Securing three Premier League points was exactly what Mauricio Pochettino needed after the Blues suffered a shock defeat in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final earlier in the week. However, the trademark indecisiveness and profligacy were evident in the hosts' performance.
Just when it seemed like the first half would end goalless, Sterling was deemed to have been fouled by Issa Diop in the box after a clever reverse pass from Palmer set him clear. Palmer confidently converted the penalty, changing the complexion of the fixture as the first period concluded. The goal lifted the gloom, especially for Pochettino, who had been notably irate until that point.
Palmer continued to impress, initiating a move on the hour mark by flicking the ball over Fulham’s LB, Antonee Robinson, and setting up Gusto, only for Fulham to clear desperately. The ball reached the former Manchester City starlet, who curled one just wide of the far post.
As the game progressed, nerves increased for the hosts. Fulham had chances from Willian and Pereira but couldn't quite find the equalizer. Despite some late scrambles, Chelsea managed to hold on to secure all three points.