Fulham 2-1 Chelsea: Joao Felix sent off and Willian scores as the Blues endure nightmare evening
Joao Felix was shown a straight red card for an idiotic foul on his debut as Chelsea fell to a damaging 2-1 defeat against their rivals Fulham.
The Portugal international only joined on loan from Atletico Madrid on Wednesday but he started against Fulham. He only managed 58 minutes before he was sent off for a dangerous foul on Kenny Tete.
Kalidou Koulibaly cancelled out Willian’s opener but Carlos Vinicius’ header won it for the hosts. Chelsea have now won just one of their last nine games and they are ten points adrift of the top four in tenth.
The result lifted Fulham up to sixth, four points off fourth-placed Manchester United, after a fourth consecutive victory.
Felix was fast-tracked into the side and impressed throughout the first half, but he will now miss three matches and join the lengthy list of unavailable players to Potter.
Felix almost had an instant impact, with some clever wide play to set up Kai Havertz, and the ball fell to Lewis Hall after a rebound, but his shot was straight at Bernd Leno.
Chelsea dominated the ball in the early part of the first half, but it was the home side who came closest to taking the lead, when Bobby Decordova-Reid found himself unmarked in the box, and his strike rebounded off the crossbar.
Fulham broke the deadlock almost immediately afterwards when Willian, on the edge of the box, beat the defender and saw a shot deflect past Kepa Arrizabalaga.
The former Chelsea player remained respectful to the club he previously represented by not celebrating only his second goal for Fulham.
Fulham kept the pressure on until the end of the first half, with Chelsea struggling to impose themselves in the same manner as they had before the goal.
Chelsea equalised early in the second half, when a Mason Mount free-kick was just bundled in by Koulibaly, with the technology confirming the ball had crossed the line before Leno was able to gather.
Felix’s debut came to a crashing end when he went flying into a challenge in the middle of the pitch, catching Tete mid-shin with his studs up, and was shown the red card immediately by referee David Coote.
Fulham capitalised with the numerical advantage, when Vinicius beat the Chelsea defenders to head home an Andreas Pereira cross at the far post.
Vinicius was brought into the side in place of the suspended Aleksandar Mitrovic – who picked up his fifth yellow card of the season against Leicester in the previous Premier League match – but made the most of his opportunity by restoring Fulham’s lead in the 73rd minute.
READ MORE: Joao Felix brought his skill to Chelsea but left his brains in Madrid