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Gonzalo Higuain and Jorginho both scored as Chelsea beat Fulham at Craven Cottage earlier this afternoon.

The Argentine striker opened the scoring in the 20th minute, before Cottagers‘ defender Callum Chambers leveled up the score just 8 minutes later. Jorginho put Chelsea in front again with less than 15 minutes left to go in the first half with a curled shot into the top corner. Gonzalo Higuain also had a clear chance to extend the lead before the halftime whistle.

Restored goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga denied a certain goal close to the end of the game and Maurizio Sarri enjoys the first Premier League away win in 2019.

The first game of Scott Parker in charge at Fulham ended up in defeat after the former Chelsea midfielder replaced Claudio Raneri as caretaker manager.

The Blues remain sixth on the league table, with still one game in hand (against Brighton) getting closer to Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur following their 1-1 draw in the North London Derby earlier on Saturday.

FULHAM (4-2-3-1): Rico; Odoi, Nordtveit, Ream, Bryan; Chambers, McDonald (Anguissa 62′); Babel (Ayite 71′), Cairney (Vietto 80′), Sessegnon; Mitrovic

CHELSEA (4-3-3): Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Christensen, Emerson; Kante, Jorginho (Kovacic 69′), Barkley (Loftus-Cheek 78′) Willian, Higuain, Hazard (Pedro 74′)

Scorers: Higuain 20′ Chambers 29′ Jorginho 31′
Bookings: Jorginho McDonald Chambers

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Ahead of Sunday’s game vs FulhamChelsea‘s manager Maurizio Sarri has admitted he will make some rotations in his Starting XI:  “I need to value the recovery of every player and then decide”. Sarri explained during his pre-game press conference. “We need to change three or four players”.

One of these changes can involve the goalkeeper with Kepa who will maybe re-gain his place on the pitch: “The Kepa situation is closed. Kepa is our first goalkeeper, but we are very happy for Willy that he can play in a very difficult match”. the Italian manager claimed. “Kepa will be on the pitch for one of the next two matches. I have not decided yet, I want to see the last two trainings of course, for every player. On Sunday we played 120 minutes and 95 on Wednesday. We ran for 15km on Sunday on average and Wednesday was 12km, so we have to consider it”.

Whoever will play, however, Maurizio Sarri wants from his team the same attitude of the last few matches: “In the last three matches we were consistent. Europa League, drew against City and beat Tottenham. We need to continue with the performance. The result was good”. Sarri said. “We were right against City to wait in our half, we started differently against Spurs. It depends on the situation”.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: Claudio Ranieri, Manager of Fulham gives his team instructions during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Fulham FC at Stamford Bridge on December 2, 2018 in London, United Kingdom.

Claudio Ranieri has been fired from Fulham manager following seven defeats in the Cottager’s last eight Premier League games.

Chairman Shahid Khan has named Scott Parker as caretaker manager to replace the 67-year-old.

An official statement read: Fulham Football Club Chairman Shahid Khan today named Scott Parker as Caretaker Manager, replacing Claudio Ranieri.

Khan released this statement following his conversation with Ranieri: “Following our discussion this afternoon, Claudio Ranieri agreed to my decision that a change was in the best interest of everyone. No surprise to me, Claudio was a perfect gentleman, as always. Claudio’s tenure at Fulham didn’t produce the outcome we anticipated and needed when I appointed him as Manager in November, but be assured he is not solely to blame for the position we are in today. 

“Claudio walked into a difficult situation, inheriting a side that gained only one point in its prior eight matches, and he provided an immediate boost by leading our Club to nine points in his first eight matches as Manager. Though we were unable to maintain that pace thereafter, I am grateful for his effort. Claudio leaves Fulham as our friend and he will undoubtedly experience success again soon.

“I am asking Scott Parker to serve as our Caretaker Manager. Scott’s immediate assignment is merely to help us stabilize, grow and rediscover ourselves as a football club. If Scott can answer that challenge, and our players respond to the opportunity, perhaps victories will follow in the months ahead.

“What’s most important at this moment, however, is to regroup in a smart and deliberate manner that will serve our long-term vision for sustainable success. If we’re able to do that and win some matches to make a stand late in the season, all the better.”

Claudio Ranieri added: “I am obviously disappointed with the recent results and that we could not build on the good start we made following my appointment. Finally, I would like to thank the Club, the players and the fans for the support they have given me during my time at the Club.”

Chelsea will face Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday afternoon (kick-off time 2.05).

 

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Lucas Piazon has joined Serie A side Chievo Verona on loan until the end of the season, Chelsea have confirmed via their official website.

The 25-year-old spent last season on loan with Fulham before returning to Stamford Bridge ahead of a further move.

Piazon was an unused substitute in the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg victory over Tottenham earlier last week.

Chievo Verona are currently struggling at the bottom of Serie A table having earned just 8 points from 21 games (the club also received a three points deduction).

 

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Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri believes Gary Cahill would be properly replaced by youngster Ethan Ampadu at Stamford Bridge if the defender left the club in January.

When asked if Cahill is on his way to join Fulham or another side, Sarri told reporters: “No, at the moment I want to understand the situation: if he wants to go or not.

“At the moment his mind is not completely involved in our situation, so we need to wait. For Cahill the situation is different because we have [Ethan] Ampadu, so we don’t need a replacement.”

The London Evening Standard reported earlier this week Cahill is closing in on a loan to Fulham until the end of current season.

Also midfielder Cesc Fabregas is reportedly on his way following a lucrative offer from Ligue 1 side AS Monaco.

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Chelsea got a crucial victory in the London SW6 Derby against Fulham at Stamford Bridge. Goals from Pedro and Ruben Loftus-Cheek mean the Blues got back to winning ways and restored their 3rd place, with Arsenal Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool still waiting to play their games of MatchDay 14.

An early goal from Pedro Rodriguez, who replaced Willian in Chelsea’s starting XI today, gave Blues the lead in a convincing first half. Olivier Giroud and Eden Hazard both tried to double the score earlier in the period, before Claudio Ranieri‘s men showed a renewed confidence. Defender Callum Chambers went close to scoring, brilliantly stopped from goalkeeper Kepa. After coming off the bench for Giroud, Alvaro Morata  somehow kicked a comfortable ball over the crossbar from a close range, then Ruben Loftus-Cheek (who replaced Kovacic in the 67th minute) sealed a 2-0 score exploiting an interplay from Hazard and Pedro and firing past Sergio Rico to celebrate his 50th appearance in Premier League.

The squad will travel to West Midlands as Chelsea face Wolverhampton at Molineux Stadium on Wednesday night.

CHELSEA – Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, David Luiz, Alonso (Zappacosta 78′), Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic (Loftus-Cheek 67′); Pedro, Giroud (Morata 70′), Hazard

FULHAM – Sergio Rico; Christie, Odoi, Mawson, Le Marchand; Chambers, Seri; Sessegnon (Kamara 45′), Cairney (Kebano 75′), Johansen; Mitrovic

Scorers: Pedro 4, Loftus-Cheek 82
Bookings: Azpilicueta, Morata, Odoi

 

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Olivier Giroud replaces Alvaro Morata up front and Pedro replaces Willian as Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri made two changes from the side which suffered first defeat of Premier League season earlier last week.

Former Blues’ winger Andre Schurrle is not included in the matchday squad for Fulham, replaced by Stefan Johansen.

CHELSEA (4 3 3) Kepa, Alonso, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Rudiger, Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic, Pedro, Hazard, Giroud.

Subs: Caballero, Fabregas, Loftus-Cheek, Zappacosta, Willian, Christensen, Morata.

Manager: Maurizio Sarri

FULHAM (4 2 3 1) Rico, Sessegnon, Odoi, Mawson, Le Marchand, Chambers, Christie, Seri, Johansen, Cairney, Mitrovic.

Subs: Bettinelli, Kebano, Ayite, Ream, Byram, Cisse, Kamara

Manager: Claudio Ranieri

Kick-Off: 12PM BST

Venue: Stamford Bridge

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Chelsea ace Eden Hazard has been ruled out of Blues Europa League clash against PAOK because of an ankle injury he picked up against Spurs in last saturday defeat.

The Belgian player, anyway, is expected to play against Fulham next Sunday.

Victor Moses is also out for a back issue, with manager Maurizio Sarri likely to make changes ahead of 10 matches in the month of December.

Sarri’s men need to avoid defeat at Stamford Bridge to guarantee top spot in a game they’re expected to win comfortably.

Even a defeat may still be enough as Chelsea are six points ahead of second-placed MOL Vidi so the Hungarian side would need a win to stand any chance of overtaking the Premier League side.

 

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LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24: Heung-Min Son of Tottenham Hotspur scores his team's third goal during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea FC at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on November 24, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Chelsea failed to extend their unbeaten as Spurs widely dominated the Premier League clash against the Blues at Wembley Stadium earlier this evening.

Early goals from Dele Alli and Harry Kane were enough to tangle up Maurizio Sarri’s plan, as well as Heung-min Son’s stunning 3-0 put the game beyond doubt in the second half, with more than half an hour left to be played.

Ross Barkley, Pedro and Olivier Giroud came off the bench replacing Kovacic, Willian and Alvaro Morata. A late consolation goal by the French striker is not enough as Tottenham Hotspurs jumped above Chelsea into 3rd place.

After facing PAOK at home on Thursday night, the Blues will host Fulham and former club’s boss Claudio Ranieri and will try to get back to winning ways to restore their position in the Premier League table.

Chelsea (4-3-3) Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, David Luiz, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic (Barkley 57′); Willian (Giroud 75′), Morata (Pedro 57′), Hazard

Tottenham (4-2-3-1): Lloris, Aurier, Alderweireld, Foyth, Davies, Dier, Sissoko, Son (Lamela 78′), Alli (Winks 86′), Eriksen, Kane

Scorers: Alli 8′ Kane 16′ Son 54′ Giroud 85′
Bookings: Rudiger, Hazard, Jorginho

 

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Former Chelsea and Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has been appointed as new Fulham coach earlier this morning.

The Italian coach replaces outgoing Slavisa Jokanovic at Craven Cottage, with the West London side currently struggling at the bottom of Premier League table with just a win from 12 games so far.

Ranieri, 67, had been linked also with a move to several Serie A outfits before joining Fulham, as chairman Shahid Khan announced via the club’s official website.

Ranieri told Fulham’s official website: “It is an honour to accept Mr. Khan’s invitation and opportunity to lead Fulham, a fantastic club with tradition and history”,

“The objective at Fulham should never be to merely survive in the Premier League. We must at all times be a difficult opponent and should expect to succeed. This Fulham squad has exceptional talent that is contrary to its position in the table”.

“I know this team is very capable of better performances, which we will work on straight away as we prepare for Southampton at the Cottage.”

Chelsea and Maurizio Sarri will take on Fulham on December 2nd at Stamford Bridge.

 

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