Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

In Pictures: Fulham 0 Chelsea 2

Chelsea climbed to second place in the Barclays Premier League as they preserved their 100% start to the season with an easy win over Fulham in the south-west London derby at Craven Cottage.

Goals in each half from Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka settled the contest in Chelsea's favour.

The Blues have made a fabulous start to the season under new coach Carlo Ancelotti and the scoreline could have much higher had visitors taken their many chances.

Chelsea wasted a chance to punish Fulham as early as the 12th minute when Drogba was brought down on the edge of the penalty area by Fulham captain Danny Murphy.

Michael Ballack elected to try his luck with the free-kick from 25 yards out in a central position but put his effort a yard over the bar.

The Blues had dominated the opening half but had failed to add a cutting edge to their possession.

John Obi Mikel had Mark Schwarzer flinging himself to his right in the 21st minute when the Nigerian midfielder despatched a 20-yard volley towards the top corner. However, fortunately for the Fulham goalkeeper, Mikel's effort flashed wide of the upright.

Fulham responded quickly but a cross from Murphy was easily held by Petr Cech in the Chelsea goal.

The home side had done little to suggest they had the firepower to trouble Chelsea's rearguard.

Chelsea continued to press for an opening goal but their final ball was a disappointment on numerous occasions.

Captain John Terry was an example of their growing frustration when he tried his luck from 25 yards - but Schwarzer was left untroubled by Terry's piledriver as it soared over the bar.

But Chelsea finally broke the deadlock in the 38th minute when a fine three-man move left Fulham floored.

Frank Lampard slipped the ball through to Anelka, who in turn put Drogba in the clear with a clever pass.

The Ivory Coast international made no mistake as he slipped the ball beyond the advancing Schwarzer for his third goal of the season.

It was just reward for Chelsea's first-half domination and a perfect example of how to pass the ball through an opposing defence.

Drogba managed to get clear of the Fulham defence again moments later but he was ruled marginally offside.

Fulham almost fluked an equaliser in the 50th minute when Murphy's deep cross into the penalty area was headed over his own goal by Chelsea defender Ricardo Carvalho.

But Chelsea's domination was soon restored and Drogba almost grabbed a second in the 54th minute when he latched on to a clever lob by Anelka.

This time, however, the Ivory Coast striker was denied at the second attempt by Australian goalkeeper Schwarzer.

Ancelotti's side were in total control and Florent Malouda should have done better when he shot wide on the hour - his angled drive flashing wide the far post.

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson replaced the ineffective Zoltan Gera with Diomansy Kamara in the 62nd minute to loud cheers of approval from the home fans.

The home side just could not keep possession and the frustration of the home fans was all too evident.

Chelsea's neat approach play had everything, guile, surprise, intelligent running off the ball and accurate passing.

The only real surprise of the afternoon was that the scoreline remained 1-0 to the Blues.

Fulham could not cope with Malouda's pace and trickery on the left flank and but for some last-gasp defending from the home side, Chelsea would have increased their advantage.

The Cottagers were dealt another blow in the 69th minute when captain Murphy went off injured to be replaced by Chris Baird.

Chelsea went two goals in front in the 76th minute when Drogba turned supplier for Anelka.

The France international rounded Schwarzer and coolly slotted the ball home to make sure of all three points for Chelsea and preserve their 100% start to the new season.

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