A dour draw saw Chelsea drop two more points at home against Fulham; a combination of little or no creativity and some competent defending saw last season’s FA Cup winners fail to score in their fourth Premiership game in a row. To add insult to injury, Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba was sent off in the second half and will thus miss next week’s game, while captain John Terry suffered a fractured cheekbone after he came off worse in a challenge with Clint Dempsey and will thus miss England’s next two Euro 2008 qualifiers.
Drogba had only just made a shock return after being out with an injury for the best part of this month; after he kicked Chris Baird full in the face he will miss another game. Chelsea fans were not happy with the result, chanting previous manager Jose Mourinho’s name during the match as well as booing the team off at the intervals. Some fans even left in disgust during half time, and this is not a very pleasant time to be at the club.
Before the match dynamic midfielder Michael Essien was ruled out with an injury, while Florent Malouda was left out of the starting lineup by Avram Grant. They could have definitely used his creativity as the three-pronged strike force of Shevchenko, Kalou and Drogba failed to bring about any rewards against a robust Fulham defense. Fulham could have even won the game had a penalty been given when Israeli defender Tal Ben Haim headed against his own hand; Grant will be thankful for small mercies.
Chelsea started off the game well, with Kalou’s shot being pushed onto the post early on from Joe Cole’s low cross. After that though it was a game that would have put many to sleep- with Fulham’s defense easily managing everything thrown at them. Although Chelsea stepped up a notch in the second half; Keller first saving a strong drive from Drogba before Kalou headed just over from Ashley Cole’s cross. Fulham had a couple of good chances in the end to sneak a win- Cech saving Konchesky’s shot with his legs while Kamara missed a gilt-edged chance in the dying moments.
A poor performance by Shevchenko & co, who are already seven points off top place with a game more played- they really have to pick up performances this year.