Palmer penalty edges Chelsea past Fulham

Chelsea 1 Fulham 0

Chelsea bounced back from a midweek Carabao Cup defeat at Middlesbrough with a hard-fought victory against Fulham at Stamford Bridge.

Cole Palmer’s first-half penalty was the difference in a hard-fought derby that saw Chelsea also hit the post twice in the second half.

The Blues were on top in the opening 20 minutes and the first big chance fell to Armando Broja, who headed wide after Enzo Fernandez curled a cross into the six-yard box.

Harry Wilson then went close at the other end, drawing a solid save from Djordje Petrovic as he tried to convert Antonee Robinson’s low cross at the back post.

Chelsea continued to dominate possession and found a breakthrough in first-half added time when Palmer converted from the penalty spot after Raheem Sterling was tripped by Issa Diop.

The 21-year-old sent Bernd Leno the wrong way, having played Sterling in with a defence-splitting pass in the build up.

Chelsea nearly doubled their lead after the break, as Sterling found himself free inside the box, but could only guide his header against the post.

Conor Gallagher then smashed a brilliant effort off the woodwork late on, catching the ball on the volley and curling it off the post with the outside of his boot.

Fulham showed flashes as they searched for an equaliser in the final 20 minutes, but Raul Jimenez failed to capitalise and saw a shot saved well by a diving Petrovic when Fernandez slipped inside the Chelsea box.

Willian then fired a free-kick over the bar in the 85th minute, but Chelsea held on for the win in a game where both Ben Chilwell and Carney Chukwuemeka made welcome returns from injury.

Chelsea: Petrovic, Gusto (Gilchrist 92), Disasi, Silva, Colwill, Caicedo, Fernandez, Palmer (Chukwuemeka 92), Gallagher, Sterling (Chilwell 76), Broja (Madueke 65). Subs not used: Bettinelli, Bergstrom, Badiashile, Mudkryk, Washington.

Fulham: Leno, Tete (Castagne 63), Tosin, Diop, Robinson, Cairney, Palhinha (Lukic 81), Wilson (Cordova-Reid 63) Pereira (Muniz 81), Willian, Jimenez. Subs not used: Rodak, Reed, Ream, Vinicius, Francois.