Match Report: Chelsea 1 – Fulham 1
Our Premier League title aspirations were further dented yesterday by a 1-1 draw with neighbouring Fulham.
Following a tame first half we took the lead early in the second through Juan Mata before the visitors equalised in what turned out to be a frustrating afternoon.
The first effort of the match came from Fulham as Petr Cech needed to tip a Clint Dempsey dipping effort wide. They then tested us again, as Orlando Sa managed to make space for a shot despite being outnumbered by John Terry and David Luiz.
Juan Mata created a chance collecting the ball and lifting a weighted pass to Torres who shot at goal only to be denied by Stockdale from close-range.
Despite the tepid nature to the match, neither manager changed things at half time with us making the breakthrough early in the second on 46minutes.
After creating space in the middle of the park, Mata, played the ball to Romeu who then found Ashley Cole on the left. He whipped in a ball which Torres pushed on to Mata who curled an effort past Stockdale.
Fulham’s first half display was far from outstanding, but Mata’s goal changed the game as they looked to hit back quickly. Bryan Ruiz jinked past Ashley Cole before hitting a low delivery across the face of goal for Clint Dempsey to tap home past an outstretched Petr Cech who looked uncomfortable with players around him.
The first substitution was just after the hour – Malouda a straight swap for Frank Lampard.
The new arrival was involved in making the next chance as John Terry swept the ball out to Sturridge whose shot was tipped over at full stretch by Stockdale. The Fulham keeper then blocked on his line from Malouda’s back heel after Terry had headed the corner on.
On 70 minutes Sturridge was replaced by Didier Drogba. Torres played more on the right with Mata in the middle behind Drogba and Malouda out on the left. Chances came and went but none could be converted.
In the final 10 minutes, groans of anxiety seemed to echo around Stamford Bridge, as Fulham looked to claim what would have been only their fourth point in this fixture in the Premier League.
Stockdale continued to stand strong, first denying Meireles before thwarting Drogba and again as we were awarded a free kick in stoppage time Fulham’s keeper was on hand to rescue his side.
After the game Andre Villas Boas all but conceded that the title race is over for us:-
‘We tried a lot and had good opportunities but we always collided with a brave Fulham defence and David Stockdale who had a fantastic game in goal, we couldn’t get the second goal which would have given us the three points.
Three points from a possible nine have undoubtedly left us with a mountain to climb in terms of our title aspirations”
Next up a home match on Saturday against Aston Villa.
Gill Reeves – CSG disabled rep
• 01 Cech
• 03 Cole
• 04 David Luiz
• 17 Bosingwa – yellow card (Ferreira 81)
• 26 Terry
• 06 Romeu
• 08 Lampard (Malouda 61)
• 16 Meireles
• 09 Torres
• 10 Mata
• 23 Sturridge (Drogba 70)
• 22 Turnbull,
• 19 Ferreira,
• 15 Malouda,
• 20 McEachran,
• 11 Drogba,
• 18 Lukaku,
• 21 Kalou
• 12 Stockdale
• 02 Kelly
• 03 JA Riise
• 05 Hangeland
• 14 Senderos
• 13 Murphy
• 21 Frei
• 23 Dempsey – yellow card
• 09 Sa (Kasami 82)
• 11 Ruiz
• 30 Dembele
• 38 Etheridge,
• 06 Baird,
• 18 Hughes,
• 28 Briggs,
• 04 Sidwell,
• 10 Kasami,
• 20 Etuhu