90+5min: Full time. Chelsea hang on to the win.
90+4min: Sessegnon has the ball in the back of the net after Chelsea fail to clear the long ball ... but he’s offside! It’s very close, and initial replays are inconclusive. Letoff. (A second angle shown later seemed to make it the right call.)
90+2min: Willian gets a sore one right into his ribs from a knee, and wastes a few seconds, but then gives the ball away straight from the free kick. Fulham don’t make it count and the ball’s with Kepa.
90min: Bryan gets a boot to the face as he goes down to block a Kanté shot and play is stopped. 5 minutes added on.
88min: Kepa saves the day with a great save on Mitrović, who had beaten Christensen on the run, while Ayité beat Rüdiger to get the cross in from the long ball over the top.
86min: Willian and Loftus-Cheek come forward and beat multiple defenders, but the ball gets stuck under RLC’s his feet just as he’s about to shoot.
85min: Great work from Loftus-Cheek and Emerson sees another Chelsea cross flash across the six-yard box with nobody there to turn it in. A Fulham defender almost does so into his own net.
83min: Kovačić called for a handball when it looked like shoulder and Fulham have a free kick in the middle of the pitch. They aim for Chambers on the far post and he beats Christensen, who stays down with a knock to the head. Chelsea are out of subs, so of course he carries on.
80min: Fulham make their final change with Cairney going off for Atlético Madrid loanee Luciano Vietto. Fulham are then funnily enough whistled for a foul throw.
78min: Chelsea finally reestablish possession for a minute, and almost work a great opening between Barkley and Higuaín, but the latter’s return pass is cut out. Loftus-Cheek then replaces Barkley in Chelsea’s final change.
76min: Chelsea come forward for seemingly the first time in forever and win a corner through Willian. He takes the inswinger from the left, but it does not beat the first man and Fulham can counter. Christensen takes one for the team to stop it and even gets away with the shirt pull without a yellow.
73min: Yet another corner for Fulham after a bit of desperate defending from Chelsea. A deep cross is eventually just over Mitrović at the far post. Meanwhile, Pedro replaces Eden Hazard.
72min: Fulham win a corner and Kepa’s tested on the second effort as Chelsea are unable to clear.
71min: Tempers flare for a second, but are quickly calmed down after Bryan kicks Willian who had stopped playing because the ball was already out. Ayité then comes on for Babel, who may have picked up an injury.
68min: Kovačić on for
67min: Fulham continue to press and win a corner as Willian blocks Bryan’s cross. Fulham play another two-step cross to the far post, but Chelsea defend okay-ish and Mitrović’s header is off target.
66min: Kepa into action twice, first to parry Cairney’s long shot wide, then to get down and fall onto Sessegnon’s low cross.
65min: Fulham pressing for the equalizer as Chelsea sit back and defend for a few minutes. Key clearances by both Christensen and Rüdiger keep the home side at bay.
62min: Anguissa on for McDonald in the game’s first change.
61min: More joy for Willian down the right, but his cross-shot is palmed away by Rico, almost straight at Higuaín. But instead it’s Fulham who come forward and are only stopped after Jorginho takes out Sessegnon. The first Chelsea yellow of the day.
59min: Willian finds Barkley after some nice work on the right touchline and Barkley lays it on for Hazard, but his shot is blocked again. Fulham come forward at the other end and after a lucky bounce, Mitrović unleashes a howitzer from 18 yards, which flashes over the bar.
58min: Chelsea keep up the pressure and a cross from Hazard flashes across the six-yard box after beating his man to the endline. No Chelsea player there to turn it in for an easy goal.
57min: Christensen, then Barkley marshal the speedy Sessegnon. Hazard’s shot is blocked at the other end as Chelsea’s play in the final third turns a bit sloppy and slow.
54min: Chelsea win a corner as Kanté’s cross hits Tim Ream in the arm (no penalty). Willian takes the outswinger, but it’s cleared at the front post before the referee spots an infringement and gives Fulham the free kick.
52min: Willian’s action-filled few minutes continue as he’s found by a long-ball and takes aim with a first-time hit on the bounce. It just misses the near post and slams into the side netting.
51min: McDonald in the book for Fulham as he trips Willian after he breaks the high press and starts a counter.
50min: Willian beats his man and takes a surprise shot instead of a cross; Rico makes the save, just, and Chelsea are unable to get the rebound on target from a tight angle.
47min: Hazard cuts inside from the left and takes aim with his right, but it’s a low shot and Rico’s down to stop it without giving up a rebound.
46min: No changes at the half. An early chance for Higuaín but he’s crowded out before he could take a shot.
HALF-TIME: A wide open match that somehow is only 2-1. Fulham are absolutely useless in defense but are throwing players forward in attack and Chelsea’s defending and midfield have not been good enough often enough in response. Getting the next goal will be crucial.
45+2min: The half-time whistle goes.
45+1min: Willian combines with Azpilicueta up the right flank and his cross is turned goalwards by Higuaín yet again, drawing an excellent save from Rico. The subsequent corner finds Rüdiger wide open in the middle of the area, but he ball bounces off him unluckily and Fulham escape.
45min: A rapid sequence of giveaways in midfield makes it an uncomfortable few minutes for Chelsea, but they eventually settle down and hold possession.
41min: Barkley wins the ball off Odoi in the final third and Hazard gets on the loose ball. He beats one but Rico is down quickly to stop his left-footed shot.
39min: Hazard’s turn to be open and have a chance inside the Fulham box, but his shot is blocked. Fulham come forward and win a corner, but Chelsea defend it much better this time. Azpilicueta stays down holding his knee, but gets up before any treatment would be needed.
33min: Higuaín wide open again as he beats the offside trap. Jorginho finds him, he takes a touch, and hammers it just over the bar. Should’ve scored, again.
31min: GOAL! CHELSEA!! Back in the lead as Jorginho wins a midfield battle (after having some trouble playing out through the high press) and Chelsea pour forward. Hazard cuts inside from the left, lays it off to Jorginho in support and he finishes easily from the top of the box. 2-1, CHELSEA!
28min: Fulham goal! A midfield turnover and a deflected cross gives Mitrović a chance to strike a volley towards the top left corner, which Kepa parries for a corner with a tremendous save. But Chambers is left completely unmarked on the subsequent corner and he finishes easily at the far post. 1-1.
22min: Chambers gets the game’s first yellow for pulling back Willian on a counter.
20min: GOAL!! CHELSEA!! Higuaín wide open once again, and this time he turns in Azpilicueta’s cross first-time. 1-0, CHELSEA!
19min: Hazard tries his luck from distance but misses the top right corner.
18min: Fulham have a spell of possession that eventually results in a big cross towards Babel. It’s easy for the goalkeeper however ... until he drops it! Babel fortunately was not paying attention and Kepa jumps on the loose ball.
15min: Higuaín open in the box once again, found by Kanté from the right. But the shot is blocked as he chooses to take a touch instead of shooting first time. On the next play, he beats the offside trap but Jorginho’s ball just evades him and bounces out for a goal kick.
12min: Willian has a shot blocked while Fulham just miss finding a 2-v-1 against Rüdiger at the other end. Fulham are wide open at the back, but are attacking with numbers.
8min: Hazard makes a typical run up the left and then cuts inside, finding Higuaín in the box, but he can’t get his shot away despite being given a fair amount of space.
6min: Fulham pounce on a midfield turnover and Azpilicueta is needed to make a big block after Babel’s cross finds a runner from midfield. Cairney’s follow-up bomb is just wide of the goal.
5min: Kepa catches a cross from Bryan as Fulham mount an attack forward for the first time.
4min: Willian wins a free kick down the right flank, level with the penalty spot. He swings it in, it’s half-cleared, but Kanté’s shot is blocked. Hazard then crosses back in, finds an unmarked Higuaín, but his header is disappointingly wide.
1min: Chelsea establish early possession in an entirely unsurprising development.
KICK-OFF: Here we go!
Chelsea have to play catch-up with the rest of the top six, both in terms of points and games, but after yesterday’s 1-1 draw in the North London Derby, if we win our two games-in-hand, we’re back in fourth.
It’s still unclear when the home match against Brighton will be made up, but the focus is on Fulham today, a team Chelsea haven’t lost to in 18 games in all competitions, since 2006.
Sarri promised 3-4 changes; he’s made 5, including the return of Kepa in goal (plus Emerson, Christensen, Barkley, and Willian).
Fulham starting XI:
Rico | Odoi, Nordtveit, Ream, Bryan, Chambers, McDonald, Cairney (c), Babel, R.Sessegnon, Mitrović
Substitutes from: Fabri, Le Marchand, Christie, Seri, Anguissa, Ayité, Vietto
Chelsea starting lineup (4-3-3):
Arrizabalaga | Emerson, Christensen, Rüdiger, Azpilicueta (c) | Barkley, Jorginho, Kanté | Hazard, Higuaín, Willian
Substitutes from: Caballero, David Luiz, Kovačić, Loftus-Cheek, Hudson-Odoi, Pedro, Giroud
Date / Time: Sunday, March 3, 2019, 14:05 GMT; 9:05am EST; 7:35pm IST
Venue: Craven Cottage, London, England
Referee: Graham Scott
On TV: Sky Sports Main Event (UK); NBCSN, Universo (USA); Star Sports Select 1HD (India); elsewhere
Streaming online: Sky Go (UK); NBC Sports Live, Universo NOW (USA); Hotstar (India); Fubo TV (affiliate link — USA only)
Be excellent to each other.