Goalless draw underlines Chelsea’s continued mediocrity

No one could dispute that the £280 million spent in the January window did not enhance this Graham Potter squad – 25 days earlier, they had lost to his Fulham side, but a goalless draw was hardly what anybody at Chelsea had in mind when the epic expenditure was approved.

Chelsea’s British record signing Enzo Fernandez got his first taste of Premier League football in a 0-0 draw against his new club’s visiting neighbours Fulham in a lively but ultimately disappointing Friday night derby.

The World Cup-winning midfielder, who cost Chelsea’s American owners £107million from Benfica, looked comfortable and showed touches of class, spraying pinpoint passes and timing his tackles well.

But the home side, beaten by Fulham in the reverse fixture three weeks ago, could still not find a cutting edge in front of goal, Kai Havertz coming closest when his first-half chip hit the post with Fulham goalkeeper Bernd Leno stranded.

David Datro Fofana has a chance to win it late on, but saw his effort cleared off the line by Tim Ream. Fulham had opportunities themselves, through former Chelsea forward Willian, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Andreas Pereira, but they will be thrilled with a point that lifts them up to sixth in the table.

The folks who sponsored this huge menagerie of costly footballers were left in the expensive seats to wonder at the game’s persistent reluctance to conform to their will.

Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali, the other king of the Chelsea consortium, have bet the house on this squad, so evenings like these will be uncomfortable. The mediocrity of this Chelsea team, which, despite its investment, lacks a traditional striker, will have hurt more.

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Pierre-Emerick Aubemeyang, who was left out of the Champions League team, was pictured on a holiday in Milan. Whether that is contemporary or historical, at least he is seeing some of Europe on his own.

Many of the new signings made their debuts for Potter on this evening, including Fernandez, Badiashile, Mudryk, David Datro Fofana, and Madueke, who also made their debuts. Reece James and Chilwell, a late substitute, returned from injury.

Even though the entire squad is being reassembled, the results are barely changing. Chelsea has two wins in their last eight Premier League games after this draw.

Fulham are three places above them in sixth, but Marco Silva seemed to believe his team could have won the game. They had less of the ball but more shots on goal, and the changes Silva made at the end were aimed at winning the game.

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