Fulham piled the misery on Graham Potter and Chelsea as they defeated their West London rivals 2-1 at Craven Cottage.Debutant Joao Felix was sent off for the visitors before Carlos Vinicius’ header earned the hosts their fourth straight top flight win for the first time since 1966.
Both teams started brightly, with Vinicius and Felix firing off-target at either end, before Bobby Decordova-Reid rattled the bar for the hosts. Minutes later, the Cottagers took the lead as the Blues failed to deal with a cross into the box which fell to Willian, who saw his deflected shot beat Kepa.
The visitors desperately tried to get back into the game before the break, but they were twice thwarted by Bernd Leno, who firstly made a brilliant stop from Lewis Hall’s effort, which took a clip off a defender, before making a smart stop from Felix’s snapshot.
Chelsea’s fortunes were somewhat better after the break though as they equalised just two minutes into the second period through Kalidou Koulibaly, forcing home from close range after Mason Mount’s free-kick had rattled the post.
That was as good as it got for the Blues though, who had Felix sent off just before the hour mark, receiving a straight red card for a reckless and high tackle on Kenny Tete. Fifteen minutes later, Fulham retook the lead thanks to Vinicius’ towering header, meeting Andreas Pereira’s cross to nod home and earn Marco Silva’s side a thoroughly deserved three points, while Chelsea suffered their sixth defeat in eight games.
Joao Felix only arrived at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, but he was thrown straight into the starting line-up and put in a lively display, drifting across the front line and forcing Bernd Leno into a handful of saves
However, he will now miss Chelsea’s next three matches after picking up a straight red card just before the hour mark for a reckless lunge into Kenny Tete as he tried to win back possession.
The tackle left referee David Coote with no other choice, as Felix went in with his studs showing and caught the defender well above his ankle and, despite the protests of his teammates and manager, the decision was, rightly, not overturned.
There were several Fulham players who thoroughly impressed, but none were more dangerous than Andreas Pereira, who was a constant threat throughout.
The former Manchester United man caused problems all evening with his delivery into the box, both from open play and dead ball situations, delivering with plenty of whip and pace to trouble the Chelsea defence.
Indeed, it was his stunning cross that led to the winner, superbly picking out Vinicius at the back post with a deep ball that was begging to be headed home by the striker.
This is the first time Fulham have beaten Chelsea in 22 meetings since 2006, when Luis Boa Morte netted in a 1-0 win.