pedro are having it all their own way.

10 minIn all fairness to Fulham, they are matching Chelsea when they attempt to go forward. The home side are struggling to determine which players are operating where. Sessegnon appears to be playing in a free role.

12 minAlonso is used in an attacking sense for the first time in the match and the Spaniard wastes no time in getting the ball into the box. However, his cross is over-hit and Fulham have a goal kick.

14 minChelsea are back to being in full control of this contest, but at least Fulham have improved in defence. Still, it will only be Sarri who remains encouraged as we approach the quarter-of-an-hour mark.

16 minSHOT!  Good play again from Fulham who work a shooting opportunity for Chambers on the edge of the area. The Arsenal loanee makes good connection, but it is straight at Arrizabalaga.

18 minChelsea have reverted to keeping hold of possession and that is fine for the time being. However, they cannot afford to be too passive against a Fulham side who are still playing with confidence.

20 minSarri was critical of Jorginho after the defeat against Spurs, but the holding midfielder is playing that role to the letter in this game. It's allowing Kante to roam around, just like Sarri wants him to do.

22 minNot much to report from the last two minutes, aside from Chelsea playing with their short-passing game. They are yet to get Hazard into the game.

24 minCHANCE!  As I say that, Hazard picks out the run of Giroud and the Frenchman is in behind the Fulham defence. However, a touch away from goal gives Rico a chance to close the gap and make the block.

26 minA sharp turn from Cairney in the middle of the pitch completely deceives Kante and the Frenchman ends up committing the foul. It should be a yellow, but it's not.

28 minSome good work from Hazard leads to Odoi hauling him down around 30 yards from goal. Luiz takes on the responsibility, but the ball goes straight into the wall.

30 minAs we move through the half-hour mark, both teams will be relatively happy with their work so far. Fulham are competitive and causing problems for the Blues.

32 minThe Fulham supporters have been vocal since kickoff and it has to be said, they remain the loudest despite their team being behind. Chelsea need to find an extra gear because it's all a little one-paced at the moment.

34 minCairney is starting to have an influence on this match. He's just found Johansen with a delightful pass over the top of the Chelsea defence, but the midfielder's cross was blocked. Nothing came from the resulting corner.

36 minFulham look the sharper of the two sides now but a misplaced pass leads to danger. However, Pedro's low cross from the right flank is blocked at the near post, preventing Giroud from converting from close range.

38 minThis has been an intriguing first half, rather than an entertaining one. Chelsea are probably the most likely to add a second rather than Fulham finding an equaliser, but it's more competitive than most would have envisaged.

40 minOnce again, Chelsea are doing an effective job in possession but it is outside of the final third. Much of Fulham's struggles in defence have been their own doing.

42 minKante has probably been Chelsea's best player in attack today. He's clearly been told by his manager that he should be paying more attention to getting into the box over making important tackles.

43 minCHANCE!  Chelsea work a promising situation on the right with Azpilicueta being given the chance to run into the penalty area and the Spaniard's low pass finds Giroud, who is denied at the near post by a solid block from Rico.

45 minThere will be one minute of added-on time.

45+1 minHALF TIME:  Chelsea 1-0 Fulham

12.50pmThe half-time whistle goes at Stamford Bridge and Chelsea remain ahead thanks to that early goal from Pedro. The Blues have created the better chances, but Ranieri will be delighted with how his side have performed since going behind.

12.56pmChelsea had been second best during the opening three minutes but a mistake in the Fulham defence gifted the Blues the lead. Kante won possession and found Pedro after running into the penalty area. The Spaniard kept his composure really impressively to cut inside the defender before finding the far corner from close range.

1.01pmFulham are to make two changes at the break. Aboubakar Kamara has been introduced for Sessegnon, while Floyd Ayite is on for Johansen.

46 minKICKOFF:  Fulham get us back underway.

48 minThe visitors have started the second half on the front foot, just like they did in the first. Chelsea find it difficult to clear the ball when Mitrovic is attempting to get a shot away from the middle of the area, but the Serbian eventually commits a foul.

50 minSHOT!  Chelsea - just like in the first half - hit back by almost scoring through Pedro, who sees a right-foot curler parried away by Rico. It was comfortable for the goalkeeper.

52 minPedro looks like he has picked up a bit of a knock, but he's told the bench that he just needs time to shake it off. Chelsea are beginning to get on top.

54 minFulham come so close to an equaliser as a cross from the right is almost diverted into his own net by Rudiger. He got away with that one.

55 minSAVE!  From the resulting corner, Mawson arrows a header towards the far corner but Arrizabalaga makes a brilliant save to his right. Odoi kicked Pedro in the face when attempting to convert the rebound and is rightly booked.

57 minFulham have taken plenty of confidence from that near miss. They are starting to spray the ball about with authority and Chelsea are having to be watchful.

59 minIt may not be long before we see the first Chelsea substitution, Just like in the first half, they have lost their rhythm a little.

61 minSHOT!  Chelsea win a free kick around 35 yards out. It seems better suited for Luiz, but it's Alonso who takes it and shoots tamely at Rico. The goalkeeper didn't have to move.

63 minThe home side have got back onto the ball over the past few minutes and it has forced Fulham to take a step back. It's not total control by any means, but they are at least showing more intent.

65 minSAVE!  Chambers has posed such a threat from the edge of the area today - it's not often that you say that! On this occasion, the defender-turned-midfielder fired a first-time effort from 16 yards towards the far corner, only for Arrizabalaga to make another fine save.

67 minSUBSTITUTION! Chelsea make their first change as Loftus-Cheek is introduced for Kovacic.

69 minYELLOW CARD!  Azpilicueta goes into the book for a foul on Cairney when attempting to win the ball on the halfway line.

70 minSUBSTITUTION! Sarri quickly makes a second switch as Morata replaces Giroud.

72 minThere hasn't been a whole lot of action in either final third over the past five minutes but again, Fulham remain competitive. Chambers has been a revelation in midfield.

73 minCHANCE!  That was THE chance for Chelsea to wrap things up. Hazard's deflected effort was well saved by Rico but Morata should mop up the rebound. Instead, the Spaniard volleys well over the crossbar from no more than five yards out.

75 minSUBSTITUTION! A final change for Fulham sees Kebano come on for Cairney.

77 minFulham continue to push forward in search of what would be a deserved equaliser but they are still waiting for one big opportunity. Such is their ambition that Chelsea are making the following change...

78 minSUBSTITUTION! Zappacosta has been brought on for Alonso, and there doesn't appear to be any injury involved. Azpilicueta has moved to left-back.

80 minChelsea win another free kick which is just about in shooting range, but Hazard curls straight at Rico.

82 minGOAL!  Chelsea 2-0 Fulham (Ruben Loftus-Cheek)

82 minGame over, you would think. Pedro and Hazard are involved before the latter tees up Loftus-Cheek from around 15 yards out, and the Englishman takes full advantage with a fine finish past Rico.

84 minSHOT!  It's harsh on Fulham, but the visitors continue in their search for a goal as Seri sees a long-range attempt saved by Arrizabalaga.

86 minThe Chelsea fans are delighted with the goal from academy graduate Loftus-Cheek and are encouraging him to shoot whenever he receives the ball. It remains to be seen whether he has made an impact on his head coach.

88 minFulham are still pushing for what will probably be just a consolation goal. Ranieri will surely take more positives than negatives from this fixture.

90 minThere will be three minutes of added-on time. Chelsea want a third but they fail to make the most of a corner.

90+2 minKamara has just attempted a shot from all of 35 yards. It was well struck, but it was never going to beat Arrizabalaga.

90+3 minFULL TIME:  Chelsea 2-0 Fulham

1.53pmThe full-time whistle goes at Stamford Bridge and goals from Pedro and Loftus-Cheek have got the job done for Chelsea. Fulham played their part in a competitive local showdown, but the Cottagers remain third as Chelsea move into third place.

1.55pmThat will be all from Sports Mole for this match. Thank you for joining us this afternoon and we hope to see you again soon.

If you would like to follow the North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, you can do so by accessing the coverage from our homepage. Goodbye for now.

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Alvaro Morata and Eden Hazard celebrate during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Crystal Palace on November 4, 2018
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