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New-look Chelsea draw a blank against Fulham

3 Feb 2023
Fernandez, Chelsea, Tete, Fulham

Blues' club-record signing Fernandez makes impressive debut but honours even at Stamford Bridge

Derby honours were shared as Chelsea were held to an entertaining goalless draw by Fulham at Stamford Bridge.

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Enzo Fernandez made his Chelsea debut following his club-record arrival on Deadline Day, while Mykhailo Mudryk started for the first time.

Both sides had chances in the opening 45 minutes, with Kepa Arrizabalaga making a  fingertip save to deny Fulham's Andreas Pereira.

At the other end Kai Havertz almost put Chelsea ahead just before the break, but his lofted effort clipped the woodwork.

New signing Noni Madueke replaced Mudryk for the second half, and in so doing became the 31st player used by Chelsea in the Premier League this season, their most in a campaign since 1996/97.

Aleksandar Mitrovic came close with an audacious lob from the halfway line, while Chelsea pushed hard for a late breakthrough.

Fernandez almost marked his first appearance with a goal as his 30-yard strike swerved inches wide, while substitute David Fofana was denied a debut goal by Tim Ream's goalline clearance.

The draw moves both Chelsea up one place to ninth on 30 points, two behind Fulham, who claimed their first point at Stamford Bridge since 2012, in sixth spot.

Can Dyche get off to winning start?

The first of seven Saturday fixtures begin with Everton, led by new manager Sean Dyche, taking on leaders Arsenal.

An away win would take Arsenal eight points clear of reigning champions Manchester City, who face Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Top-four battle hots up

The top-four battle continues with both Newcastle United and Manchester United looking to stay within touching distance of the top.

Third-placed Newcastle host a West Ham United side hovering one point above the drop zone, while Man Utd, in fourth, face Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.

There are Midlands derby honours at stake when Aston Villa welcome Leicester City, while victory for Brighton & Hove Albion against AFC Bournemouth would move the Seagulls to within two points of Spurs in fifth.

Elsewhere, bottom club Southampton face a tough trip to Brentford, who are unbeaten in eight Premier League matches, and Liverpool travel to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

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