MATCH REPORT: FULHAM 0 CHELSEA 3

Posted on: Thu 18 Apr 2013

Summary
A John Terry brace, coupled with a David Luiz wonder strike, saw the Blues run out comfortable 3-0 winners at Craven Cottage and move above Arsenal into third in the Barclays Premier League table.

The Brazilian set us on our way to a first victory at the home of our local rivals since 2009 with a stunning strike on the half-hour, before the captain headed home just before half-time.

Terry will never score an easier goal than his second - our third on the night - when he headed home from virtually on the goal-line, after Fernando Torres had flicked on a Juan Mata corner.

Fulham threatened at times, but in truth it was a deserved win, our first on the road in the league since January, and we now head to Anfield on Sunday for another massive test in fine spirits.

Team news
Rafael Benitez made four changes to the Chelsea side which lost at Wembley on Sunday, with Frank Lampard returning to the fold to make his 600th appearance for the Blues, becoming only the third player in our history - alongside Peter Bonetti and Ron Harris - to do so.

There was also a recall for Terry, who skippered the side alongside David Luiz, with Branislav Ivanovic moving out to right-back.

Victor Moses was handed a start wide on the right, with Oscar dropping down to the bench, while Fernando Torres led the line.

For Fulham, former Chelsea duo Damien Duff and Steve Sidwell missed the game through injury and suspension respectively.

First half
It was the home side quickest out of the blocks, and they saw a glorious chance go begging inside the opening three minutes when Bryan Ruiz got the wrong side of David Luiz, but only managed to divert his volley over the bar from a dangerous Sascha Riether cross.

The Blues had struggled to settle in the opening minutes of the game with simple passes going astray, but our first attack of any note yielded a decent opportunity. Fulham failed to deal with a Ivanovic cross sufficiently, and as Torres flicked a header into the path of Lampard, Mark Schwarzer was forced into a smart save low down.

It was Moses, rather than Hazard, starting wide on the left, and the Nigerian was struggling to see much of the ball early on as our attacking play tended to go through the Belgian and Ivanovic down the right-hand side.

Eden Hazard in action against Fulham

The Serbian defender became the first player to enter the referee's book in the 18th minute for a high challenge on Mladen Petric, but fortunately for the Blues, Giorgos Karagounis' subsequent free-kick sailed safely into the arms of Petr Cech.

Moments later it was Karagounis who came closest to breaking the deadlock, cutting inside Ivanovic and sending a dipping strike beyond Cech, only to see it crash against the top of the bar and drop over.

It was the first moment of real quality in the game, and though the contest was being played at a high intensity, clear-cut opportunities -at both ends - were proving elusive.

Just before the half-hour mark the hosts again went close, this time through John Arne Riise, while at the other end Moses, who by now had switched flanks with Hazard, fizzed a teasing ball across the face of the goal.

A minute later and the Blues, perhaps against the run of play, took the lead, and in some style.

David Luiz picked the ball up fully 30 yards from goal, and with time and space on his side, the Brazilian fired an unstoppable strike beyond Schwarzer into the top corner of the net.

David Luiz scores against Fulham

It was the defender's fifth goal of the campaign, and one fit to grace any occasion.

More importantly, it was a goal which had given us a crucial advantage, although five minutes later we had Cech to thank for preserving our lead when he displayed fantastic agility to push an Urby Emanuelson strike, which appeared destined for the bottom corner, around the post.

Torres then fired high and wide following a clever ball out from the back by David Luiz as the game began to open up.

Lampard almost deceived Schwarzer with a powerful free-kick from distance as we looked to double our lead, but we didn't have to wait long as three minutes before the break it was 2-0.

Juan Mata, who had been a peripheral figure for much of the first half, received the ball deep inside Fulham territory, and as the Spaniard floated his cross to the far post, Terry rose highest to steer his header beyond Schwarzer.

If the game had taken a while to heat up, it was reaching boiling point as the half drew to a close, and almost immediately from the restart the hosts were appealing for a penalty.

Bryan Ruiz exchanged passes with Karagounis on the edge of the penalty area, and as the forward went past Terry he tumbled to the ground.

The home fans were livid, but Mike Dean stood firm and gave the decision our way, while also booking Ruiz for simulation.

Second half
Fulham unsurprisingly began the second half on the front foot, but though they forced a couple of early corners we managed to deal with them comfortably.

The travelling Chelsea faithful had been in magnificent voice all night, and they were almost rewarded for their efforts shortly before the hour when a wonderful move involving Ivanovic, Lampard and Mata culminated with the latter narrowly failing to get a touch on a delightful Torres cross.

Benitez made his first change of the night in the 68th minute, replacing the impressive Hazard with Oscar, and a minute later Martin Jol's side were denied a goal in comical circumstances.

Ramires in action against Fulham

As a corner was whipped into the penalty area, Philippe Senderos headed towards goal, and with the net about to bulge, Petric somehow managed to divert the ball over the bar, much to the relief of those of a blue persuasion inside the Cottage.

It was a missed opportunity that would prove costly for the home side. The Blues broke at speed, and after a delightful curling effort from Moses was tipped around the post by Schwarzer, Mata's corner was flicked on by Torres and headed home by Terry.

John Terry makes it 3-0 against Fulham

The third goal allowed Benitez to make two more changes, perhaps with one eye on Sunday's trip to Liverpool, with John Mikel Obi and Demba Ba coming on for Ramires and Mata respectively.

Fulham, who had still looked in the game at 2-0, introduced Hugo Rodallega to the action late on, but Cech was seldom troubled as we saw the game out with relative ease.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, David Luiz, Terry (c), Bertrand; Ramires (Mikel 75), Lampard; Hazard (Oscar 68), Mata (Ba 80), Moses; Torres.
Unused substitutes: Turnbull, Azpilicueta, Ake, Benayoun.
Scorers David Luiz 30, Terry 42 and 71
Booked Ivanovic 18

Fulham (4-4-1-1): Schwarzer; Riether, Senderos, Hangeland (c), Riise (Rodallega 67); Ruiz, Karagounis (Frimpong 76), Enoh, Emanuelson; Berbatov; Petric (Frei 81)
Unused substitutes: Etheridge, Richardson, Hughes, Manolev.
Booked Ruiz 44, Senderos 46

Referee Mike Dean
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