Kai Havertz scored early in each half of Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Fulham at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
“Mr. May” scored in his first May match for Chelsea after scoring 11 in 12 for Bayer Leverkusen between 2017-2020, moving Chelsea six points clear of fifth-place West Ham, who plays Monday at Burnley, and two back of third-place Leicester City.
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USMNT back Antonee Robinson was pretty good for Fulham but he couldn’t help the Cottagers move above 27 points. They are now nine points back of safety with only 12 on offer the rest of the way.
Fellow American player Christian Pulisic was rested along with Cesar Azpilicueta and N’Golo Kante, only the Frenchman coming off the bench in the win as the Blues get ready for their UEFA Champions League semifinal second leg against Real Madrid.
Three things we learned from Chelsea – Fulham
1. Tuchel is working: It would be over-simplifying to say that Thomas Tuchel has fixed everything, as perhaps this is just the case of players like Havertz and Werner getting used to the Premier League (as well as both Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech getting healthy). And, yes, Frank Lampard made it pretty easy to “fix” the defense by not playing Antonio Rudiger and under-deploying Cesar Azpilicueta. But Chelsea is a force at the back, with Man City the only team allowing fewer goals than the Blues. That’s incredible considering Chelsea had scored 33 goals and allowed 22 in PL play when Lampard was fired. Tuchel’s team has a 20-8 advantage since his hiring, and that includes a 5-2 loss with 10 men.
2. Kai Havertz loves May: Chelsea’s young center forward — at least on Saturday — used his position to score a pair of goals on the first day of May after scoring five in four May outings for Bayer Leverkusen when the Bundesliga returned from the COVID-19 pandemic pause last season. The previous season he bagged three goals in three May games, in 2017-18 he got skunked in two matches, but scored thrice in three Bundesliga matches before he turned 18 in June 2017. As for Chelsea, Havertz now has eight goals and eight assists in just over 2,200 minutes across all competitions with the Blues.
3. Fulham finished: Scott Parker’s Cottagers continue to infuriate, boasting just four of their last 24 available points but getting that quartet against Liverpool and Arsenal. Fulham now maxes out at 39 points, which means that the Cottagers would have to win out while Brighton, Southampton, Burnley, and Newcastle would pretty much all have to fail to win another match (Fulham could, in theory, draw a match and find their way out since there are matches where that quartet face each other and could draw. It’s not a question of who returns to Craven Cottage. If Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Alphonse Areola, and Joachim Andersen are willing to play Championship football, this could be a force of a team. If not, many answers must arrive for the London set.
Man of the Match: Mason Mount
It’s difficult to go against Havertz and perhaps this is a bit of a Mount apology tour from me, but he was sensational early. His trap and pass on Havertz’s first was sensational.
Chelsea – Fulham recap
American left back Antonee Robinson and Danish center back Joachim Andersen both tried their luck from distance in the first five minutes, the USMNT man forcing a terrific save out of Edouard Mendy while Andersen missed with his effort.
Havertz put Chelsea ahead with a calm finish past Areola in the 10th minute, Thiago Silva’s searching 70-yard long ball plucked out of the sky by Mason Mount. The Englishman played Havertz into the box for a mini-dink past the Fulham goalkeeper.
It should’ve been 2-0 when Mount sent Werner into the box, where the German hit a sensational pass to Hakim Ziyech through two defenders that was kept from the goal by the right arm of Alphonse Areola.
Mendy matched and maybe even raised Areola’s save with a reaction to deny an Ola Aina shot that took a wicked deflection mere seconds before halftime.
Werner got a deserved assist on a 1-2 with Havertz, the Germans connecting before the latter converted his brace with a cool chopped finish past Areola.