Football: Chelsea fall again, concern around Denis Zakaria

Football: Chelsea fall again, concern around Denis Zakaria

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SoccerChelsea fall again, concern around Denis Zakaria

The Blues stumbled again in the Premier League, beaten 2-1 by Fulham. Star rookie Joao Felix has been sent off while the Geneva midfielder is out with an injury.

Denis Zakaria left the field before the hour mark, after being injured on a harmless action.

AFP

Nothing is going well this season for Chelsea, who lost again this Thursday to Fulham (2-1), in a late match for the 7th day. As a bonus, the Blues saw Joao Felix sent off for his opener and Denis Zakaria out through injury. The pressure on Graham Potter will only increase after this seventh loss in 18 days, already one more than all of last season, which leaves the Blues in 10th place. Their neighbour, Fulham, prances to a completely unexpected 6th place, even though they have one or two games more than all the other Premier League teams.

If the victory of the Cottagers is not illogical, given the dynamics of two teams, it owes a lot to individual errors and in particular the exclusion of Joao Felix, the turning point of the match. When the score was 1-1, the Portuguese launched into a tackle with both feet off to recover a ball in the feet of Kenny Tete. If he seemed to hold back his gesture a little at the last moment, the referee did not hesitate before sending him a direct red card (58th). This is the first direct exclusion in the career of the player, who had only received a second warning with Atlético Madrid, against Athletic Bilbao, in September 2021.

Loaned Wednesday by Atletico until the end of the season, he had nevertheless shown what he could bring by his dynamism and his technique. From the first minutes, after a small bridge over his opponent, he had ideally served Kai Havertz, who had been countered before Lewis Hall shot the goalkeeper (4th). He then had opportunities to strike (10th, 17th, 40th) and caused two opposing yellow cards, before spoiling this beautiful impression with his inconsiderate gesture.

The penalty was all the harder to take for the Londoners as they had just lost Denis Zakaria to injury. The Geneva midfielder, tenured for the fourth consecutive time in the Premier League, was replaced prematurely before the hour mark (56th). Hit in the knee on a harmless action, he stopped short and immediately asked for a change, leaving the field crestfallen. If it is difficult, hot, to estimate the seriousness of his injury as well as his period of unavailability, the Swiss international should be sidelined for several weeks. A big setback for a player who finally managed to string together matches after a frustrating start to the season.

Despite these headwinds, the Blues had shown great moral qualities to equalize, after a first goal almost offered to the opponent. Trevoh Chalobah, starting in the centre, was at the origin of the opener by extending the ball with a header towards Willian, while Cesar Azpilicueta, behind him, seemed to be able to recover it, and by deflecting the shot from the Brazilian out of reach of Kepa (1-0, 25th).

With a thunderous start to the second half, Chelsea had equalized thanks to Kalidou Koulibaly, whose recovery after a free kick had been stopped behind his line by Bernd Leno (1-1, 48th). But neither this brief burst of pride nor the courageous end to the match will have been enough, a goal from Carlos Vinicius in the 73rd finally leaving Potter and his men empty-handed.

(AFP/Sport Center)


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