0 users online

Fulham 0-3 Chelsea Prem33 Daily Mail

last updated Thursday 18th April 2013, 9:27 PM
Daily Mail Logo
Matt Barlow at Daily Mail

Fulham (0) 0 Chelsea (2) 3

It was, as they say, a game of two centre halves - one from east London, the flag-bearer for Chelsea's glorious recent past, and one from Sao Paulo, the fuzzy-haired vision of a Blue Brazilian future at Stamford Bridge.

First there was David Luiz, striding forth to lash in a 35-yard swirling shot which opened the scoring and gave the visitors a foothold in what had been shaping up to be an awkward derby in windswept conditions.

Then there was John Terry, the club's lion-hearted captain, dropped at Wembley on Sunday and back with two headers to secure the points and a first away win in the Barclays Premier League for three months.

Terry's first was a powerful connection at the back-post, converting a cross from Juan Mata before the break, and his second settled the game, a poacher's finish from an inch or two, to make sure a header from Fernando Torres was going in.

As the skipper left he pitch, stripped to the waist, beating his chest, Luiz put an arm around Rafa Benitez and gave the interim manager a gentle hug.

Terry and Luiz are very different characters and defenders with differing styles, scoring very different goals, and they are representative of the direction this club wants to go.

There will be lots more of Luiz and not so much of Terry in the years ahead, but last night they combined to produce a very important victory for Benitez ahead of his return to Liverpool on Sunday.

It eased Chelsea above Arsenal into third place in the Premier League and with a game in hand over the Gunners, who dropped points at home to Everton on Tuesday.

It was a strong response to defeat in the FA Cup semi-final and will provide a psychological lift within the camp.

For Chelsea, this was the 60th game of the season, 23 more than Fulham, who themselves are no strangers to long and winding European trails but have been able to focus on their league campaign this season.

Martin Jol's team are safely in mid-table and started at a healthy tempo, with the energy of a team who were fresh and stress-free.

Bryan Ruiz escaped Luiz in the third minute but sliced Sascha Riether's cross over.

Terry deflected an effort wide from Dimitar Berbatov and Giorgos Karagounis went close as Chelsea were forced to defend.

Branislav Ivanovic launched into a fierce tackle on Mladen Petric.

It was Serb on Croat near the corner flag by the Cottage and, although he took the ball, plenty of Fulham fans thought it worthy of a red card.

It was certainly two-footed and risky but referee Mike Dean thought a caution was enough.

Chelsea had offered little in attack but the pattern changed when Luiz stepped out of defence and fired his team ahead.

Collecting a pass from Hazard, the Brazilian shuffled into the inside-right position and went for goal.

The ball appeared to be gliding smoothly towards the top corner but suddenly wobbled, dipped and flew past a confused Mark Schwarzer.

'I've seen him scoring these goals in training sessions,' said Benitez.

Luiz pointed to the sky.

He made his full Chelsea debut at Craven Cottage in February 2011, when he conceded a last-gasp penalty, saved by Cech.

He has become an influential figure in two years since and this was a vital strike.

Cech produced a wonderful low save to thwart Urby Emmanuelson before Terry grabbed the second, two minutes before half-time.

Schwarzer conceded a corner when he misjudged a swerving free-kick from Frank Lampard.

It smacked the goalkeeper in his chest, spun wide and Fulham could only clear the corner as far as Eden Hazard.

The Belgian rolled a short pass to Mata, who supplied a deep, in-swinging cross to the back post.

Terry had drifted away from his markers and timed his run nicely to arrive between Riether and Philippe Senderos to score with a firm header from eight yards.

It was a significant contribution from Terry, one of four changes to the team, along with Lampard, who was unable last night to add to his 200 goals in his 600th appearance for the club.

Lampard remains two goals short of Bobby Tambling's Chelsea record and games are vanishing fast for a player who will be out of contract in June.

He had Chelsea's first effort of the night after nine minutes when Fulham failed to clear a cross from the right and Torres nodded the ball towards him.

It was not an easy chance by any means but one of those he often converts, twisting his body and finding the target with a right-foot volley.

This time Schwarzer had it covered.

From this point, the visitors applied more control but, even so, Fulham should have pulled a goal back 20 minutes from time when Senderos arrowed a header towards the bottom corner.

It was going in, with Cech beaten, until Petric inexplicably intervened.

Trying to sweep it over the line, the striker somehow contrived to divert it over the bar.

He was also flagged offside.

Had he turned the ball in, it would have been ruled out.

As it was, he managed to screw it into the crowd.

It summed the night up for Jol's team and, within seconds, Chelsea had scored again.

Torres flicked a corner towards goal and Terry stooped to nod the ball over the line.

'Their defenders scored three goals, that says it all,' said Jol.

FULHAM: Schwarzer, Riise (Rodallega, 67), Senderos, Hangeland, Riether, Karagounis (Frimpong, 76), Emanuelson, Enoh, Berbatov, Petric (Frei, 82), Ruiz
Subs not used: Etheridge, Richardson, Hughes, Manolev

Booked: Senderos, Ruiz

CHELSEA: Cech, Ivanovic, David Luiz, Terry, Bertrand, Ramires (Mikel, 75), Lampard, Mata (Ba, 80), Moses, Hazard (Oscar, 69), Torres Subs not used: Turnbull, Azpilicueta, Benayoun, Ake
Goals: Luiz 30, Terry 43, 71

Booked: Ivanovic

Att: 25,002

Referee: Mike Dean

Source .
Since 1998
"It's been updated!"