Beats Fulham to give Mauricio Pochettino a perfect start to the season
By Ed Emeanua
Chelsea have defeated Fulham 2-0 at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, to win the Premier League Summer Series, and hand new boss Mauricio Pochettino, his perfect start to the season.
Aston Vila’s 3-3 draw with Brentford before Chelsea took to the field, gave ‘The Blues’ an inkling that nothing short of an outright win would give them the crown as Villa enjoyed the better goal advantage.
First-half goals from Thiago Silva and Christopher Nkunku gave a new-look Chelsea side the edge, just as the Stamford Bridge outfit seized the initiative of a west London derby staged on US soil.
Silva headed in a Ben Chilwell cross from the corner flag, with Nkunku firing in from close range following Bernd Leno in Fulham goalposts futile effort to stop a goal-bound shot, and only parrying the shot into his path, allowing Nkunku to score his second of the championship.
Despite Chelsea’s handing a start to their 19-year-old American goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina, Fulham could failed to test the teenager or even trouble Lucas Bergstrom, his substitute, managing just a lone shot on target the entire game.
The high point of the game for Fulham fans was the inclusion of new arrivals, Raul Jimenez and Calvin Bassey, with both stars playing their first game for the side, after their move from Wolverhampton Wanderers and Ajax in that order.
The low side for both teams however, were likely injury blows, with captain Tom Cairney substituted by Fulham due to a suspected hamstring injury, with Trevoh Chalobah lasting just 15 minutes after coming on as a substitute in the second-half .
Chelsea’s win means they remain undefeated in pre-season under Mauricio Pochettino, having ended their Summer Series engagements with two wins and a tie.
The Blues have just one pre-season game left on 2 August, against Borussia Dortmund , before taking on Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on 13 August, in their Premier League opener.