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March 1, 2014
• Craven Cottage, London
Referee: M. Clattenburg
• Attendance: 24577
J. Heitinga 74'
A. Schürrle 52', 65', 69'
That wraps up our live text coverage of a thoroughly entertaining west London derby clash. My name's Ben Cullimore and it's been a pleasure describing the action to you. Take care!
As for Fulham, things remain bleak as they stay at the foot of the table and without a win in the league since New Year's Day. They face 19th-place Cardiff City away from home next weekend in what surely is a must-win game. Defeat in south Wales could prove to be the final nail in the Cottagers' coffin.
Chelsea hold on and wrap up a massive three points! After a poor first 45 minutes, they came out in the second half looking like a completely different side and dominated from then onwards. A nervy-looking Fulham defence had no idea how to deal with Hazard, who twisted and turned his way through the Cottagers' defence on numerous occassions, and Schurrle was on hand to wrap up the win that keeps Chelsea right where they want to be: at the top of the Premier League table.
FULL-TIME: FULHAM 1-3 CHELSEA
90' + 4'
Ba breaks away on a counter-attack and almost beats Stekelenburg with his shot on goal, but the Fulham goalkeeper parries the attempt away before Ramires sends a follow-up shot over the bar.
90' + 3'
Fulham are finding it impossible to find their way through the mass of blue shirts camped in Chelsea's half of the pitch. Attack after attack has been broken down.
90' + 2'
Ramires darts forward again after a great through-ball by Mikel, and the Brazilian sets up Luiz on the edge of the penalty area, but, despite his best efforts, his fellow countryman scuffs his shot completely and it ends up nearer to his own goal than Fulham's.
90' + 1'
Ramires pushes his way through the Fulham back four before firing at Stekelenburg but the shot is tame and the Dutchman is able to deal with it without any problems.
There will be four minutes of added time.
Fulham win another corner and Dejagah sends it under the nose of Cech, but the goalkeeper is clattered by a multitude of Fulham bodies when trying to claim the ball and wins a free kick.
Stekelenburg launches the ball forward in an attempt to start a push for a second goal, but Chelsea, who have thrown as many men as possible behind the ball, clear the danger once again.
Dejagah is able to redeem himself by crossing in again from the right, but Ivanovic is there to clear the ball away from danger.
Riether wins the ball and sets up Dejagah in a great position down the right flank, but he waits until it's too late to cross and ends up falling over whilst he agonisingly watches the ball trickle out for a goal kick.
Karagounis comes on to replace Parker and immediately tests Cech with a long-range shot, but the Chelsea shot-stopper deals with it well.
Hazard has been phenomenal this game, and the Fulham defence are finding it impossible to deal with him. He darts down the left flank before crossing towards Schurrle, but the latter is unable to score his fourth goal and the ball goes out for a goal kick.
Heitinga clambers all over Torres and gives away a free kick midway inside Fulham's half, but Chelsea are happy to patiently knock the ball around.
John Obi Mikel
It looks as if Mourinho is happy to shut up shop now, as Mikel comes on to replace Oscar for the final 12 minutes.
Fulham embark on another Dejagah-orientated attack. The Iranian beats Azpilicueta and has the opportunity to send a cross into Bent, but the attempt is poor and it ends up going out for a goal kick.
GOAL! Fulham have pulled one back. Holtby whips in a corner which Chelsea fail to clear and Heitinga prods the ball into the back of the net from a few feet out. Poor defending from the league leaders. 3-1!
Fulham try to push forward and end up winning a free kick in a dangerous position just outside the Chelsea penalty area. It's sent it by Holtby and Dempsey attempts to head the ball in from close range, but the attempt lacks accuracy and it goes out for a goal kick.
Chelsea have upped the tempo sufficiently and the result has been catastrophic. The hosts look nothing like the team that were so impressive in the first half, and Magath doesn't look impressed at all.
GOAL! Schurrle has his hat-trick and it's well-deserved. Torres beats Burn to win a header and sets up Schurrle, and the finish proves to be easy. It could be a long final 20 minutes for Fulham if they don't improve their horrendous defending... 3-0!
Fulham look poor at the back, and Schurrle has two good chances to wrap up his hat-trick, but both of them are cleared at the final moment. A third goal will surely end any hope of Fulham picking up points today.
GOAL! And there it is! Chelsea have found their second goal, and it's Schurrle again. Hazard beats Heitinga 25 yards out before waiting for Schurrle's run into the box, and the German slips past Burn to receive a great ball from Hazard before firing past Stekelenburg. 2-0!
It's all Chelsea at the moment, and they're taking advantage of some poor defending by the hosts down the left flank. Another goal could seriously damage Fulham's confidence and effectively kill off the game, even with 25 minutes left to play.
Magath knows that it's now or never for Fulham if they are going to find a way back into this game, so Holtby has come on to replace Kasami.
Hazard exhibits wonderful play again on the left hand side of the Fulham penalty area. He lays the ball off to Oscar, who sets up Cahill, but the Englishman lacks the flair of his aforementioned teammates and his shot clears the bar by some distance.
What a chance for Chelsea! Hazard accelerates past Parker down the left hand side of the penalty area before flicking in a deft cross towards Torres at the back post. The Spaniard rises high but his close-range effort hits Richardson and goes out for a corner.
Things have calmed down slightly now. Fulham look nervous at the back, but determined up front. As for Chelsea, they are pushing hard to double their lead.
Kasami wins a corner kick for Fulham, which Dejagah fires into the centre of the box. It ends up with Kasami again, who tries to pass to a seemingly invisible teammate and the ball trickles well wide of the post.
Fulham are looking sloppy after the goal, and Chelsea are trying to capitalise on that. Torres darts down the left wing and tries to cross into the box, but there are no blue shirts there and the it's poorly hit, resulting in a Fulham goal-kick.
GOAL! Completely against the run of play, Chelsea have gone 1-0 up. Fulham's defensive line is far too high, allowing Schurrle to charge forward from the halfway line and beat Burn with ease before slotting the ball past Stekelenburg. Wonderful play by the German. 1-0!
Fulham have started the second half just as they ended the first; full of confidence and speed when going forward. Riether, especially, has been dangerous down the right flank in the opening moments.
Hazard weaves in and out of the Fulham defence before setting up Schurrle just inside the penalty area. The German shoots towards goal but his attempt is deflected out for a corner. Chelsea try to embark on a multitude of runs into the back but the Fulham defence keep them at bay each time before clearing the ball back into Chelsea's half of the pitch.
Yellow CardPajtim Kasami
Riether takes the throw in and calls for the ball back, before sending a dangerous cross into the box towards Bent. He's unable to convert the chance and Ivanovic then wins a free kick after being taken out from behind by Kasami, who earns himself a yellow card.
Kasami is fouled from behind by Ivanovic and wins a free kick for the hosts. Dejagah aims for Burn but Ivanovic heads the ball out for a Fulham throw-in.
And we're underway once again!
It's been a frustrating afternoon so far for Mourinho. His side have looked second best compared to their west London rivals, and, bar two chances caused by some reckless play by Fulham goalkeeer Stekelenburg, have failed to do much to seriously challenge the hosts' goalmouth.
HALF-TIME: FULHAM 0-0 CHELSEA
45' + 3'
Stekelenburg launches the ball forward to Kasami, who takes on a sleepy Chelsea defence that weren't expecting such a swift counter-attack. They regroup, however, and clear the danger.
45' + 1'
Torres wins a free kick after being taken down by Heitinga. Oscar takes the free kick and sends it towards Torres, who brings the ball down on his chest and fires at Stekelenburg. The goalkeeper pulls off a great save and sends the ball out for a corner, which is cleared by the Fulham defence.
Dejagah beats Azpilicueta before setting up Riether, who whips in a cross from the right. The ball ends with Sidwell at the back post but his shot just clears the bar.
Schurrle can't control Hazard's pass to him and the ball ends up with Dejagah. The Iranian, who has been involved in so many of Fulham's attacking movements today, charges forward but a crowd of blue shirts are there to wrestle the ball from him.
Chelsea give away another free kick, this time after a little scrap between Sidwell and Torres near the halfway line. The ball is lifted forward and ends up with Dejagah on the right wing, but the attack amounts to nothing.
Ramires clumsily fouls Dempsey and gives away a free kick to Fulham 30 yards out. After three dummies, Kasami decides to shoot and drills the ball down low towards the goal but Cech dives down and saves.
Parker takes no prisoners when challengning Schurrle in the centre of the field and sets up a great counter-attack. The Englishman then finds himself with the ball on the edge of the penalty area and puts a wonderful deft pass through to Dempsey, but Cahill, again, dispossesses the American and stops another impressive Fulham attack.
Oscar drives at the heart of Fulham by Riether clears. The ball falls to Hazard who tries to find a way into the penalty area but he's crowded out by white shirts and Fulham eventually win a goal kick.
Yellow CardAshkan Dejagah
Fulham have looked full of life in the last few minutes. Both Bent and Dempsey have charged forward but Cahill has been on hand to save Chelsea.
Oscar fires the free-kick in but a flying header away by Sidwell sends the ball into touch.
Silly foul from Ivanovic near the touch-line, as he pushes Sidwell in the back to give away a free-kick. Dejagah whips in the free kick but it's cleared up the pitch and Chelsea embark on a counter-attack. Richardson rushes back to dispossess Hazard but he shoves the Belgian to the floor and Chelsea win a free-kick of their own just outside the Fulham penalty area.
Oscar, Hazard and Ramires swap passes between one another before the ball ends up back with the Brazilian 25 yards out, but he smashes his effort over the bar and brings a disappointing end to a good move.
Chelsea, and particularly Mourinho, seem to be getting increasingly frustrated with their lack of attacking options. Hazard and Oscar are pushing as far forward as possible to create something but the Fulham defence refuse to be beaten.
Terry makes a Stekelenburg-esque mess of a clearance and loses possession in the Chelsea penalty area, but Dempsey is unable to capitalise on the mistake and the ball goes out for a goal kick. Uncharacterstically nervy moments at the back there for the Blues.
Fulham break upfield with Richardson, who is released positively by Kasami, before the former Man United man whips in a cross that finds Dempsey, who is featuring in his final game for the Cottagers. Good defending from Terry and Cahill crowd out the American midfielder.
Chelsea are on the front foot now and are showing more urgency in attack, but Fulham have got plenty of men behind the ball to deal with the increased amount of pressure.
Hangeland is still having problems after his clash with Richardson and has been forced off to be replaced by Burn.
Risky play by Stekelenburg again! The Dutch goalkeeper takes too long with his clearance, allowing Torres to charge down his kick. The ball richochets off the Spaniard and loops up into the air, before the Chelsea striker brings the ball down and shoots, but Stekelenburg saves well to deny the visitors their first goal of the game. Nervy moments for the hosts...
Hazard is fouled from behind by Riether and a free kick is given, but the attempt is weak and goes out of play.
Hangeland makes his way off the pitch for further medical treatment and the game gets underway once again.
Richardson is back on his feet and seemingly unhurt, but Hangeland is taking some time to recover. He looks dazed and confused, and it's no wonder why.
Richardson and Hangeland are both on the ground after clashing heads whilst going for the same ball in the air. The clash looked nasty, particularly for the big Norwegian.
Another good move up the left wing by Fulham. Kasami breaks away and trips to fire in another cross towards Dempsey, this time across the ground, but Terry is there to cut out the danger.
Panic at the back for Fulham! Stekelenburg tries to clear the ball after receiving a back-pass from Hangeland but his clearance richochets off Torres and almost into the feet of Oscar. Hangeland is just about able to clear the danger, however, and the ball goes out for a throw-in deep into Fulham's half.
A bright start for the hosts. Kasami rushes down the left flank, brushing off Ivanovic's attempts to wrestle the ball away from him, before whipping in a cross towards Dempsey in the centre of the box, but the American's headed effort flies wide of the goal.
And we're off!
The sun is shining brightly as the players make their way onto the pitch. We're just moments away from kick off...
Today's clash is a big one for Magath, who is well aware that his side, who currently sit bottom of the Premier League table, need to start winning games quickly if they are to avoid relegation. A victory against their local rivals would not only be three important points for Fulham but would also give the team a much-needed morale boost, but it's not going to be easy; the league leaders have kept eight clean sheets in their last 11 Premier League games, and haven't lost in the league since the start of December. However, Mourinho did say before the game that, due to his "emotional connection" with the club, he would accept defeat against Fulham if it helped them to avoid relegation, so long as Chelsea went on to win the title. It will be interesting to see if these comments have any effect on the players' mentalities over the next 90 minutes.
As for Chelsea, Jose Mourinho has made two changes, which isn't surprising after his recent outburst about the unfairness of his team being in domestic action just three days after playing in the Champions League. Their back four, unsurprisingly, remains unchanged, whilst Matic and Oscar replace Lampard and Willian in midfield. Torres leads the line again after impressing with an early goal against Galatasaray on Wednesday evening.
Fulham were mere moments away from picking up three vitally important points when they drew 1-1 away to West Bromwich Albion last weekend, and Felix Magath has decided to make three changes to the side that started so promisingly at the Hawthorns for today's clash, which is the German's first home game as the Cottagers' boss. Bent and Dempsey replace Rodallega and Holtby, who both drop to the bench, whilst Kasami comes in for the injured Amorebieta, pushing Richardson to left-back.
Chelsea substitutes: Schwarzer, Cole, Luiz, Mikel, Lampard, Willian, Ba
Chelsea starting line-up: Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Ramires, Matic; Schurrle, Oscar, Hazard; Torres
Fulham substitutes: Stockdale, Riise, Burn, Kvist, Holtby, Karagounis, Rodallega
Fulham starting line-up: Stekelenburg; Riether, Hangeland, Heitinga, Richardson; Dejagah, Parker, Sidwell, Dempsey; Kasami, Bent
First, let's have have a look at how the two teams will line up, starting with the hosts...
Good afternoon and welcome to the live text commentary of today's West London derby between Fulham and Chelsea. My name is Ben Cullimore and I will be guiding you through all of this afternoon's action from Craven Cottage.
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