A John Terry double helped Chelsea secure SW6 bragging rights as Chelsea strolled to victory on Wednesday night.
The West London derby has produced three 0-0 draws in the last five occasions, but there was to be no shortage of action as Terry’s centre-back pairing David Luiz opened the scoring from long-range. The defenders were kept largely free with Fulham attacks scarce, and two more from set-plays means the Blues now reclaim back third place.
After the FA Cup exit on Sunday, Frank Lampard was restored, to play his 600th Chelsea game: he joins an elite club alongside Peter Bonetti and Ron Harris. Meanwhile, fan favourite David Luiz was making his centenary appearance, with Torres leading the line.
Bryan Ruiz had the first chance of the match within minutes as Chelsea were caught napping, but the Fulham Number 11 could only hit his volley wide. Karagounis then hit the bar in an end-to-end match.
It needed that wake-up call to spring Chelsea into action. Frank Lampard’s quest for overtaking the Chelsea goal-scoring record could have been one closer, but Schwarzer was in no mood to lend a helping hand.
It needed something special from Mata and Hazard, but when Luiz comes forward, he can produce a shot of the highest quality, as demonstrated with a fabulous 35-yard drive. It was a shot with precision and power, and there was nothing Schwarzer could do but admire.
Urby Emanuelson looked likely in getting Fulham’s equaliser, but Cech was alert when called upon.
The Fulham back-line was less so when John Terry rose highest for the game’s second. It was Juan Mata’s 26th assist of the season.
To their credit, Fulham huffed and puffed, but the two-goal advantage was always pointing the match towards the Blues. Mata nearly made it three after a Torres cross, but it did not come.
Fulham nearly pegged one back through Senderos towering header, but Petric heroically diverted the ball over the net, with the home crowd angry as much as bemused.
The third for Chelsea came from a second off Terry. Mata’s corner was headed on by Torres, and Terry was a yard from the line to head the ball home.
Oscar, Mikel and Ba came on for Hazard, Ramires and Mata, but 3-0 was job done and Sunday’s match against Liverpool is one to relish for Torres and Benitez.