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Page last updated at 17:01 GMT, Monday, 28 December 2009

Chelsea   2 - 1   Fulham

Didier Drogba
Drogba scored Chelsea's equaliser to spark a comeback that had looked unlikely

By Ian Hughes

Chelsea opened up a five-point gap at the top of the Premier League table as they came from behind to beat Fulham.

The visitors stunned Chelsea by taking the lead after four minutes when Zoltan Gera hooked in from 12 yards.

Fulham then defended comfortably as Chelsea struggled to make an impact but Didier Drogba finally got the equaliser when he headed in at the far post.

And an unfortunate own goal by Chris Smalling handed Chelsea a victory that had looked unlikely for long spells.

For much of the match Chelsea looked short of ideas and out-of-sorts as Fulham produced a performance that was full of commitment and excellent defending.

Ancelotti resolute after beating Fulham

Even without the injured Brede Hangeland, Fulham looked comfortable at the back - until John Pantsil went off injured, and that was perhaps the turning point of the game.

Until then Pantsil had got the better of Drogba in an excellent battle, with the Ivorian striker cutting a frustrated figure.

But in the end Drogba helped give Chelsea the perfect farewell present before he heads off to the African Cup of Nations.

Yet it might have been so different. If ever there was a perfect time for Fulham to play Chelsea, perhaps this was it with the Blues having won only one of their five previous games in December.

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti said after Saturday's 0-0 draw with Birmingham that his side were lacking confidence and that was certainly in evidence.

The Italian made six changes to his line-up but the number of alterations outweighed the number of chances created.

Time and again Fulham easily repelled half-hearted Chelsea attacks.

606: DEBATE
Tue_Blu

Right from the start, Chelsea looked off key and when skipper John Terry failed to head away Paul Konchesky's cross, Gera was on hand to hook the ball in after Bobby Zamora had nodded it his way.

A miserable afternoon for Terry continued when he suffered cuts under his eye and on his cheek after a clash with team-mate Yuri Zhirkov, who will not look back fondly on his first Premier League start.

For all their possession, Chelsea barely forced a save from Mark Schwarzer in the first half - the Australian easily gathered two Drogba efforts, while Salomon Kalou dragged a shot well wide.

And just after the break, Zamora should have punished Chelsea when he intercepted Ricardo Carvalho's backpass but Petr Cech made a fine save.

That might have wrapped up Fulham's second victory over Chelsea in the last three decades, but instead they ended up suffering a 17th defeat.

Drogba gave warning that Chelsea were far from finished when he tested Schwarzer with a fizzing shot.

And it was Drogba who hauled his side back into the game when he exploited the space at right-back, after Pantsil had been forced off injured, and headed in Branislav Ivanovic's far-post cross.

We pushed Chelsea to the limit - Hodgson

It was a crushing blow for Fulham but worse was to follow.

Three minutes later, Daniel Sturridge's cross-shot was beaten out by Schwarzer but it hit Smalling and he put through his own net trying to clear.

Kalou clipped the bar with a shot late on, but the result was already harsh enough on Fulham.

Chelsea, however, will be buoyed by a victory that was achieved when they were far from their best.


Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti:
"The first half was not good, the second half was better - we played with great determination. It was not easy but we deserved the win.

"In the second half we changed our system, put Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou out wide and that was better.

"Drogba not only scored but worked very hard and gave strength to the team. It was good for him and for the team."

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson:
"Chelsea had a lot of the ball and we did a lot of defending but that can happen when you take an early lead.

"It's very disappointing to put in such a great performance and have nothing to show for it.

"It would have been nice to have gone away with a least a point - we pushed Chelsea to the limit and we can consider ourselves very unlucky."

Live text and stats

 

Monday, 28 December 2009

Barclays Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Chelsea 2-1 Fulham FT
(HT 0-1)
  • Drogba 73
  • Smalling (og) 75
  • Gera 4

Chelsea

Substitutes

Fulham

Substitutes

Ref: MarrinerAtt: 41,805
CHELSEA
FULHAM

Possession

  • Chelsea 61%
  • Fulham 39%

Attempts on target

  • Chelsea 11
  • Fulham 3

Attempts off target

  • Chelsea 7
  • Fulham 0

Corners

  • Chelsea 10
  • Fulham 6

Fouls

  • Chelsea 10
  • Fulham 13
  • Final Result
  • Full Time
  • 90:00+4:15 The referee brings the game to a close.
  • 90:00+3:09 Chris Baird delivers the ball.
  • 90:00+1:49 A cross is delivered by Bjorn Helge Riise, save by Petr Cech.
  • 90:00+1:02 Corner taken by Bjorn Helge Riise from the right by-line to the near post, Frank Lampard makes a clearance.
  • 90:00+0:18 Salomon Kalou takes a shot.
  • 89:02 Corner taken by Danny Murphy from the left by-line, John Terry manages to make a clearance.
  • 87:52 The ball is sent over by Bjorn Helge Riise, save made by Petr Cech.
  • 87:08 Danny Murphy delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from left wing, clearance by Frank Lampard.
  • 87:08 Booking Didier Drogba is given a yellow card.
  • 86:52 Didier Drogba challenges Andrew Johnson unfairly and gives away a free kick.
  • 86:40 The ball is delivered by Daniel Sturridge.
  • 84:52 Foul by Joe Cole on Paul Konchesky, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Paul Konchesky.
  • 84:14 Substitution Damien Duff goes off and Bjorn Helge Riise comes on.
  • 83:16 Substitution Ashley Cole is brought on as a substitute for Yuri Zhirkov.
  • 83:05 Effort from deep inside the area by Didier Drogba misses to the left of the target.
  • 79:41 Damien Duff produces a cross, clearance made by John Terry.
  • 78:59 Corner taken left-footed by Damien Duff to the near post, Frank Lampard manages to make a clearance.
  • 78:17 Corner taken by Damien Duff from the right by-line to the near post, clearance made by Frank Lampard.
  • 77:35 Corner taken left-footed by Damien Duff, Ricardo Carvalho manages to make a clearance.
  • 77:05 Damien Duff fouled by Yuri Zhirkov, the ref awards a free kick. Paul Konchesky takes the free kick.
  • 74:17 Daniel Sturridge takes a shot. Save by Mark Schwarzer. Daniel Sturridge provided the assist for the goal.
  • 74:17 GOAL - Chris SmallingChelsea 2 - 1 Fulham An own goal is scored by Chris Smalling. Chelsea 2-1 Fulham.
  • 73:58 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Michael Ballack by Dickson Etuhu. Michael Ballack takes the free kick.
  • 73:28 The ball is delivered by Branislav Ivanovic, Chris Smalling makes a clearance.
  • 72:01 Assist by Branislav Ivanovic.
  • 72:01 GOAL - Didier DrogbaChelsea 1 - 1 Fulham Didier Drogba finds the net with a headed goal from close in. Chelsea 1-1 Fulham.
  • 70:02 Substitution Andrew Johnson is brought on as a substitute for Zoltan Gera.
  • 69:20 Substitution Mikel leaves the field to be replaced by Daniel Sturridge.
  • 68:04 Foul by Clinton Dempsey on Michael Ballack, free kick awarded. Michael Ballack takes the direct free kick.
  • 65:48 Substitution Dickson Etuhu is brought on as a substitute for John Pantsil.
  • 63:49 Substitution Branislav Ivanovic is brought on as a substitute for Paulo Ferreira.
  • 62:26 Mikel takes a shot from just outside the penalty area clears the crossbar.
  • 62:12 Frank Lampard takes a inswinging corner.
  • 61:58 Frank Lampard takes a shot. John Pantsil gets a block in.
  • 61:12 Effort from just outside the box by John Terry goes over the bar.
  • 60:03 The offside flag is raised against Bobby Zamora. John Terry takes the free kick.
  • 59:08 Corner taken by Frank Lampard from the left by-line.
  • 58:51 Didier Drogba takes a shot. Mark Schwarzer makes a save.
  • 58:10 The official flags Bobby Zamora offside. Paulo Ferreira takes the direct free kick.
  • 57:42 A cross is delivered by Michael Ballack, Chris Smalling manages to make a clearance.
  • 57:09 The ball is crossed by Bobby Zamora, Yuri Zhirkov manages to make a clearance.
  • 56:00 Yuri Zhirkov crosses the ball in from the free kick, clearance by Danny Murphy.
  • 56:00 Booking The referee books Chris Baird for unsporting behaviour.
  • 55:41 Chris Baird challenges Mikel unfairly and gives away a free kick.
  • 55:20 Chris Baird is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Petr Cech takes the free kick.
  • 54:00 Frank Lampard takes a outswinging corner.
  • 53:35 Zoltan Gera concedes a free kick for a foul on Salomon Kalou. Free kick taken by Yuri Zhirkov.
  • 52:23 Mikel has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box which goes wide right of the target.
  • 51:16 The ball is delivered by Joe Cole, Chris Smalling manages to make a clearance.
  • 50:55 Paulo Ferreira delivers the ball, clearance made by Chris Smalling.
  • 49:15 Frank Lampard takes a shot from just inside the penalty box which clears the bar.
  • 49:06 Frank Lampard takes a shot. Aaron Hughes gets a block in.
  • 48:33 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Frank Lampard from the left by-line.
  • 48:17 Salomon Kalou takes a shot. John Pantsil gets a block in.
  • 47:44 Free kick awarded for a foul by Bobby Zamora on Paulo Ferreira. Petr Cech takes the direct free kick.
  • 47:14 Yuri Zhirkov concedes a free kick for a foul on Zoltan Gera. Chris Baird takes the free kick.
  • 46:13 Bobby Zamora takes a shot. Save by Petr Cech.
  • 45:55 Salomon Kalou delivers the ball, save by Mark Schwarzer.
  • 45:01 The game restarts for the second half.
  • Half Time
  • 45:00+3:37 The ref blows to signal half-time.
  • 45:00+3:16 Corner from right by-line taken by Michael Ballack.
  • 45:00+2:13 Unfair challenge on Paulo Ferreira by Clinton Dempsey results in a free kick. Strike on goal comes in from Didier Drogba from the free kick, Danny Murphy gets a block in.
  • 45:00+0:10 Foul by Mikel on Zoltan Gera, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Aaron Hughes.
  • 43:18 Ricardo Carvalho concedes a free kick for a foul on Danny Murphy. Mark Schwarzer takes the free kick.
  • 41:02 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Michael Ballack by Paul Konchesky. Michael Ballack crosses the ball, Didier Drogba takes a shot. Blocked by John Pantsil.
  • 40:26 Frank Lampard takes the inswinging corner, clearance by John Pantsil.
  • 39:52 Yuri Zhirkov delivers the ball, clearance by Chris Smalling.
  • 39:11 A cross is delivered by Paulo Ferreira, save made by Mark Schwarzer.
  • 36:54 The assistant referee flags for offside against Didier Drogba. Free kick taken by Aaron Hughes.
  • 36:16 Aaron Hughes fouled by Didier Drogba, the ref awards a free kick. Mark Schwarzer restarts play with the free kick.
  • 35:11 Corner taken by Michael Ballack from the left by-line.
  • 35:05 Didier Drogba produces a cross, Aaron Hughes makes a clearance.
  • 34:06 Bobby Zamora concedes a free kick for a foul on John Terry. Direct free kick taken by Ricardo Carvalho.
  • 33:31 Danny Murphy takes the inswinging corner, Salomon Kalou makes a clearance.
  • 33:09 Clinton Dempsey takes a shot. Save made by Petr Cech.
  • 32:40 The ball is crossed by Paul Konchesky, save by Petr Cech.
  • 32:02 Damien Duff fouled by Mikel, the ref awards a free kick. Aaron Hughes takes the free kick.
  • 31:07 John Pantsil sends in a cross.
  • 28:18 Didier Drogba is caught offside. Chris Smalling restarts play with the free kick.
  • 28:07 Free kick awarded for a foul by Bobby Zamora on John Terry. Direct free kick taken by John Terry.
  • 27:46 Centre by Paulo Ferreira, Mark Schwarzer makes a save.
  • 27:22 The ball is sent over by Michael Ballack, clearance made by Aaron Hughes.
  • 26:23 Michael Ballack challenges Clinton Dempsey unfairly and gives away a free kick. Aaron Hughes takes the direct free kick.
  • 25:24 The ball is swung over by Michael Ballack.
  • 23:39 Salomon Kalou produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that misses to the left of the target.
  • 21:47 Salomon Kalou gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Mark Schwarzer. Mark Schwarzer takes the direct free kick.
  • 20:54 Bobby Zamora gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on John Terry. Direct free kick taken by Yuri Zhirkov.
  • 19:25 Corner taken right-footed by Michael Ballack, clearance made by Chris Baird.
  • 18:44 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Michael Ballack, clearance made by Bobby Zamora.
  • 18:34 Joe Cole produces a cross, clearance by John Pantsil.
  • 17:25 Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Michael Ballack, Bobby Zamora manages to make a clearance.
  • 15:40 Bobby Zamora concedes a free kick for a foul on John Terry. Direct free kick taken by Frank Lampard.
  • 15:08 Paulo Ferreira crosses the ball.
  • 14:35 Zoltan Gera is penalised for a handball. Direct free kick taken by Mikel.
  • 10:23 Didier Drogba takes a shot. Mark Schwarzer makes a save.
  • 9:54 Frank Lampard takes a shot. Save by Mark Schwarzer.
  • 7:12 Free kick awarded for a foul by Danny Murphy on Michael Ballack. Free kick taken by Michael Ballack.
  • 5:43 Didier Drogba takes a shot. Save by Mark Schwarzer.
  • 3:30 The assist for the goal came from Bobby Zamora.
  • 3:30 GOAL - Zoltan GeraChelsea 0 - 1 Fulham Zoltan Gera grabs a goal from close range to the bottom right corner of the goal. Chelsea 0-1 Fulham.
  • 0:59 Zoltan Gera challenges Mikel unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Frank Lampard.
  • 0:00 The referee gets the game started.

Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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Premier League table

Monday, 28 December 2009 21:45 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
Full Premier League table
1 Chelsea 20 29 45
2 Man Utd 19 22 40
3 Arsenal 18 27 38
4 Tottenham 20 20 37
5 Aston Villa 19 12 35
6 Man City 19 11 35
7 Birmingham 20 2 32
8 Liverpool 19 11 30
9 Fulham 19 5 27
10 Sunderland 20 -3 23
11 Everton 19 -6 22
12 Stoke 19 -8 21
13 Blackburn 20 -15 21
14 Burnley 20 -18 20
15 Wigan 18 -18 19
16 Wolves 20 -19 19
17 West Ham 20 -9 18
18 Bolton 17 -10 17
19 Hull 19 -22 17
20 Portsmouth 19 -11 14

see also
Monday football as it happened
28 Dec 09 |  Football
Monday's Premier League photos
28 Dec 09 |  Football
Pantsil awaits surgery decision
31 Dec 09 |  Fulham



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