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5 Things Learned: Chelsea 0-0 Fulham | Premier League



(Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Chelsea shared the Premier League spoils with their neighbours Fulham after a tame 0-0 on Friday evening.

There was a genuine sense of excitement and buzz around Stamford Bridge after an impressive January recruitment window for the Pensioners, and yet that buzz soon dissipated as the new arrivals struggled to break down a resolute Cottagers’ defence.

A Kai Havertz chip that pinged back off the post on the stroke of half-time and a speculative effort from debutant Enzo Fernandez was about the sum of the Blues’ best efforts, with Bernd Leno relatively untroubled in the Fulham goalmouth.

Here are five things Absolute Chelsea learned from Friday’s draw over Fulham.

1) Lots of shiny new toys to play with, but still Chelsea remain toothless

It’s no secret that goals have been hard to come by for the Blues, with Kai Havertz effectively pigeonholed into a position that doesn’t seem quite the right fit. Other options have been at a premium given a long-term injury to Armando Broja, the tender years of David Datro Fofana, and what seems to be the complete exile of the ageing Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang. Instead Chelsea have focused their fiscal firepower in the winger department, with an embarrassment of riches and talent to call upon. But yet again, this was pretty bleak viewing for even the hardiest of a Blues fan. The invention, the patterns of play and the creativity just seem entirely non-existent. Work to be done, on the training pitch and otherwise.

2) Enzo Fernandez will fit like a glove

While the British media stir themselves into a frenzy over his transfer fee – one that even Rui Manuel Costa would be proud of – the young player of the World Cup looks like he will hit the ground running in West London. What he did was simple, yet so effortless and elegant. Terrier-like in the tackle with top tenacity, and magnificently calm under pressure. Some pundits say this signing was a luxury, but it’s patently obvious that it was in fact essential, given the Pensioners’ creaky engine room.

3) The curious case of Mykhailo Mudryk

Amidst all the obvious excitement around the return of Reece James and the debut of record signing Enzo Fernandez, Mykhailo Mudryk earned his first start and yet ended up playing barely more football than he did upon his second half introduction at Anfield. The Ukrainian was completely on the periphery of the fixture this evening, not on the same wavelength as his peers and not exactly putting in the hard yards either. One poor game for someone finding their feet in the English game is excusable, of course, but the price tag will hang heavy around his head if he gets hooked at half-time again.

4) Reinforcements from within just as welcome as those that have come from outside

The return of Reece James and Ben Chilwell from injury at the exact same time is almost fated. The two swashbuckling full-backs were the dynamic heart of this side under Thomas Tuchel, and yet they’ve been so often kept apart by spells on the sideline. With Graham Potter’s side languishing squarely in mid-table, it’ll be this dependable duo that really help Chelsea rise up the ranks if they can stay fit. Raheem Sterling made a re-appearance, too.

5) Thiago Silva was, as ever, the diamond in the rough

At this juncture saying Thiago Silva was head and shoulders above the rest of his colleagues on any given evening is hardly new information that is being learned, but you really do have to wonder his thoughts on what transpires around him. So utterly dependable and yet so utterly surrounded by teammates making rash mistakes, and it is rather telling that Chelsea’s most effective outlet seems to be the long searching ball from ‘O Monstro’. Key in defence and attack, but even Thiago Silva can’t escape the advances of time, and you do wonder how the Blues will cope when he has to call it a day. For now, fans can only celebrate that a new one-year deal seems close.