CAPTAIN John Terry scored twice as Chelsea leapfrogged London rivals Arsenal to go third in the Barclays Premier League with a derby victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Scorers: Luiz 30, Terry 43, 71
Referee: M Dean
David Luiz powered a 35-yard shot into the top corner after 30 minutes and returning skipper Terry headed in a second before half-time to put Chelsea on course for a first Premier League away win in five attempts.
Fulham felt aggrieved when Bryan Ruiz was adjudged to have dived over Terry’s leg in the penalty area before the break and the visitors’ skipper headed in his second of the game midway through the second half as Chelsea climbed a point above Arsenal and three clear of Tottenham.
There was an intensity about the Cottagers, who lost for just the second time in eight Premier League matches, but the decisive moments went Chelsea’s way.
Rafael Benitez’s side are now in pole position for the third automatic Champions League qualifying place with six games remaining – including matches with Manchester United, Spurs and Everton and Sunday’s trip to the Spaniard’s former club Liverpool.
Frank Lampard made his 600th Chelsea appearance in a side showing four changes following Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final loss to Manchester City.
The visitors took the lead against the run of play when Luiz found himself in space and unleashed an unstoppable long-range strike which soared into the top corner.
Fulham had opportunities, with Dimitar Berbatov and Urby Emanuelson prominent. Berbatov shot wide before another long-range Chelsea shot had Fulham in trouble.
This time Schwarzer could only parry Lampard’s free-kick and, from the resulting corner, the Fulham goalkeeper was beaten again. Chelsea played the set-piece short and Juan Mata crossed to the far post for Terry to head in.
Terry was relieved to see referee Mike Dean rule in his favour as Ruiz was booked for diving when going by the Blues defender in the box. Moments later, Chelsea had their third when Mata’s corner was met by Torres, whose powerful header was helped in by Terry.
Fulham: Schwarzer, Riether, Senderos, Hangeland, Riise (Rodallega 67), Ruiz, Enoh, Karagounis (Frimpong 76), Emanuelson, Berbatov, Petric (Frei 82). Subs not used: Etheridge, Richardson, Hughes, Manolev.
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Terry, Luiz, Bertrand, Ramires (Mikel 75), Lampard, Moses, Mata (Ba 80), Hazard (Oscar 69), Torres. Subs not used: Turnbull, Azpilicueta, Benayoun, Ake.