Fulham – Chelsea: Mason Mount scored for the second-straight match to save Frank Lampard blushes as Chelsea beat 10-man Fulham 1-0 on Saturday in a West London derby at Craven Cottage.
Chelsea played up a man for the entire second half thanks to an Antonee Robinson red card, but the Blues rarely looked like taking advantage of the USMNT back’s faux pas.
[ MORE: Pulisic + Robinson Watch ]
The Blues snap Fulham’s five-match unbeaten run and end a three-match winless league run of their own, moving into seventh on 29 points.
Fulham remains in the bottom three with 12 points, four off 17th-place Burnley.
— Joe Prince-Wright (@JPW_NBCSports) January 16, 2021
Three things we learned from Fulham – Chelsea
1. No identifiable attacking plan from Lampard: What was Chelsea’s plan of attack from the opening whistle? The struggling Blues understandably and smartly went for safety with Antonio Rudiger, Thiago Silva, Cesar Azpilicueta, and Jorginho the steady hands (and feet) behind their forwards. Mason Mount was lively and so was Christian Pulisic but both seemed to be freelancing rather than operating within a framework. Olivier Giroud did not see much of the ball and Hakim Ziyech had an off day on the right side. Subs helped little before Mount smashed home his goal, and sub forwards Tammy Abraham and Timo Werner joined Olivier Giroud to produce a total of 35 touches over 90 minutes.
If you told anyone that Fulham – Chelsea — a game in which the hosts could not use Ruben Loftus-Cheek — would see Fulham lose its best left-sided threat to a red card and play down a man for 45-plus minutes, they bet the over.
2. It had to be Mount: It’s extremely fitting that Lampard was saved from deserved questions about his future as Chelsea boss by Mount, the player he’d consider starting even if the midfielder was forced to wear blinders. Lampard let Mount work through a number of dry spells but they’ve been together since the player’s loan to Derby County and Mount has been one of Chelsea’s most consistent players this season.
3. Americans abroad: Robinson’s red card tackle was needless and completely unexpected, as Fulham has Chelsea napping and the American left back was producing down the left side. Christian Pulisic started and had a quieter day on the left side, more of a play-linker than a play-driver. Still, there have been years when there were no USMNT players getting regular PL playing time. Read more about both players’ days from PST lead writer Joe Prince-Wright here.
Man of the Match: Mason Mount
By a billion.