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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 April, 2005, 13:39 GMT 14:39 UK
Chelsea 3-1 Fulham
Joe Cole is congratulated by his Chelsea team-mates after scoring
Chelsea are just two days away from possibly clinching the Premiership title for the first time in 50 years after they overcame plucky Fulham.

Should Arsenal draw or lose to Tottenham Hotspur on Monday night, then Chelsea will be crowned champions.

Joe Cole opened the scoring with a fantastic strike from the edge of the area before Collins John nicked an equaliser for Fulham on 41 minutes.

But goals from Frank Lampard and Eidur Gudjohnsen handed Chelsea victory.

All eyes will now be on events at Highbury where Arsenal must defeat Spurs to keep Chelsea's title celebrations on hold until Saturday at Bolton.

Knowing that three more points would all but seal the league title, Chelsea made the more positive start.

Damien Duff was busy providing his team-mates with an excellent supply of crosses from the left and Cole roamed down the right flank waiting to pounce.

Cole continued his impressive form of late by firing Chelsea into an early lead.

Moritz Volz failed to deal with Glen Johnson's crossfield ball and laid it into the path of Didier Drogba.

The Frenchman passed to Cole, who turned on the edge of the area and unleashed an unstoppable strike past Edwin van der Sar.

Drogba almost made it two but, with his back to goal, his shot flashed just inches wide.

Chelsea failed to dominate after taking the lead and allowed the visitors back into the game.

Fulham accepted the invitation and restored parity just before half-time.

Collins John celebrates scoring Fulham's equaliser
John scored an excellent equaliser

Luis Boa Morte set John on his way with a fine pass but Ricardo Carvalho appeared to have the Dutch striker in his sights.

Carvalho somehow failed to cut out the pass and, with one touch, John applied an excellent finish to steer the ball past Petr Cech.

After the interval, Arjen Robben replaced goalscorer Cole to make his first appearance after a 14-game absence.

And the Dutchman made an immediate impact, speeding down the left flank where he eventually crossed only for Gudjohnsen's effort to be ruled out for offside.

But Fulham could not repel the combined threat of Duff and Robben on the left and fell behind once again to a well-worked goal.

Duff passed to Robben who, after slipping the ball through Volz' legs, laid on the perfect pass for the onrushing Lampard to sidefoot past Van der Sar.

It was the imperious Lampard's 16th goal of the season and Chelsea's 100th of this campaign, and it sparked raucous celebrations at Stamford Bridge.

But Chelsea were not finished and Tiago released Gudjohnsen who coolly slotted past Van der Sar to the delight of Jose Mourinho.

With one hand on the Premiership trophy, Chelsea can now focus on their Champions League semi-final with Liverpool on Wednesday as they look to add the European Cup to the Carling Cup.

  • Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho:
    "A team that plays at 8pm on Wednesday night and then has to play at 1245 on Saturday - it is too much," said Mourinho.

    "Over the 90 minutes Fulham didn't deserve to lose. They had the fresher legs.

    "I think the result we got is incredible and magnificent and down to the players' character - because at half-time they were dead (on their feet).

    "I said to them that the only chance (of winning) was for them to play to their full potential."

  • Fulham manager Chris Coleman:
    "I'm proud of my players and I thought they were outstanding against the champions.

    "I thought our guys played very well. There's lots of positives to take out of the game.

    "I think we pushed them all the way from the first to the last minute.

    "The fact that Chelsea had to change formation three times is testament to how well we played."

    Chelsea: Cech, Johnson, Ricardo Carvalho, Terry, Huth (Jarosik 45), Makelele, Lampard, Cole (Robben 45), Duff, Drogba (Tiago 74), Gudjohnsen.
    Subs Not Used: Kezman, Cudicini.

    Booked: Terry.

    Goals: Cole 17, Lampard 64, Gudjohnsen 87.

    Fulham: Van der Sar, Volz, Knight, Goma, Rosenior, Boa Morte, Pembridge (Malbranque 84), Clark, Radzinski, McBride, John.
    Subs Not Used: Bocanegra, Crossley, Jensen, Rehman.

    Booked: John.

    Goals: John 41.

    Att: 42,081

    Ref: A Wiley (Staffordshire).

    Interview: Fulham manager Chris Coleman

    Interview: Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho

    Jose Mourinho on Arsenal v Tottenham

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