Chelsea captain John Terry scored a brace as his side beat Fulham 3-0 in the west London derby at Craven Cottage on Wednesday night, but the highlight of the night had to be David Luiz’s 35-yard screamer.
The Blues move into third place in the Premier League one point ahead of Arsenal with a game in hand still to play over the Gunners, who dropped two points against David Moyes’ Everton side last night.
There was a slow start to the game tonight and you had the sense that the Cottagers would rue Bryan Ruiz missed a chance early on, and Luiz made sure they did. Just after the half-hour mark the Brazilian unleashed a stunning strike to put the away side 1-0 up, a contender for goal of the season?
Fulham came fairly close after going behind as they continued to try and press Chelsea. Petr Cech made a good save from an awkward Urby Emanuelson effort which was deflected on-route to goal. Slow-moving Dimitar Berbatov also saw an effort go wide of the post.
Rafael Benitez’s side have rarely looked good when under pressure this season, especially against sides they’re expected to beat, and they have been guilty of letting leads slip away from them in recent months, but that wasn’t the case here as they looked comfortable and doubled their advantage just before the break.
The suicidal Fulham defence allowed Terry, of all people, space towards the far post and the defender made the most of the opportunity as he connected with Juan Mata’s sublime cross after sneaking behind a sleepy Philippe Senderos.
Martin Jol’s side almost got back into the game immediately but Ruiz decided to just fall over rather than going over Terry’s outstretched leg in the box and it earned the Costa Rican a yellow card. Their best chance thereafter came on the 70th minute when Senderos’ header looked destined for the net only for Mladen Petric, who was offside, denied his own team a goal by getting involved in the play and even then he managed to miss from all of two yards.
Terry killed Fulham off when he made sure Fernando Torres’ header went over the line and put Chelsea up 3-0 in the 71st minute. With a comfortable lead Benitez gave a breather to Eden Hazard, Ramires and Mata when they were replaced Oscar, Mikel and Ba over the latter stages, but Frank Lampard still couldn’t find that elusive 201st goal despite seeing out the 90.
Fulham: Schwarzer; Riether, Senderos, Hangeland, Riise (Rodallega 67); Ruiz, Enoh, Karagounis (Frimpong 77), Emmanuelson, Berbatov, Petric (Frei 82). Subs not used: Etheridge, Richardson, Hughes, Manolev.
Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Bertrand; Ramires (Mikel 75), Lampard; Hazard (Oscar 68), Mata (Ba 80), Moses; Torres. Subs not used: Turnbull, Azpilicueta, Benayoun, Ake.