Five talking points as Chelsea see off Fulham to consolidate top four spot

Kai Havertz was the star of the show at Chelsea ran out comfortable winners against their local neighbours.

The German scored twice – one in either half – as the Blues saw off Fulham to retain the west London bragging rights at Stamford Bridge.

It means Thomas Tuchel’s side cemented their top four place ahead of their Champions League showdown with Real Madrid next week.

Fulham caused Chelsea problems at times with Edouard Mendy needing to make some big saves in the first-half.

Havertz’ strike early in the second 45 though all but killed the game and leaves Scott Parker looking down as relegation nears.

Here are five talking points from Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea eased to victory on Saturday evening

1. Kai the main guy

It has been far from the debut Premier League season many expected from the German but optimism is growing.

Havertz arrived with a big reputation and a big price tag, two things that may have counted against him initially.

But Tuchel has stuck with him in a false 9 role that seems to get the best out of him and his compatriot, Timo Werner.

Havertz’ double takes his goal tally for the second to eight – all of which have come in the capital.

It was Christian Pulisic who played as a false 9 against Madrid in midweek, but Chelsea’s No 29 has certainly given his manager a decision to make.

2. Tuchel’s choices

Chelsea’s German manager arrived with plenty of pedigree and you don’t achieve that without being clear in your beliefs and philosophy.

Tuchel evidently has beliefs about certain members of his Blues squad because, be it by choice or a lack of credible alternatives, he is very sure about who is deserving of a start.

He has, and continues to, persevere with the goal-shy Werner despite having other options.

Havertz, who he has publicly criticised, is also a regular. No doubt part of his remit was to get the best out of Chelsea’s £75m signing and a two-goal performance will have been very welcome.

Similarly Tuchel appears to have decided that certain Chelsea players are not for him. How his team shapes up after the summer will be a greater indicator as he is currently working with an inherited squad.

But the future looks bleak for certain players in west London.

Kai Havertz notched a brace at Stamford Bridge
Kai Havertz notched a brace at Stamford Bridge

3. Another case of what if

Parker and his Fulham team may have won plenty of friends this season, but winning games is what it ultimately comes down to.

The Cottagers again started brightly at Stamford Bridge and were by no means outclassed by their local neighbours.

How many times have we said that though?

Defeat leaves them perilously close to the drop with Newcastle potentially opening up a 12 point gap with four games to play when they host Arsenal tomorrow.

Scott Parker's Fulham are perilously close to the drop
Scott Parker’s Fulham are perilously close to the drop

4. Gil-more?

Tuchel’s shunning of Tammy Abraham has been well documented – although the striker did make a rare appearance.

But another youngster in Billy Gilmour was given a rare run out on Saturday evening.

As with any manager coming into the club there will be winners and losers. Abraham does look to be the biggest casualty so far.

Gilmour’s inclusion though suggests there is still a pathway into the first team for the Scot.

Tuchel clearly seems to fancy N’Golo Kante and Jorginho at the base of his midfield meaning competition is rife with Mateo Kovacic also an option.

But Chelsea’s academy graduates are finally beginning to gain a presence in the first team picture and Gilmour, who has shown plenty of promise, could have a role going forward with his style certainly suiting Tuchel’s philsophy.

5. Ideal preparation

Tuchel will have long known that his Chelsea side were going to play three times in eight days including an overseas travel, but they’ve negotiated the challenge well so far.

The Blues returned from Spain with an away goal as they look to see off Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final.

But attention quickly turned to the Premier League and Tuchel will have been pleased to get the three points whilst also giving some of his key men a rest.

Kante and Jorginho were both left on the bench but Chelsea were able to consolidate their place in the top four.

Focus now turns to Madrid at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.

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