Chelsea moved back into third place in the Premier League as they cruised to a comfortable 3-0 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage on Wednesday.
The hosts looked the better of the two sides early on, but David Luiz’s devastating long-range strike and John Terry’s easy header gave the Blues a two-goal lead at the break – and the visitors never looked back, with the Chelsea skipper adding a second header to kill the game off.
Fulham had the better of the opening exchanges, and nearly took an early lead when Sascha Riether swung in a superb cross from the right, but Bryan Ruiz scooped his effort way over the bar from just a few yards out.
Frank Lampard, making his 600th Chelsea appearance, volleyed straight at Mark Schwarzer before Branislav Ivanovic escaped with a booking for a strong two-footed lunge on Mladen Petric.
Giorgos Karagounis fired over and John Arne Riise shot straight at Petr Cech as the hosts looked the better side, but it was Chelsea who took the lead on 30 minutes thanks to a world-class goal from Luiz, who picked the ball up in midfield before unleashing a stunning 35-yard strike which swerved into the top corner.
Martin Jol’s men nearly restored parity when Urby Emanuelson’s rolled effort was turned behind by Cech before Dimitar Berbatov drilled wide from the edge of the box.
A swerving Lampard free-kick was then forced behind by Schwarzer and the resulting corner was cleared, but it came to Juan Mata who swung in a superb cross from the right and Terry rose unchallenged at the far post to head low into the net and double Chelsea’s lead.
After the break it was again Fulham who started the better, enjoying more of the ball, but Chelsea pressed well and stifled any probes forward from the hosts, eventually creating a good chance of their own as Fernando Torres drove the ball across goal which Mata couldn’t quite reach.
The pace had slowed right down, but a Karagounis corner almost gave Fulham hope as Philippe Senderos produced an unmarked header which was bound for the far corner with Cech helpless, only to see it deflect off Petric and over the bar.
Chelsea immediately punished the Cottagers as Schwarzer turned a low Victor Moses effort around the post, and from the corner Terry bundled Torres’ flicked header into the net from close range for his second of the night.
With the result beyond doubt Chelsea relaxed, allowing Fulham plenty of the ball, but the Cottagers couldn’t find their way through an organised defence and the Blues saw out the closing stages of the game to pick up a comfortable three points.