Chelsea, who have won just two from their last ten games, struck a daring deal in the winter transfer window, agreeing to pay €15-17m (salary included) for the loan of Joao Félix. Only on January 12, the club officially announced his transfer, and the next day head coach Graham Potter released the Portuguese newcomer into the starting lineup against Fulham. However, contrary to high expectations, the debut did not turn out as expected.
In the 58th minute, with the score 1:1, João Felix unsuccessfully processed a pass from a teammate, which caused the ball to bounce more than expected. But instead of stopping and pressing, Felix tried to hang on to the ball, but ended up with a straight leg that flew towards the shin of Fulham defender Kenny Tete. Joao, of course, instantly began to wave his hands, showing his innocence in Tete’s fall, but even at that moment he himself understood the denouement of the whole episode. Head referee David Kut, having calmed down the talks by both teams, showed Felix a red card, burying his hopes of a beautiful debut. Fulham fans capped off the remote player’s mood by chanting “what a waste of money”, which means “what a waste of money”.
Felix was even more saddened already in the stands after 15 minutes, because his teammates could not save at least one point, having conceded the second goal, which was the last in this match.
FELIX LEASE – FAILURE?
Yes, Chelsea invested a lot of money in the short-term loan of Felix, and already in the first game they received an elimination from him, but it is too early to draw conclusions and discuss a failed deal.
Potter’s initial plan had no place for a classic striker, and instead Kai Havertz and Joao Félix acted as free forwards, the latter of whom was the best on the field before the fatal suspension.
These are just some of the statistical tests that show that Félix is not worthy of the criticism he receives after the first game:
6 shots, three of which were saved by goalkeeper Leno;
Got 0.46 xG (3rd place on the team);
Earned 0.43 xA (2nd place on team)
1 key gear;
2 successful dribble attempts;
4 fouls committed, 2 of which turned into yellow cards for the opponents.
Félix is to blame for the dismissal and part of Fulham’s defeat on his shoulders, but not only he must be scolded. Graham Potter was clearly in a hurry, and decided to release Felix in the first game of the starting lineup. Jurgen Klopp himself is in no rush to integrate newcomer Cody Gakpo into the squad, but Potter, less than a day after the transfer, bet on young Felix, who had never played in the Premier League before. Perhaps the Portuguese simply burned out emotionally, resulting in a stupid mistake in midfield. This is partly confirmed by another statistical fact: this red card was Joao’s first in his entire professional career.
I’m sure Felix will still show up in England, and this foul against Fulham will be remembered as a stupid misunderstanding.