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By Chris Bevan
2221: This is where I will have to love you and leave you on Valentine's Day. A strange old game ends goalless at Craven Cottage with Chelsea dominating but ending up being pleased with a point when Petr Cech saves a last-gasp Fulham penalty.
will be with you on Tuesday for the return of Champions League football with AC Milan hosting Tottenham. Man City are in action in the Europa League and Birmingham play Newcastle in the Premier League too. Enjoy, and I will see you very soon.
Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti on his side's 0-0 draw with Fulham: "We played a good game tonight and deserved to win. We could have lost at the end but that is football. We had lots of chances, though and the performance and spirit was good." On Fernando Torres' performance: "He is learning to play with the team and he a lot better than he did against Liverpool. I took him off so I could use the pace and power of Didier Drogba. They can play together, but in some games we need to use more of the width of the pitch like we did in the second half tonight."
FULL-TIME Fulham 0-0 Chelsea Mark Ashenden
reports: "Quietness for 93 minutes and then drama. Clint Dempsey hauled down by David Luiz and then misses penalty. Lucky I was still awake to see it. A point no good for either team really."
Jordi1984 on Twitter:
" You have to say that for all his undoubted talent, David Luiz does look like he could be a bit error-prone."
Jordi sent this before Luiz gave away that penalty by the way. Yes, the Brazilian was caught out then, and a couple of other times when he tried to bring the ball out of defence, but let's remember it was his first Premier League start.
odone02 on Twitter:
"Same old story...plenty of possession, no end product for Chelsea. Essien a pale shadow of his former self."
From Joseph in London via text: "Definitely a point gained rather than two lost for Chelsea after that Cech penalty save at the death!"
2203: Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech, who saved a last-minute penalty to secure a point at Fulham: "We were chasing the game and went for the winner. In the last few minutes the game was wide open and in the end, after conceding a last-minute penalty, we are happy to have a point. For the title, at this moment, a point is too little. We are far off now because we have dropped points but there is still a long way to go."
2159: Not the greatest game in the world, I grant you. But what a finish. And I should apologise to Fulham's Moussa Dembele, who had been subbed before he got booked (according to me). It was Zoltan Gera who got a yellow. Chelsea's title hopes? Disappearing fast.
2155: FULL-TIME Fulham 0-0 Chelsea
2154: Still time for one last Fulham attack. They've been saving these up. Chris Baird curls in a cross from the right but it is just too far in front of Clint Dempsey. The final whistle goes soon afterwards.
Fulham missed penalty: What the!? Late, late drama at Craven Cottage. David Luiz mistimes his tackle on Clint Dempsey in the box - that's a trip and that's a penalty. Dempsey takes it himself but his low shot is too near to Petr Cech. Dempsey reaches the rebound too but acrobatically hooks it over. A golden chance to win it, missed.
2152: MISSED PENALTY (Dempsey)
2151: PENALTY to Fulham
2150: Zoltan Gera is booked for standing in front of a Chelsea free-kick. We are into added time, of which there will be three minutes.
2149: Fulham have had to defend for most of the last 45 minutes but they almost snatch the points at the death. Zoltan Gera pings in a cross from the left and Simon Davies, running in, sees his flicked header fly just over.
2148: Two minutes of the 90 to go. A draw would leave Chelsea 12 points behind leaders Manchester United and in fifth place in the Premier League.
From Rob in Londonderry, via text: "As good as David Luiz appears to be, his real strength is that he looks like Sideshow Bob. Intimidating."
2145: David Luiz is just showing off now. When his initial cross is blocked he meets the dropping ball with an overhead-kick cross right into the danger zone. Salomon Kalou heads over, though, and Fulham are still holding out at 0-0.
2142: With less than 10 minutes to go, Fulham make a double switch. Ex-Chelsea striker Eidur Gudjohnsen comes on for Moussa Dembele, and Zoltan Gera replaces Danny Murphy.
2141: Ramires, again, lets fly but shoots straight at Mark Schwarzer. It's not all one-way traffic, though. Fulham break forward, and Clint Dempsey forces a decent block from Petr Cech with an angled snap-shot.
2140: Fuham survive again. Just. Didier Drogba shrugs off Chris Baird near the bye-line and fires the ball across the face of goal. Nobody there to meet it, though.
2138: Desperate defending by Fulham, with Steve Sidwell doing superbly to ease Frank Lampard off the ball as he prepares to slam home Didier Drogba's knockdown. Chelsea's attacks are relentless but still the breakthrough won't come.
2137: At last Chelsea get the ball wide and fire in a dangerous cross. Frank Lampard gets a second bite of the cherry after his corner is cleared and his next cross from the right is a corker, and only just eludes Michael Essien, who gets the merest of touches at the near post. If he had met that with his head and not his hair, that would have been 1-0.
2136: Chelsea, for all their second-half possession, have really been limited to shooting from distance. Usually by Ramires, and usually hopelessly wide. This time Michael Essien has a go... but fares no better.
2135: Better by Fulham, who dink some lovely passes in and around the edge of the Fulham area... but Damien Duff just cannot shape himself to shoot when the ball is played out to him.
OptaJoe on Twitter:
"37 - Fernando Torres made 37 touches v Fulham, eight more than he did on his Chelsea debut v Liverpool. Progression."
2132: Extra shooting practice for Chelsea tomorrow - Frank Lampard and Ramires both scuff efforts well wide. And a change for Fulham. Simon Davies replaces Andy Johnson.
2131: It is a good time for Didier Drogba to come on: Chelsea are all over Fulham at the moment and the Cottagers have pulled everyone back behind the ball.
2129: Another chance comes and goes for Chelsea, when David Luiz heads over when unmarked from a corner. Anyway, here comes Didier Drogba... replacing Fernando Torres with 20 minutes left for him to prove a point to Carlo Ancelotti.
2128: Big shouts for a Chelsea penalty when Florent Malouda goes down under a challenge by Brede Hangeland after chesting down Ashley Cole's cross inside the area. The Blues have a point too. Hangeland, very clumsily, barged him over and was nowhere near the ball. Referee Mike Dean says no, though.
2126: Chelsea are bossing it a bit now, with David Luiz and Ramires dominating in defence and midfield. It is still not happening for them up front, though. Florent Malouda has just sent a shot whizzing wide of Mark Schwarzer's left-hand post but it was one of those that looked nearer at first glance - replays showed it was a few yards wide.
2125: Here comes Salomon Kalou for Chelsea, and it is Nicolas Anelka who is coming off. There are 25 minutes of the 90 to go and it is still goalless at Craven Cottage. It's not exactly been a thriller so far, has it?
2123: Fulham's turn to produce some top-drawer defending, with Chris Baird nicking the ball off Florent Malouda inside the box. The Cottagers break quickly and Carlos Salcido lets fly from 30 yards out. It was on target but easily saved by Petr Cech.
2121: Nicolas Anelka is more central now but not having much more joy. Will be interesting to see who Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti brings off.
2120: Chelsea are about to make a change... time for Didier Drogba? Nope, it's Salomon Kalou who is set to come on.
2119: Chelsea defender David Luiz times a sliding challenge to perfection, flying in to nick the ball away from Clint Dempsey who is chasing a ball into the box. Risky, because if he got that wrong it was a penalty. But classy, because he didn't.
2118: Fernando Torres may be having a frustrating evening but at least he is being played in his best position, and is able to work his way into this game. Anyway, rant over. Fulham are on the ball at the moment, for the first time in a while.
2115: Whatever you think of his attitude at times, Nicolas Anelka remains a top-class striker. Which is why I can never work out why Carlo Ancelotti is playing him so far out on the right, and so deep too. He is utterly ineffective. Reminds me of when Johan Cruyff played Gary Lineker on the wing for Barcelona. One word: waste.
2113: Chelsea are enjoying a lot more possession at the moment but still no end-product. Ramires tries his luck from 30 yards but his bouncing low shot is never going to beat Mark Schwarzer.
From Dave in Kent, via text: "Maybe David Luiz's hair will score a hat-trick in the second half!"
2110: It's just not Fernando Torres' night so far. He cuts in from the left and makes space for a shot inside the area... but skews it high and wide. Still plenty of time for his luck to change, though.
2109: Danny Murphy is caught napping not once but twice and Mark Schwarzer gets him out of a hole when he has to pick up his back-pass with Fernando Torres lurking. Steve Sidwell, strangely, gives the ball straight to Chelsea and allows them to take the indirect free-kick quickly on the edge of the area... but Frank Lampard is eventually crowded out.
2107: Chelsea are first to attack. Ramires gets down the right and his cross is met by Fernando Torres, who cannot quite get over the ball with his header. The ball flies over, but that wasn't far away.
From Rich in Stoke, via text: "Was David Luiz's pass a 'glorious ball over the top' or route one football? Depends which team does it!"
2103: Fulham get the second half under way. Let's make it a lively one please...
2102: Didier Drogba is going to have to wait a bit longer to make an appearance tonight. No changes from Chelsea or Fuham at the break.
2058: In terms of width, Chelsea are essentially relying on Branislav Ivanovic and Ashley Cole to bomb down the flanks and fire in the crosses... but too often they are too deep when they do send balls into the box. It's not all bad news for the Blues, though, because I've just seen that lofted David Luiz through-ball for Fernando Torres again. Inch-perfect, and deserved a goal on it's own. Torres chested it down OK but it was his next two touches (off his knee and toe) that let him down. Badly.
From George in Ballymena, via text: "Chelsea to finish outside the top four at this rate. Ancelotti gone in the summer. How's that for a team in transition Torres?"
Zain_Patel on Twitter:
"Chelsea don't have any width and Torres doesn't even look like he's worth £5m! David Luiz looks like a good player though."
2052: I like the look of David Luiz but WHAT is wrong with Chelsea at the other end? Down to formation, form or team selection? Didier Drogba will no doubt argue the wrong players are on the pitch... that was a good half to be sitting on the bench.
2048: HALF-TIME Fulham 0-0 Chelsea Mark Ashenden's
HT snapshot: "If this match was a Valentine's date I'd have downed my pint and headed home on my own. Key words - scrappy, sticky surface, and stinky stuff from Torres. Tight."
2047: Oh dear. That should be 1-0 to Chelsea, and just before the break too. The two new boys link up, with David Luiz's glorious ball over the top finding Fernando Torres running clear... but he takes an awful touch and the ball runs through to Mark Schwarzer. Not a night to remember for him, so far.
2045: Here's Fernando Torres again, running at the Fulham defence this time and rounding Chris Baird before cutting inside. He makes space for a shot but it's a rather tame effort, sort of poked through at Mark Schwarzer, who saves easily.
2043: Branislav Ivanovic was booked for that shirt-tug at 2040 and Fulham's Steve Sidwell has just become the latest player to collect a (non-Valentine's Day) card from Mike Dean for tripping Michael Essien.
2042: A sniff for Fernando Torres who has been virtually anonymous so far. Frank Lampard finds him with a diagonal ball into the box after Danny Murphy is caught in possession. Torres is running away from goal anyway, but Chris Baird is across to cover for Fulham. Four minutes left until the break and it is still 0-0.
2040: A lucky escape for Chelsea. Referee Mike Dean spots Branislav Ivanovic is tugging on Moussa Dembele's shirt... but awards a free-kick on the edge of the box when replays suggest the offence took place inside the box. Danny Murphy bends in the free-kick but Petr Cech, again, is first to it.
2036: Fulham's turn to put together a neat passing move. It ends with Chris Baird crossing from the right but it is cleared before it reaches Clint Dempsey. By the way, former Fulham favourite Roy Hodgson is also at the Cottage. Lots of love for the new West Brom boss here, I bet.
pthomas22 on Twitter:
"Re 2028. Could Mourinho be there to watch Drogba with a view of taking him to Real Madrid in the summer transfer window?"
From Marc in Norfolk, via text: "Re 2028. Most of the cards will have been in his own handwriting."
2034: More half-chances for Chelsea. Florent Malouda has a pop that flies over Mark Schwarzer's bar but the Fulham keeper is soon called into action. Branislav Ivanovic is trying to find Fernando Torres with a cross from the right but it is dropping under the bar until Schwarzer tips it over.
2032: Chelsea new-boy David Luiz is not lacking confidence, or ability, so far. He is already directing the Blues defence and likes to bring the ball out himself too by the look of things. He runs into a spot of bother this time, though, as Moussa Dembele nicks the ball off him but the visitors have enough men back to cover.
2029: Chelsea's best effort so far. Nicolas Anelka pulls out wide and links up with Branislav Ivanovic on the right. He sends over a cross which is met by Frank Lampard, who tries to sweep the ball home from near the penalty spot but ends up lifting it just over the bar. Close but no cigar.
2028: If you haven't already heard, former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is at Craven Cottage tonight. I'm betting the Real Madrid coach did not go short of Valentine's cards today.
2026: At last, a shot on target. Damien (NOT David) Duff has a pop for Fulham from 25 yards... it's a dipper but doesn't really have the power to trouble Petr Cech, who fists it away. Duff, who is looking lively against his former employers, sends over another corner soon after but Cech - again - collects.
2024: A bit of pressure by Fulham, well a corner anyhow. Danny Murphy swings it in but Petr Cech catches it under his bar... and launches a counter-attack. Murphy should clear up but puts his side in more trouble with a wayward pass. Scrappy, scrappy, scrappy so far.
OptaJoe on Twitter:
"31% - In his time at Liverpool, just 31% (20/65) of Fernando Torres' PL goals came in away games. Imperfection."
2018: Fernando Torres has had a quiet start to the game, well apart from being loudly cheered by the Fulham fans every time he is tackled anyway. He combines well with Ramires here, though, teeing up Frank Lampard for another shot from the edge of the box. This time it is deflected wide and the resulting corner comes to nothing.
2016: I have no idea who David Duff (2008, now changed) is either. Damien's brother?
2014: Lots of touches by Chelsea but not much penetration at the moment. Not much width, either, if Branislav Ivanovic doesn't get forward.
2013: Damien Duff crosses from the right but Petr Cech is off his line to collect it easily enough. I meant to tell you - give this page another manual refresh and you can listen to commentary on BBC Radio 5 live (in the UK).
2011: Chelsea are soon back on the attack, though, but it fizzles out when Frank Lampard scuffs his shot from the edge of the area. He can be lethal from there, when he is meeting a loose ball with a first-time shot... but not on this occasion.
2010: Fancy footwork by David Luiz, who also has amazing hair. Worth £21m on its own, that barnet. Anyway, on the pitch, Chelsea still have the ball and Branislav Ivanovic sends over a cross that John Terry nods down at the back post. Florent Malouda is lurking, but Fulham clear their lines.
2008: You want a chance? Here's a chance. Damien Duff gets down the right and sends over a tempting bouncing cross, which David Luiz just about reaches in time as Andy Johnson meets it at the near post. That's a corner... which is easily cleared by the Blues.
2006: We are still waiting for our first meaningful attack. Fulham's Clint Dempsey tried his best but was muscled off the ball by Branislav Ivanovic after trying to run round the Chelsea defender. Nothing doing there.
From Paddy via text: "Re 1938. The right decision for me. Drogba with a point to prove is often a more effective Drogba and trying to incorporate everyone clearly didn't work last time out... "
2003: Noisy. That's how I'd describe the first couple of minutes at the Cottage. Nobody has really settled down yet, although David Luiz has already had a few touches of the ball for Chelsea.
2000: Here we go. Chelsea get us started.
1957: Ah, here come the players, emerging from the corner of the Craven Cottage pitch. Kick-off will follow very shortly.
1956: If Chelsea win tonight, they are still 10 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester United. If they lose? Curtains for their hopes of retaining their title, surely?
Infostrada Sports on Twitter:
"Chelsea have not won any of their 3 PL matches this season without Drogba in the starting line-up; 1 draw 2 defeats."
From Jake via text: "Trust me, Torres always plays best as a lone striker. 4-4-2 has never been Torres' best formation, whether at Atletico, Liverpool or Spain (Villa was Spain's main man at the world cup). Ancelotti is on to something. Although dropping Drogba is still brave!"
1952: Let's manually refresh to get rid of that horrible coding shall we? Thanks...
Fulham boss Mark Hughes on his side's chances against neighbours Chelsea: "We're on a good run at home - playing well and winning games, and we've got our cutting edge back too. I don't think our record is great against them but tonight is a good time to change that. We're full of confidence."
1949: Plenty of great performances to choose from for Ronaldo then, but we cannot look back on his career without reflecting on his biggest no-show. Does anyone really know what happened
before the 1998 World Cup final?
Just him, I suppose...
1938: Speaking of strikers, what do you reckon about Didier Drogba's demotion to the bench? Time for Fernando Torres to justify that £50m price-tag too because, currently, Chelsea's most in-form striker is...
on loan at Bolton.
From Tom in Romsey, via text: "Re 1925. The 2002 world cup final, what a brilliant performance, scoring two goals against the best keeper in the world at the time, Oliver Kahn."
From Matt in Thanet, via text: "Re 1925. Need anybody mention THAT Ronaldo haircut?"
1933: Looking at their head-to-head history, it's clear that Fulham don't have much luck in meetings with their near neighbours. They have beaten Chelsea just once in their last 28 meetings, over the past 31 years. That solitary victory came in 2006, when
Luis Boa Morte bagged their winner at the Cottage.
Mr_MichaelSmith on Twitter:
"Call me romantic but I fancy Fulham to do it tonight & I'm going for Duffer to score the winner against his former club!"
FULHAM v CHELSEA (2000 GMT) Mark Ashenden
reports: "What are we doing watching the football on Valentino day? I love my job more than anybody in my life, that's why. What's your excuse? Fulham are flying up the table - one loss in eight - and will fancy their chances of causing a few Chelsea tears on this special night. Can the Blues get the three points to jump back into the top four? Will Fernando Torres produce the fireworks? So many questions. Let the battle commence."
Fulham v Chelsea line-ups Fulham: Schwarzer, Baird, Hughes, Hangeland, Salcido, Duff, Sidwell, Murphy, Dempsey, Johnson, Dembele. Subs: Stockdale, Kelly, Pantsil, Gera, Gudjohnsen, Greening, Davies. Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, David Luiz, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Essien, Lampard, Anelka, Torres, Malouda. Subs: Turnbull, Drogba, Mikel, Ferreira, Kalou, McEachran, Sala. Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)
From Kiya at Craven Cottage, via text: "Sitting next to a couple at the Cottage and there are tempers fraying already; the man reckons Chelsea will sail past Fulham but his partner seems to think Fulham have a chance. Electric atmosphere already Chris."
1925: Just time before kick-off to celebrate the career of one of THE greats of the game, Ronaldo... who
announced his retirement today at the age of 34.
I am 18 days older than the great Brazilian, and felt a tiny bit older today - it's not right when footballers who are younger than you call it a day, is it? Anyway, what's your favourite memory of the ex PSV, Barcelona, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Corinthians striker?
Quite a few to choose from...
FULHAM v CHELSEA TEAM NEWS Mark Ashenden
reports: "Fulham make one change from last weekend's draw with Aston Villa, bringing in Carlos Salcido for John Pantsil. Chelsea leave Didier Drogba on the bench, but recall Ramires and hand a first Premier League start to £21m defender David Luiz."
OptaJoe on Twitter:
"57 - Fulham have gone 57 PL games without a red card, the next longest current run is Blackpool on 24. Peaceniks."
1915: BREAKING CHELSEA TEAM NEWS Nicolas Anelka, Fernando Torres and Florent Malouda all start. Didier Drogba is on the bench. More on that in a tick.
MarkatCIFF on Twitter:
"Having a flying visit here in Berlin from my other half who lives in London. All I need now is Chelsea win to make today perfect."
1911: Things get started at Craven Cottage at 2000 GMT but I want you to get involved immediately. Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
ask me a question direct
or text me via 81111 (UK). I'm waiting...
1908: Let's press on. Given today's supposed romantic significance, I'm guessing that some Chelsea/Fulham/neutral fans might be getting a hard time for attending/following this evening's big west London derby... but you won't get any criticism here. In fact, I'd be delighted if you spent the next three hours or so with me.
1904: ... cynical, moi? Never. Both can make your heart soar (or sink) too of course, and inspire plenty of passionate gestures. On that note, I should warn you that my Valentine's Day last year involved a
dirty great row
(between Neil Warnock and a linesman, not me and my other half, just in case you can't click on that link).
1901: Over-hyped and over-commercialised, not to mention over-priced. Hmmm, maybe Premier League football has got more in common with Valentine's Day than I thought...
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