English Premiership

Fulham deny Chelsea goal

2012-11-29 07:30
Rafael Benitez (AFP)

London - Rafael Benitez was still searching for his first win since his controversial appointment as Chelsea manager after they were held to a goalless draw by Fulham in a west London derby at Stamford Bridge.

Wednesday saw Benitez largely spared the hostile reception he received during his first game in charge against Premier League champions Manchester City - also a scoreless draw - four days previously.

But this was hardly a performance to win over those supporters who opposed the Spaniard's appointment as Roberto di Matteo's successor.

The final whistle was greeted with boos from the home supporters and with Chelsea now without a win in six Premier League games, Benitez must find a way to help the European champions recover their cutting edge if he is to revive the club's domestic title ambitions.

Fernando Torres suffered another frustrating night that was summed up when a second-half volley was cleared off the line and the Spaniard has now gone almost 11 hours without a league goal.

Fulham - who have also now gone six league games without a win - could claim to have created the better chances while Dimitar Berbatov was the game's outstanding player.

Benitez made two changes from the side the drew with Manchester City with Oriol Romeu coming in for John Obi Mikel and, more significantly, Ryan Bertrand replacing Juan Mata as one of three offensive midfielders.

The inclusion of Bertrand - best known as a left-back - followed on from the manager's pre-match admission his first priority was to strengthen the team's defensive foundations.

Unfortunately for the former Liverpool manager, Chelsea were much less convincing going forward.

An uninspiring start to the game did little to rouse a subdued home crowd who saved their loudest voices for the chant of "only one di Matteo" in the 16th minute, a tribute to Benitez's predecessor who wore the number 16 shirt during his playing days at the club.

Chelsea's attacking play was ponderous and it was telling their best chance of the opening half came when Branislav Ivanovic broke speedily from defence and the ball found its way to Cesar Azpilicueta on the right via Eden Hazard.

The right back's low cross found Torres who turned and shot but his effort lacked venom and was directed straight at Mark Schwarzer.

There was a smattering of boos from the home supporters at half-time and it was clear Chelsea would have to move through the gears if they were to spark life into the game.

They started the second period with more conviction although their best work was done on the fringes of the Fulham penalty area.

Instead it was the visitors who created the better chances with Berbatov at the heart of Fulham's best moves.

The Bulgarian was narrowly adjudged to be offside when he was sent clear on Petr Cech's goal.

But an even clearer opportunity came Fulham's way moments later when Giorgios Karagounis picked out John Arne Riise run beyond Luiz only for the left-back to direct a tame shot straight at the Chelsea keeper from inside the area.

Cech was the busier of the keepers, saving well from Karagounis, Chris Baird and a much better effort from Riise as Berbatov continued to out-wit the Chelsea centre-backs and holding midfielders.

Benitez introduced Mata for Bertrand in a bid to inject more creativity into the Chelsea attack but apart from a half-chance to Ramires and a mis-directed header from Ivanovic, they continued to offer only a limited threat.

Read more on:    chelsea  |  epl  |  rafael benitez  |  soccer
NEXT ON SPORT24X

Rooney gets derby all-clear

2014-10-31 18:47

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

LOL! Best outdoor girl fails

It’s not only guys who have FAIL moments! Here are some of the funniest outdoor fails where girls are the victims!

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

90-year-old's incredible travels
10 facts about swimming you didn't know
Halloween night run
Exciting new zipline for Cape Town!
Fixtures
01 November 2014
Newcastle United v Liverpool, St. James' Park 14:45
Stoke City v West Ham United, Britannia Stadium 17:00
Arsenal v Burnley, Emirates Stadium 17:00
Everton v Swansea City, Goodison Park 17:00
Leicester City v West Bromwich Albion, King Power Stadium 17:00
Chelsea v Queens Park Rangers, Stamford Bridge 17:00
Hull City v Southampton, The KC Stadium 17:00
02 November 2014
Manchester City v Manchester United, Etihad Stadium 15:30
Aston Villa v Tottenham Hotspur, Villa Park 18:00
03 November 2014
Crystal Palace v Sunderland, Selhurst Park 22:00
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

How long will Mario Balotelli last at Liverpool?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Featured

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.