Chelsea new boy Joao Felix was sent off as Graham Potter’s Blues were beaten once again in the Premier League. The 10-men were defeated 2-1 by west London rivals Fulham as Potter’s job hangs by a thread.
Here are five things Express Sport learned from Craven Cottage.
Joao Felix a rare positive before horror tackle
It was a surprise when loan signing Felix was named as a starter just over 24 hours after his arrival from Atletico Madrid was confirmed. But the Portugal international turned out to be one of the only bright sparks for the Blues before his evening came crashing down with a red card on the hour-mark.
The 23-year-old created an excellent chance for Lewis Hall and had two Fulham players booked within the first 15 minutes. He was the energetic presence prepared to press and harry that Chelsea have missed this season.
But Felix completely ruined his debut with a horrible knee-high sliding tackle on Kenny Tete. He walked off in disgrace after being dismissed by referee David Coote.
Chelsea must be considering Potter sack
Todd Boehly has frequently made the point that his LA Dodgers coaches have been given patience and time, and are not always at risk of the sack. In the American’s view, Thomas Tuchel was an anomaly, a coach who simply had to be sacked just weeks into the Premier League season.
Boehly has used that defence to insist that Potter will be given time at Stamford Bridge. But there must come a point when the Englishman’s position is seriously considered by the club’s hierarchy.
Potter was not helped at the Cottage by debutant Felix, who was sent off just as Chelsea were growing into the game. However, this is a coach who has never experienced such upheaval at a club, let alone one as big as the Blues. The bigger picture is far more concerning than this result.
Same defensive issues
Chelsea have looked too fragile at the back under Potter. Flittering between a back three and a back four, the 48-year-old is yet to find the right formula and the result is a flimsy defence.
Thiago Silva has been one of Chelsea’s better performers this season, but whoever plays alongside the veteran Brazilian has often flattered to deceive. The Blues have been linked with several new defenders and might finally find a way to stop leaking goals.
Badiashile to get premature maiden start
January signing Benoit Badiashile could appear from the start earlier than first thought. It has been expected that the 21-year-old would be eased into the first team by Potter, by Chelsea’s woeful defence could see him feature sooner rather than later.
Chelsea paid £32m for Badiashile and he is seen as a star of the future. His talent might be needed in the present, though.
Trevoh Chalobah and Kalidou Koulibaly both struggled against Fulham, with the latter particularly poor despite his second-half goal. The summer signing has underwhelmed since his switch from Napoli and may find himself replaced by Badiashile.
Vinicius scores for first time in 10 months
To add salt to Chelsea’s wounds, former Tottenham loanee Carlos Vinicius won the game for Fulham with his first goal in 10 months. Potter just cannot seem to catch a break, and another London derby against his former club Brighton’s fierce rivals, Crystal Palace, awaits.