Higuain and Jorginho on-target as Chelsea claim victory at Craven Cottage


Chelsea were the victors in the west London derby after goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Jorginho saw the Blues to a 2-1 win over Scott Parker’s Fulham at Craven Cottage

The hosts suffered an eighth defeat in nine games as Scott Parker’s interim role as the Cottagers’ manager began with defeat.

Higuain put Maurizio Sarri’s side ahead on 20 minutes with a strong effort beyond Sergio Rico after working into space. Calum Chambers restored parity with a bullet header from Ryan Babel’s corner later in the first half, before Jorginho put Chelsea ahead before half-time.

Argentinian striker Higuain threatened early on with a testing header, but it went narrowly wide.

Fulham did look reinvigorated in the opening exchanges, Joe Bryan pulling a long-range effort just wide of the newly-recalled Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Kepa almost gifted Babel a goal when slipping a cross but the Dutch international wasn’t alive to the opportunity.

Higuain gave Chelsea the lead on 20 minutes. After Cesar Azpilicueta got down the wing, the Spaniard pulled a low-driven shot back to Higuain in the box. The on-loan Juve striker got in front of his man to strike powerfully home past Sergio Rico.

An interception from Bryan set Ryan Sessegnon on his way down the left. The young Englishman crossed for Aleksander Mitrovic to volley at goal. The Serbian only denied by a good Kepa save.

The resulting corner saw an equaliser for the Cottagers. An in-swinging cross from Babel found Calum Chambers unmarked at the back post to fire past the helpless Kepa.

They were not level for long however. Hazard picked up the ball on the left and drew players close to set the room for Jorginho on the edge. The Italian curled a beautiful curled effort past Rico to snatch the lead back for the Blues.

Higuain sprung the offside trap a number of times in the first half, firing over a great chance to double Maurizio Sarri’s sides advantage. Rico again denied the Argentine along with Hazard before the break as the teams headed in with Chelsea a goal ahead.

Willian has two chances early in the second half, another goal almost definitely sealing the three points for the blue half of west London.

Mitrovic’s strike flew over the bar around the hour mark as Fulham knew they remained competitive as long as the deficit was only one.

The home side enjoyed a good spell of pressure but couldn’t find the equaliser as the game entered the final twenty minutes. Bryan forced Kepa into a save before a vital challenge from Antonio Rudiger prevented Tom Cairney a chance to level the scores.

Despite the pressure, Fulham failed to create clear-cut opportunities and as time ticked away at Craven Cottage it appeared Scott Parker’s first game as manager would end in defeat.

Substitute Floyd Ayite flicked towards Mitrovic in the box who looked destined to equalise, but Chelsea’s keeper reacted well to punch away.

The 94th minute almost saw Fulham snatch a point but Sessegnon was flagged offside after slotting past Kepa.

That proved to be there final chance as Chelsea took the win, Fulham becoming the first team to lose ten London derbies in a single campaign.

There was certainly positives for Parker but relegation seems to now be looming whilst Sarri knows his team are within touching distance of the top four, closing the gap on the two north London teams after their draw yesterday.

Fulham XI: Rico, Bryan, Chambers, Ream, Odoi, McDonald (Anguissa, 62), Cairney (Vietto, 80), Nordtveit, Sessegnon, Mitrovic, Babel (Ayite, 71)

Subs: Fabri, Le Marchand, Christie, Seri,

Chelsea XI: Kepa, Emerson, Rudiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta, Jorginho (Kovavic, 68), Kante, Barkley (Loftus-Cheek, 78), Willian, Hazard (Pedro, 74), Higuain

Subs: Caballero, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi, Luiz


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