Palmer’s Penalties Propel Pochettino's Chelsea to London Derby Triumph

Palmer’s Penalties Propel Pochettino's Chelsea to London Derby Triumph
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In a crucial London derby clash, Mauricio Pochettino's Chelsea secured a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Fulham at Stamford Bridge, bouncing back from their recent setback against Middlesbrough in the League Cup.

The Blues, eager to make amends for their previous struggles in front of goal, displayed early dominance in the first half. Conor Gallagher and Armando Broja came close with attempts that narrowly missed the target. Despite Chelsea's proactive play, Fulham had a moment of danger when Đorđe Petrović made a crucial save to deny Harry Wilson's close-range effort.

As halftime approached, Cole Palmer orchestrated a decisive moment, setting up Raheem Sterling, who was brought down by Issa Diop in the box. Palmer calmly converted from the penalty spot, marking his ninth goal since joining from Manchester City in the summer and giving Chelsea a 1-0 lead.

The second half saw Fulham pressing for an equalizer, opening up opportunities for Chelsea on the counterattack. However, both teams struggled to create clear-cut chances. Raúl Jiménez and Levi Colwill had attempts that failed to find the target, while Petrović made key saves to deny Jiménez.

Chelsea nearly sealed the game with Conor Gallagher hitting the post and substitute Noni Madueke's shot well-saved by Fulham goalkeeper Bernd Leno. Despite the slim margin, Pochettino's side held firm in the closing stages, securing their eighth position in the table and extending their unbeaten streak in league home fixtures against Fulham to 19 games.

The victory provides a positive response for Chelsea after their recent inconsistencies, while Marco Silva's Fulham, currently sitting in 13th place, turn their attention to the upcoming League Cup semi-final second leg against Liverpool, aiming to overturn a 2-1 deficit.