Raheem Sterling's penalty record, VAR angst and a movie stunt: Just another normal day at Chelsea

Cole Palmer (R) Raheem Sterling (L) - Raheem Sterling's penalty record, VAR angst and a movie stunt: Just another normal day at Chelsea

No player in the Premier League era has won more penalties than Raheem Sterling and although he no longer takes them for Chelsea, the 26th earned over the course of his career was just as vital to the Mauricio Pochettino era.

There were just fractions in it but during time added on at the end of the first half, Sterling did enough to tempt Issa Diop into a challenge he would spend the rest of the game regretting. These are the game’s fine margins – a stab of the boot, a burst of acceleration – and it turned into one of the afternoon’s defining moments.

Raheem Sterlng (L) - Raheem Sterling's penalty record, VAR angst and a movie stunt: Just another normal day at Chelsea
Sterling (left) tricked his way into the penalty box and was brought down by Issa Diop - Getty Images/Clive Rose

In this fragile Chelsea team it was Cole Palmer who relieved Sterling of his penalty duties very publicly, against Arsenal in October – although any such tension has since been played down by the pair. This time it was Palmer’s ball to Sterling and the latter’s incursion from the right side of the penalty area that turned out to be the preamble to the game’s only goal. In this shifting Chelsea side of unreliable form, injuries and now absentees, the two England internationals past and present, represent something Pochettino can rely upon.

The Chelsea manager joked that Sterling has learned the instinct to win penalties from his new coach, although he was also not denying that it is a useful quality. This game hinged on two decisions – that penalty for Sterling and Anthony Taylor’s earlier call not to dismiss Malo Gusto for what looked like a bad challenge on Willian 10 minutes earlier. The VAR Michael Salisbury had long enough to review it while the Brazilian had treatment although a formal review was never announced on the screen.

“We work on that,” Pochettino said of Sterling’s penalty-winning powers. “It’s good for the team. Today was a good action and good performance to provide the team the penalty and then Palmer’s execution was excellent. I am so happy because he [Sterling] provides the team with good things and helped to achieve the three points today that we needed to be in a better position in the table.”

Sterling looked dangerous again in another mediocre Chelsea performance that saw them start strongly. When the second goal did not come, Chelsea were obliged to defend that slender advantage with all their lives in the final minutes.

Pochettino still has a long way to go with this Chelsea team. The club finished their afternoon in eighth place in the Premier League, and if that sounds a bit more promising they are still a long way short of Arsenal who were still four places and nine points better off at the final whistle at Stamford Bridge.

Pochettino’s team have a 10-day hiatus now until they face Middlesbrough in the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final with a deficit from the game in the north-east. What kind of Chelsea team comes back is anyone’s guess given recent performances, although this was their third successive win in the league. There will also doubtless be a temptation for the ownership to make changes if opportunities arise in the last week of the transfer window.

This win at least took the edge off some of the tension at Stamford Bridge. It was just the third narrow league win of three against opponents Chelsea would ordinarily be expected to beat but it was a win nonetheless. The Chelsea manager would say later that something had “affected a little bit the team” beforehand and then when pressed on the subject, Pochettino refused to elaborate and played down the significance of whatever it was. This cliffhanger was left unanswered.

In other developments, the commercial department at Chelsea had agreed a deal with Universal Pictures and Apple TV, distributors of a new movie, the self-styled spy action comedy production Argylle, that involved some promotion during the match. Just another normal day at Stamford Bridge.

There was an eclectic mix of the rich and famous in attendance. Frank Lampard sat alongside co-owner Todd Boehly and there were suggestions that Dua Lipa, one of the big names in Argylle, was also at Stamford Bridge. For Lampard, the great stadium of his playing career became a painful place for the second time last season as the caretaker manager of a faltering team. The ghost of Chelsea past would have been a forbidding presence had it gone wrong for Pochettino.

Frank Lampard (left) -
Frank Lampard (left) took interim charge of Chelsea last season after the sacking of Graham Potter - Reuters/Paul Childs

Marco Silva struggled to get past the red card that never was for Gusto. His team had not started well but they forced the second-choice Chelsea goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic to make good saves from Harry Wilson and then later, Raul Jimenez. The away record is Fulham’s weakness. Five of the next six games in all competitions are at Craven Cottage, and Silva said that his players do not adjust their style according to whether they are home or away.

There was natural anxiety in Stamford Bridge about what the distinguished Chelsea old boy such as Willian might do against a team lacking in confidence but Pochettino’s players held on nonetheless. For Chelsea there were two significant returns as substitutes, first for the England international Ben Chilwell, absent with injury since September 27, and then Carney Chukwuemeka. He had not played since August 20.

Chelsea were hanging on at the end. Fulham’s chief problem was that for all the pressure they never looked like an irresistible threat to Chelsea’s goal. Changing that in the January window will be difficult.

Chelsea vs Fulham: As it happened

03:07 PM GMT

TNT Sports crew's views on Palmer and Sterling

03:07 PM GMT

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino speaking to the BBC

“That is the Premier League, you watch some games and some happen like this. It was a really tough game. Overall we deserved the victory, we were the better side. We needed the three points and now I think it is four victories in a row here at Stamford Bridge.”

On response from defeat at Middlesbrough:

“The disappointment was that we didn’t win, the performance was good. We needed to compete against a really good side like Fulham. Big credit to our players because we played good.”

On Cole Palmer:

“He’s 20-years-old and in his first season of playing. He had three or four chances at Middlesbrough but we are so happy with how he is playing.”

On whether momentum is building:

“It is important. We need to keep pushing. We have a break but that will be good for our players. Too many players played too many games so a break is good.”

Does Nkunku injury change transfer plans:

“No. We are talking, assessing the squad but it is not. I think Nkunku is going to be ready as soon as possible.”

03:00 PM GMT

Young bucks

02:58 PM GMT

Fulham manager Marco Silva talking to TNT Sports

“It was a derby. There was a lot of challenges. The referee started the game as he does normally, letting the game flow, as a derby should be. Chelsea started better than us but after the first 15 minutes we started to balance the game, both sides had moments. After that we started to create some problems.

“We have to talk about the red card for Gusto, it was clear. It is hard to see how things aren’t consistent at the level that we’re at. This is the Premier league. In 10 of those moments, nine times it is a red card. it is a clear red card for me. VAR checked and this time they didn’t give.

“We tried to react in the second half. They had chances, we had chances. The game was more open and they had more space to show their quality. We showed a big, big fight until the end. Wednesday was so intense and this was another one. I have no words for my players. The support was great too. We fought until the end.

“I haven’t spoken to the officials. I don’t want to say what the fourth official said. He has the same opinion as me but it is not for him to say, it is for the VAR to decide. It is a normal decision from the referee but the help should come from the VAR.

“It is a difficult one to take and a frustrating result for us. We always want to fight and we fought again. We took more risks in the second half and became more open. The game was really balanced when they got their penalty. The VAR decision made a huge impact on the game.”

02:57 PM GMT

Raheem Sterling speaking to TNT Sports

02:47 PM GMT

Cole Palmer and Ben Chilwell speaking to TNT Sports

02:46 PM GMT

Back from injury

Today saw Ben Chilwell and Carney Chukwuemeka return from injury for Chelsea:

02:37 PM GMT

Four wins in a row at home for Chelsea

02:34 PM GMT

Win for Chelsea

Today’s three points sees Chelsea rise to eighth place in the Premier League table on 31 points, level on points with Brighton in seventh. Fulham stay in 13th on 24 points.

02:30 PM GMT


After yet more pinball inside the Chelsea box the home side clear and that is full time. Chelsea secure the three points and Fulham’s terrible record at Stamford Bridge continues. Cole Palmer’s penalty proves the difference.

02:29 PM GMT

90+6 minutes: Chelsea 1 Fulham 0

Fulham have one last chance from a free-kick inside Chelsea’s half. With the double substitution Chelsea made in added time that is why the game is still going. Willian to take...

02:28 PM GMT

90+5 minutes: Chelsea 1 Fulham 0

Fulham come close to getting a late equaliser with pinball inside the Chelsea box but Chelsea just about clear their lines.

02:26 PM GMT

90+4 minutes: Chelsea 1 Fulham 0

Chilwell fouls Decordova Reid on the right and Fulham have one last chance to whip the ball into the Chelsea box...

02:25 PM GMT

90+2 minutes: Chelsea 1 Fulham 0

Chelsea are making a double change as Palmer and Gusto come off for Chukwuemeka and Gilchrist.

02:23 PM GMT

90+1 minutes: Chelsea 1 Fulham 0

Good save from Leno. He gets down well to his left to deny Madueke.

02:23 PM GMT

90 minutes: Chelsea 1 Fulham 0

There will be five minutes of additional time at the end of this west London derby at Stamford Bridge.

02:19 PM GMT

86 minutes: Chelsea 1 Fulham 0

Against his former club, Willian takes but like Pereira’s effort a little while ago his effort does not dip in time and that is a big chance wasted by Fulham to equalise.

02:17 PM GMT

85 minutes: Chelsea 1 Fulham 0

Fulham have a free-kick right on the edge of the Chelsea box after Colwill fouled Muniz. Big, big opportunity for Fulham with just five minutes left...

02:16 PM GMT

83 minutes: Chelsea 1 Fulham 0

Gallagher hits the post. He hits it with the outside of his right boot but it strikes the outside of the far post. That would have been game, set and match but Fulham are still in this game, just the one goal behind.

02:15 PM GMT

81 minutes: Chelsea 1 Fulham 0

Jimenez sees Petrovic off his line and shoots from the halfway line but the shot does not trouble the Chelsea goalkeeper. Audacious but unsuccessful.

Fulham make a second double change as Lukic and Muniz replaced Pereira and Palhinha.

02:12 PM GMT

79 minutes: Chelsea 1 Fulham 0

Fulham counter through Jimenez, who is chopped down by Jimenez just inside the Chelsea half by Silva. The Fulham players are asking for a straight red card for Silva but there was cover so the right decision to give just a yellow. Palmer is also booked for kicking the ball away.

02:09 PM GMT

76 minutes: Chelsea 1 Fulham 0

Chance wasted by Pereira. His effort goes over Petrovic’s bar as he cannot get the ball to come down in time.

Chelsea make a second change as Chilwell is back from injury to come on for Sterling. A defensive substitution from Pochettino.

02:08 PM GMT

75 minutes: Chelsea 1 Fulham 0

Fulham are growing into the game and are putting more pressure on Chelsea. They now have a free-kick centrally around 25 yards out after Caicedo fouled Pereira. Disasi is booked for kicking the ball away in protest. Pereira to take...

02:07 PM GMT

74 minutes: Chelsea 1 Fulham 0

Jimenez has another shot on target. He is find at the back post and chests it down for himself. He tries to beat Petrovic at the near post but the Chelsea goalkeeper makes the save.

02:06 PM GMT

72 minutes: Chelsea 1 Fulham 0

Chance for Jimenez. Pereira looks like he is dithering on the left-hand side of the penalty area but he cuts it back to Jimenez. The Mexican striker takes it first time trying to find the far corner but Petrovic gets down to his right to make a good save. Fulham nearly on level terms there.

Raul Jimenez's shot is saved by Djordje Petrovic
Raul Jimenez (right) is denied by a good save from Djordje Petrovic (left) - Adrian Dennis/Getty Images

02:04 PM GMT

71 minutes: Chelsea 1 Fulham 0

Chelsea have a corner on the right after Madueke’s cross is blocked after a run down the right. Palmer takes and Fulham clear their lines.

02:01 PM GMT

69 minutes: Chelsea 1 Fulham 0

Colwill takes a shot on from just inside the Fulham box but his effort misses the target. Still only the one-goal advantage for the home side and you can sense the nerves inside Stamford Bridge.

01:59 PM GMT

66 minutes: Chelsea 1 Fulham 0

Mauricio Pochettino makes his first change of the game as Madueke replaces Broja.

01:56 PM GMT

64 minutes: Chelsea 1 Fulham 0

Marco Silva decides it is time for a double change; Wilson and Tete come off to be replaced by Castagne and Decordova-Reid.

01:52 PM GMT

59 minutes: Chelsea 1 Fulham 0

Palmer’s clever flick sends Chelsea on their way down the right. He feeds it to Gusto on the right-hand side of the Fulham box. Gusto tries to find Sterling but it is brilliantly intercepted by Tete. The ball falls to Palmer who whips in a cross towards the far post but it evades everyone and goes behind for a goal-kick.

01:50 PM GMT

58 minutes: Chelsea 1 Fulham 0

Fernandez is the next man into Anthony Taylor’s book after a scissor challenge on Cairney.

Chelsea's Enzo Fernandez challenges for the ball with Fulham's Tom Cairney
Enzo Fernandez (left) booked for a challenge on Tom Cairney (right) - Frank Augstein/AP

01:49 PM GMT

56 minutes: Chelsea 1 Fulham 0

Gusto sends the ball in and Broja’s shot is deflected behind by Tosin for a corner, which Fulham clear.

01:47 PM GMT

54 minutes: Chelsea 1 Fulham 0

Robinson stands up a cross to the far post but Jimenez cannot keep his header down and it goes well over the bar.

01:46 PM GMT

53 minutes: Chelsea 1 Fulham 0

Chelsea close to going 2-0 up. Fernandez plays a great cross in towards Sterling, who looked like he was offside anyway on the penalty spot. Sterling may or may not have got a touch on it and it ends up coming back off the post. Irrelevant of if Sterling had touched it or not, had the ball ended up in the back of the net the goal would not have stood as Sterling was in an offside position and made a play at the ball, whether he touched it or not.

Chelsea's Raheem Sterling heads towards goal
Chelsea come close to going 2-0 up but Raheem Sterling (right) was offside anyway from Enzo Fernandez's cross - Dylan Martinez/Reuters

01:43 PM GMT

50 minutes: Chelsea 1 Fulham 0

Palmer has a little space on the edge of the Fulham box and he curls one on his left towards the far corner but it misses the target.

01:41 PM GMT

49 minutes: Chelsea 1 Fulham 0

Cairney is the man to take it and whips it to the far post but Broja heads away. Chelsea then break down the left through Fernandez and he is brought down by Wilson, who is booked.

01:40 PM GMT

48 minutes: Chelsea 1 Fulham 0

Fulham have a free-kick in a dangerous area after a foul by Thiago Silva on Jimenez...

01:37 PM GMT

Second half

We are back under way at Stamford Bridge.

01:36 PM GMT

Live from Stamford Bridge

So the big question for the second half is what next from the Argylle boys? So far we’ve had salutes, reading books and brushing teeth...They’ve been more entertaining that Chelsea

01:25 PM GMT

Penalty or no penalty?

Looking at the replays of the penalty, there seemed to be very little contact from Diop on Sterling. Referee Anthony Taylor gave the penalty on-field and VAR felt it could not overturn that decision. Fulham will feel they have been hard done by twice in that first half; Malo Gusto probably should have been sent off for a studs-up challenge on Willian and that penalty looked dubious.

Issa Diop penalised for a foul on Raheem Sterling which results in a Chelsea penalty
Was Anthony Taylor right to award a penalty for a foul by Issa Diop (right) on Raheem Sterling (centre)? - Chloe Knott/Getty Images

01:22 PM GMT


That is it for the first half and Palmer’s late penalty gives Chelsea a 1-0 lead at the break at Stamford Bridge.

01:20 PM GMT

GOAL! Palmer gives Chelsea the lead

Palmer sends Leno the wrong way and gives Chelsea the lead right at the end of the first half.

01:19 PM GMT

Penalty to Chelsea!

The home side have a penalty with just seconds remaining in the first half. Sterling cuts inside Diop and goes down. This is Chelsea’s eighth penalty in the league this season. Palmer to take...

01:16 PM GMT

45 minutes: Chelsea 0 Fulham 0

There will be two minutes of added time at the end of this first half.

01:16 PM GMT

44 minutes: Chelsea 0 Fulham 0

It was a better delivery from Pereira as he finds Tosin. His header is cleared to Wilson at the edge of the box and his shot deflects behind for another corner, which is cleared by Chelsea.

01:15 PM GMT

43 minutes: Chelsea 0 Fulham 0

Another corner for Fulham as we approach the end of the first half. Will Pereira’s delivery be better this time?

01:12 PM GMT

41 minutes: Chelsea 0 Fulham 0

Fulham have their second corner of the afternoon, this time from the right which Pereira will take. But his delivery is awful as it hits the first man.

01:11 PM GMT

39 minutes: Chelsea 0 Fulham 0

No intervention from VAR and the on-field decision of a yellow card stands. Gusto can probably count himself a little lucky there. On another day that could easily have been a red card.

01:10 PM GMT

38 minutes: Chelsea 0 Fulham 0

Gusto is the first man into the book today for a foul on Willian, who is down in pain. Looking at the replays that was a nasty challenge from Gusto and it would be a big surprise if VAR is not having a long look at that one...

01:08 PM GMT

37 minutes: Chelsea 0 Fulham 0

It is taken short and Willian lifts a ball to the edge of the box to find Cairney, but his volley does not trouble Petrovic’s goal.

01:07 PM GMT

36 minutes: Chelsea 0 Fulham 0

Fulham have their first corner of the afternoon after Robinson’s attempted cross is blocked. Wilson and Willian stand over it...

01:06 PM GMT

35 minutes: Chelsea 0 Fulham 0

Chelsea have had the majority of the ball but the minute they get to the edge of the area or into the Fulham box they do not know what to do and have shown no quality in the final pass, cross or shot.

01:02 PM GMT

30 minutes: Chelsea 0 Fulham 0

Sterling tries to roll Tete on the left-hand side of the Fulham box but the Fulham right-back blocks Sterling’s shot.

12:59 PM GMT

28 minutes: Chelsea 0 Fulham 0

Fulham come so close to the opening goal. It is a similar situation to Jimenez’s goal against Arsenal a couple of weeks ago. Robinson whips a ball across the from left all the way across the box to Wilson at the far post. He fires a shot towards goal and Petrovic makes a good save on his line.

12:57 PM GMT

26 minutes: Chelsea 0 Fulham 0

Pereira takes a shot on from around 25 yards out but it lacks the pace to beat Petrovic, who gets down to his right easily to make the save.

12:56 PM GMT

25 minutes: Chelsea 0 Fulham 0

Sterling tries to beat Tete right on the byline but the Fulham defender slides in and diverts it behind for a Chelsea corner on the left. Palmer whips it in but Fulham are able to clear their lines. Stamford Bridge is very quiet.

12:52 PM GMT

21 minutes: Chelsea 0 Fulham 0

Broja comes close. Fernandez whips a cross in from the left and he finds Broja, but the Chelsea striker’s powerful header goes wide of Leno’s right-hand post. He probably should have hit the target there.

12:51 PM GMT

20 minutes: Chelsea 0 Fulham 0

Unusual scene behind the benches at Chelsea where seven blokes in green velvet jackets are all standing up and peering at their watches. It is to promote the movie Argylle, a spy comedy action thriller which - according to the publicity - stars, among others, Dua Lipa, John Cena and Samuel L Jackson. Chelsea squeezing the juice from commercial deals with bills to pay.

12:50 PM GMT

18 minutes: Chelsea 0 Fulham 0

Play is stopped as Wilson is down after a challenge from Colwill. Referee Anthony Taylor gave nothing but looking at the replays it looks like Fulham should have been given a free-kick.

Fulham's Harry Wilson reacts after sustaining an injury
Harry Wilson was down momentarily after a challenge from Levi Colwill - Paul Childs/Reuters

12:49 PM GMT

17 minutes: Chelsea 0 Fulham 0

There has been a real repetitive nature to this game so far. Sterling has had the ball on the left on numerous occasions just inside the Fulham penalty area, he then has shown no quality in that area and Fulham clear. But then Fulham give the ball away and Chelsea keep the pressure on.

12:47 PM GMT

16 minutes: Chelsea 0 Fulham 0

Gallagher comes close. He takes aim from just outside the Fulham box in a central area but he cannot keep his shot down and it goes over Leno’s bar.

12:46 PM GMT

15 minutes: Chelsea 0 Fulham 0

Former Chelsea player and manager Frank Lampard is in attendance at Stamford Bridge today:

12:45 PM GMT

13 minutes: Chelsea 0 Fulham 0

Chelsea are having all the possession here and Fulham have made very few forays forward. But Chelsea have not really carved out any clear-cut chances at goal. Fulham are giving the ball away too easily inside their own half and cannot get out because of it.

12:43 PM GMT

11 minutes: Chelsea 0 Fulham 0

Chance for Chelsea. Robinson is caught in possession right on the edge of his own box by Broja. The ball is played to Fernandez on the edge of the penalty area and his shot is blocked.

12:38 PM GMT

6 minutes: Chelsea 0 Fulham 0

Fernandez plays a delightful ball over the top to the on-rushing Sterling. Inside the Fulham box he cuts onto his right and tries to find Gallagher centrally but Robinson intercepts brilliantly just before it reached Gallagher. That was a vital interception from the Fulham left-back.

12:35 PM GMT

3 minutes: Chelsea 0 Fulham 0

Palmer whips it in but it is not a great delivery and it is easily headed away.

12:34 PM GMT

2 minutes: Chelsea 0 Fulham 0

Chelsea are awarded a free-kick on the left-hand side level with the edge of the penalty area after Anthony Taylor adjudges Tete fouled Sterling. Looking at the replays that looks a very harsh decision and the travelling Fulham fans, who were not far away, were not impressed with that decision. Palmer to take...

12:31 PM GMT


We are under way at Stamford Bridge.

12:27 PM GMT

Kick-off fast approaching

Both sides have emerged from the tunnel and we are just moments away from kick-off at Stamford Bridge.

12:25 PM GMT

Reminder of the team news

Chelsea: Petrovic; Gusto, Disasi, Thiago Silva, Colwill; Caicedo, Fernandez; Sterling, Palmer, Gallagher; Broja.

Subs: Bettinelli, Bergström, Badiashile, Mudryk, Madueke, Chukwuemeka, Chilwell, Deivid, Gilchrist.

Fulham: Leno; Tete, Adarabioyo, Diop, Robinson; Palhinha, Cairney; Wilson, Pereira, Willian; Jimenez.

Subs: Rodák, Reed, Ream, De Cordova-Reid, Muniz, Castagne, Lukic, Vinícius, Francois.

12:23 PM GMT

Chelsea preparing

12:21 PM GMT

The views of the TNT Sports crew on Chelsea

12:17 PM GMT

Fancy a bet?

Having a bet on today’s match? First take a look at these free bets and betting offers.

12:16 PM GMT

Fulham out to warm up

12:13 PM GMT

Should Chelsea sell Gallagher?

Conor Gallagher was linked with a move away from Chelsea last summer and with the January transfer window now open he is once again being linked with a switch. Here are the thoughts of the TNT Sports crew on Gallagher and his future:

12:11 PM GMT

Fulham captain Tom Cairney speaking to TNT Sports

He has just signed a new contract at Fulham and here is Tom Cairney sitting down with TNT Sports ahead of today’s West London derby at Stamford Bridge:

12:04 PM GMT

Chelsea striker Armando Broja speaking to TNT Sports

12:02 PM GMT

Fulham manager Marco Silva speaking to TNT Sports

11:58 AM GMT

Full team news

Chelsea make one change from the side who lost 1-0 to Middlesbrough in their Carabao Cup semi-final first leg. Armando Broja comes in for Noni Madueke. Ben Chilwell and Benoit Badiashile return from injury to take their place on the bench.

Chelsea: Petrovic; Gusto, Disasi, Thiago Silva, Colwill; Caicedo, Fernandez; Sterling, Palmer, Gallagher; Broja.

Subs: Bettinelli, Bergström, Badiashile, Mudryk, Madueke, Chukwuemeka, Chilwell, Deivid, Gilchrist.

Fulham make three changes to the side who lost 2-1 to Liverpool. Kenny Tete starts ahead of Timothy Castagne at right-back. Tom Cairney and Harry Wilson replace Harrison Reed and Bobby Decordova-Reid in the starting XI.

Fulham: Leno; Tete, Adarabioyo, Diop, Robinson; Palhinha, Cairney; Wilson, Pereira, Willian; Jimenez.

Subs: Rodák, Reed, Ream, De Cordova-Reid, Muniz, Castagne, Lukic, Vinícius, Francois.

11:54 AM GMT

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino speaking to TNT Sports

11:40 AM GMT

Bit of transfer news

David Datro Fofana celebrates scoring for Union Berlin
David Datro Fofana (left) spent the first half of the season on loan at Union Berlin - Annegret Hilse/Reuters

Burnley have completed the signing of Chelsea forward David Datro Fofana on a loan deal until the end of the season, subject to approval.

The 21-year-old Ivory Coast international, Burnley’s first signing of the January window, was in the stands at Turf Moor on Friday night and saw his new team-mates suffer late frustration as relegation rivals Luton scored a controversial stoppage-time equaliser in a 1-1 draw.

Fofana spent the first half of the season on loan at Bundesliga side Union Berlin, scoring two goals in 17 games, but scored 24 in 65 for Norwegian side Molde before joining Chelsea.

Burnley are looking to improve a strikeforce which has managed only 21 goals in as many games this term, second lowest in the Premier League ahead of only Sheffield United, and while Fofana has not been a prolific scorer at the highest level yet, manager Vincent Kompany believes he can offer something different for the Clarets.

“I would love to be able to only present players with proven numbers but it’s not the market we’re in at all,” Kompany said.

11:33 AM GMT

BREAKING: Team news is in

Chelsea: Petrovic, Gusto, Disasi, Thiago Silva, Colwill, Caicedo, Fernandez, Sterling, Palmer, Gallagher, Broja. 
Subs: Badiashile, Mudryk, Madueke, Bettinelli, Chukwuemeka, Chilwell, Deivid Washington, Gilchrist, Bergstrom.

Fulham: Leno, Tete, Adarabioyo, Diop, Robinson, Joao Palhinha, Cairney, Wilson, Andreas Pereira, Willian, Jimenez.
Subs: Rodak, Reed, Ream, De Cordova-Reid, Castagne, Lukic, Vinicius, Francois, Rodrigo Muniz.

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)

11:25 AM GMT

Chelsea have a Nkunku problem

Pochettino has suggested Christopher Nkunku’s latest injury could prompt Chelsea to move for a new striker this month as he urged the club to be “clinical” in their decision-making in the coming days.

Chelsea’s need for another striker is well-publicised and Nkunku’s absence, which comes after he missed the first four months of the campaign due to a serious knee injury, will put more pressure on the club to recruit another forward player in the January window.

Nkunku’s unavailability has been a major issue for Chelsea, who planned to build their attack around the France international following his £52 million summer move from RB Leipzig. He has started just one match this season, against Crystal Palace on December 27.

“I am a little bit worried about the situation of Nkunku, because it has now been 10 days in which he cannot train,” said Pochettino. “We are assessing him. We don’t know what is going to happen. We are a little bit worried.

“He suffered a small issue and then it was more complicated. Now it is between eight and 10 days that he has not trained.

“Of course because it was six months we were waiting for him and he was so close to feeling comfortable and he started against Crystal Palace. Of course we are disappointed and we want him to be involved again.”

11:20 AM GMT

Who will claim west London bragging rights?

Fulham's Willian greets the fans
Fulham's Willian spent seven years at Stamford Bridge - Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Good morning and welcome to today’s live action from the west London derby.

Mauricio Pochettino has confirmed Ben Chilwell’s return to the Chelsea squad after missing nearly four months with a hamstring injury.

The England defender last featured during the 1-0 home defeat to Aston Villa in late September but is set to be named in the matchday party alongside Benoit Badiashile, who has recovered from a muscle issue.

However, Christopher Nkunku remains on the absentee list with the manager revealing that the forward’s recovery from a hip problem has become “complicated”.

Carney Chukwuemeka, who has not played since the second weekend of the Premier League season, will be assessed ahead of the clash against Fulham, while Trevoh Chalobah is training with the first team having missing the entire campaign to date.

Victory against Marco Silva’s side today would see Chelsea at least temporarily move above eighth-placed Manchester United, while a win of sufficient margin could see them climb as high as seventh, their highest league position since November 2022.

Silva has told Fulham they will be playing for the fans in what he calls a “special” derby.

The last meeting between the two teams in October ended in a 2-0 win for Pochettino’s men at Craven Cottage, courtesy of goals from Armando Broja and Mykhailo Mudryk.

Fulham’s Brazilian winger Willian spent seven years at Stamford Bridge and Silva said: “The connection between him and the club (Chelsea) is huge.

“It is huge for him and the fans, we felt last season when he was substituted the ovation he got. The respect they show for him is huge and it’s deserved as well because what he’s doing in our club at 35-years-old makes you think what he can do at 37 or 38.”

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