Premier League - Schuerrle hat-trick sees Chelsea extend lead at top

Premier League, Craven Cottage – Fulham 1 (Heitinga 74) Chelsea 3 (Schurrle 52, 65, 68).

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Premier League - Schuerrle hat-trick sees Chelsea extend lead at top
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2014 Premier League Chelsea Andre Schürrle

Chelsea did not need to be at their best as Andre Schuerrle's second-half hat-trick saw the Blues beat Fulham 3-1 at Craven Cottage.

In a battle of top and bottom, Chelsea huffed and puffed their way through the match until Eden Hazard picked out Schuerrle twice in 13 minutes. He twice finished with aplomb.

The Germany winger completed his hat-trick soon afterwards after Dan Burn – who came off the bench to replace the concussed Brede Hangeland – failed to win a header with Fernando Torres, who is seven inches shorter than the young defender.

Burn was also jointly culpable for the opener, as he and John Heitinga tried and failed to play an offside trap on halfway.

Heitinga made some amends as he poked home at a corner, but it was too little too late as Fulham remain firmly rooted to the bottom of the league.

Chelsea, meanwhile, move four points clear after Arsenal’s shock defeat at Stoke.

KEY MOMENTS

3’ – BIG MISS FOR FULHAM: Dempsey, in his final game before returning to the MLS, is unmarked as he meets Kasami’s cross, but heads wide.

13’ – COMEDY OF ERRORS: Stekelenburg takes an age to clear the ball, allowing Torres to block, but the Spaniard dithers to allow the keeper to palm the shot wide.

16’ – HANGELAND INJURY: Concussed earlier from a collision with team-mate Richardson, the Fulham captain has to come off. Burn replaces him…

45+1’ – GOOD SAVE: Stekelenburg tips a Torres shot over after the Chelsea man controlled the ball on his chest.

52’ – GOAL! Fulham 0-1 Chelsea: What on earth are Burn and Heitinga doing? They try and fail with an offside trap on halfway, mainly because Heitinga is in Chelsea’s half and Burn on the left wing. Hazard’s ball is knocked down by Schuerrle, who races away and finishes.

58’ – GREAT SKILL FORM HAZARD: He plays a delightful cross with a rabona flick, but Torres’ goal-bound header is blocked by Richardson.

64’ – GOAL! Fulham 0-2 Chelsea: Schuerrle gets his second after a lovely through ball by Hazard once more. Fine goal.

68’ – GOAL! Fulham 0-3 Chelsea: More terrible defending by Burn who, at 6’7”, allows Torres to beat him in the air. Schuerrle is through, and he completes the treble.

74’ – GOAL! Fulham 1-3 Chelsea: A Fulham corner is poorly defended by Chelsea as Heitinga heads it on to Bent, who knocks it back across goal for Heitinga to finish.

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KEY STATS

Chelsea have now won 100 London derbies, having lost 42 and drawn 69.

Chelsea have now beaten Fulham 15 times in 26 Premier League matches, losing just once.

TALKING POINT

Why did Chelsea buy Mohamed Salah? Jose Mourinho complained about the FA’s fixture pile-up after their midweek trip to Galatasaray in Europe, but Salah – who was cup-tied for that match – wasn’t even in the squad, despite being fresh. Did Chelsea sign him just so Liverpool wouldn’t?

[FULL MATCH COMMENTARY: FULHAM 1-3 CHELSEA]

MAN OF THE MATCH

Andre Schuerrle (Chelsea): Three excellent finishes from the German, who got his first Chelsea hat-trick.

PLAYER RATINGS

Fulham: Stekelenburg 5, Riether 6, Hangeland NA, Heitinga 6, Richardson 6, Dejagah 6, Parker 6, Sidwell 6, Dempsey 5, Kasami 6, Bent 6. Subs: Burn 4, Holtby 6, Karagounis N/A.

Chelsea: Cech 7, Ivanovic 6, Terry 6, Cahill 6, Azpilicueta 5, Matic 6, Ramires 6, Schuerrle 9, Oscar 6, Hazard 8, Torres 6. Subs: Luiz N/A, Mikel N/A, Ba N/A.

THE MATCH IN A TWEET

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