Chelsea blew up a crucial chance on the Boxing Day to move up 3rd place in the Premier League race after a home draw against Fulham 1-1 on Monday. This is Chelsea’s 3rd consecutive draw coming on the back of stalemates against Wigan and Tottenham, which puts a dent in the title hopes.
Villas-Boas restored Fernando Torres and Frank Lampard to his starting line-up, giving both the opportunity to restate their claims to a more regular start after being left on the bench for the Blues’ more important games recently.Torres in particular was unlucky not to mark his return with a goal when he carved out his side’s best chance of the first half after 15 minutes.The striker did everything right after being picked out by a floated cross from his fellow Spain international Mata, cushioning the ball on his chest before hooking an acrobatic volley that was superbly saved by Fulham keeper David Stockdale.Torres’s effort came moments after Orlando Sa has spurned a much more clear-cut opportunity to open the scoring for Fulham with the striker heading from just six yards.Those two were the major highlights in the disappointing first-half of the game.
Fourth-place Chelsea opened the scoring within two minutes of the second half. Fernando Torres, making his first league start in almost two months, failed to control Cole’s cross, but the ball fell to Juan Mata, who left-footed it home from the edge of the penalty area. Nine minutes later, Fulham scored just its fifth away goal this season. Bryan Ruiz evaded cleverly from Chelsea’s Ashley Cole and crossed it to Dempsey, who sent the ball past goalkeeper Petr Cech in the 57th minute. It was Dempsey’s 9th goal of the season.
Chelsea is two points ahead of Arsenal, which hosts Wolverhampton Wanderers on Tuesday, and 11 points behind the leaders – Manchester rivals City and United.Malouda confessed that Chelsea title hopes are diminished by saying –
“The key is to focus on achievable goals.
That is to say, to secure third place.“
Chelsea is now preparing for the home clash against Aston Villa on the New Year’s Eve before a trip to Wolves on 2nd January.
Substitutes: Chelsea Malouda 6 (Lampard, 61), Drogba (Sturridge, 70), Ferreira (Bosingwa, 81)
Booked : Chelsea Bosingwa; Fulham Dempsey.
Man of the match: David Stockdale.
Match rating: 5/10.
Possession: Chelsea 59% Fulham 41%.
Attempts on target: Chelsea 15 Fulham 6.
Referee: K Friend
- Dempsey’s goal gives Fulham draw vs. Chelsea (espn.go.com)
- Dempsey goal sends Chelsea to 3rd straight draw (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Chelsea title hopes begin to tumble (vivaafricasports.wordpress.com)
- Fulham condemn Chelsea to third straight draw (ibnlive.in.com)
- Fulham hold Chelsea (thehimalayantimes.com)
- Chelsea 1 Fulham 1: match report (telegraph.co.uk)