Premier League
Fulham1Chelsea3

Fulham 1-3 Chelsea

Chelsea pulled four points clear at the top of the Premier League after Andre Schurrle hit a hat-trick against bottom-of-the-table Fulham.

After a goalless first half, it took the German only 16 minutes between his first and third strikes, twice combining with Eden Hazard before being played in by Fernando Torres.

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Best and worst of Chelsea - Mourinho

Johnny Heitinga pulled one back after Darren Bent's clip back from a corner.

But Fulham are five points from safety and have not won in eight league games.

They have not won either of new manager Felix Magath's two games in charge, nor taken three points off a team since a 2-1 victory over West Ham on 1 January.

And though they are only four points adrift of 17th-placed West Brom, their goal difference is 26 worse than the Baggies'.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are unbeaten in 12 league matches since their 3-2 defeat by Stoke in December - and moved further clear at the top after rivals Arsenal lost 1-0 at Stoke.

Liverpool are now the Blues' nearest contenders, Brendan Rodgers's side moving above the Gunners with a 3-0 win at Southampton.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, who was caught on camera appearing to criticise his strikers' lack of goals last week, left Samuel Eto'o out of the squad entirely, starting with Torres up front, but it was Schurrle who did the damage.

After a poor first half, Mourinho and his Chelsea players emerged early for the second period, with Hazard at the centre of everything.

First, his clipped pass over the top played Schurrle in front of Dan Burn, before the German slotted past Maarten Stekelenburg.

The pair combined again when Hazard dinked Schurrle into the penalty area for a simple chance, before Torres repeated the trick, setting up his fellow forward for his sixth goal of the season.

With little else to lose, Fulham pushed on, pulling a goal back after the ball ping-ponged in the penalty area, before Bent managed a sharp pass across goal for defender Heitinga to slide home.

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Chelsea too good for Fulham - Magath

Substitutes Lewis Holtby and Giorgos Karagounis, who replaced Pajtim Kasami and Scott Parker, gave the Cottagers some spark but the damage had already been done.

Earlier, Fulham started well as Clint Dempsey headed over from Kasami's cross, before goalkeeper Stekelenburg's attempted clearance clattered into Torres and bounced to safety.

If the first warning was not enough, Stekelenburg then dithered a second time, with Torres blocking the clearance and having his shot deflected wide.

Fulham captain Brede Hangeland only lasted 16 minutes, replaced by Burn after a nasty clash of heads with team-mate Kieran Richardson.

The first half was largely devoid of quality, Chelsea dominating possession but doing little with it, while Fulham pressed hard, humped long balls upfield and struggled for composure in front of goal.

The Cottagers' best work frequently came down the left, Richardson combining with Kasami, though there was little end product.

Steve Sidwell, Fulham's leading scorer, had a good chance late in the half, but summed up the overall standard of finishing by belting the ball into the crowd.

Moments later, Stekelenburg had to be alert, saving Torres's sharp shot after the Spaniard fired goalwards on the half-turn.

Fulham manager Felix Magath:

"Chelsea were too good for us. They played very well, wanted to win and were the better team. There were some good situations for us in the first half but we are responsible for not playing so well.

"We will not stay up with this kind of defending and need to learn better. The biggest problem was that our captain [Brede Hangeland] was gone after a few minutes. If he could have played the whole game, we could have had a different result.

"You cannot ask for a win against the Premier League leaders, so the next games are the ones we will be looking to win."

See more images from today's games in BBC Sport's Facebook gallery.

Line-ups

Fulham

  • 1Stekelenburg
  • 27Riether
  • 15Richardson
  • 28ParkerSubstituted forKaragounisat 79'minutes
  • 4Heitinga
  • 5HangelandSubstituted forBurnat 16'minutes
  • 24DejagahBooked at 35mins
  • 7Sidwell
  • 39Bent
  • 32Dempsey
  • 8KasamiBooked at 48minsSubstituted forHoltbyat 62'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Riise
  • 6Kvist
  • 10Holtby
  • 13Stockdale
  • 14Karagounis
  • 20Rodallega
  • 33Burn

Chelsea

  • 1Cech
  • 2Ivanovic
  • 28Azpilicueta
  • 21Matic
  • 24Cahill
  • 26Terry
  • 14SchürrleSubstituted forDavid Luizat 87'minutes
  • 7RamiresBooked at 50mins
  • 9TorresSubstituted forBaat 82'minutes
  • 11OscarSubstituted forMikelat 78'minutes
  • 17Hazard

Substitutes

  • 3Cole
  • 4David Luiz
  • 8Lampard
  • 12Mikel
  • 19Ba
  • 22Willian
  • 23Schwarzer
Referee:
Mark Clattenburg
Attendance:
24,577

Match Stats

Home TeamFulhamAway TeamChelsea
Possession
Home42%
Away58%
Shots
Home7
Away17
Shots on Target
Home3
Away8
Corners
Home5
Away4
Fouls
Home14
Away13

Live Text

Match ends, Fulham 1, Chelsea 3.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Fulham 1, Chelsea 3.
Attempt missed. Ramires (Chelsea) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.
Attempt saved. Demba Ba (Chelsea) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ramires.
Attempt saved. Ramires (Chelsea) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by John Obi Mikel.
Foul by Demba Ba (Chelsea).
Kieran Richardson (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Petr Cech (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Johnny Heitinga (Fulham).
Corner, Fulham. Conceded by César Azpilicueta.
Foul by Nemanja Matic (Chelsea).
Giorgos Karagounis (Fulham) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, Chelsea. David Luiz replaces Andre Schürrle.

Substitution

Substitution, Chelsea. Demba Ba replaces Fernando Torres.
Attempt saved. Giorgos Karagounis (Fulham) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Lewis Holtby.
Attempt missed. Andre Schürrle (Chelsea) right footed shot from very close range is too high. Assisted by Eden Hazard with a cross.

Substitution

Substitution, Fulham. Giorgos Karagounis replaces Scott Parker.
Fernando Torres (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Johnny Heitinga (Fulham).

Substitution

Substitution, Chelsea. John Obi Mikel replaces Oscar.

Goal!

Goal! Fulham 1, Chelsea 3. Johnny Heitinga (Fulham) left footed shot from very close range to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Darren Bent following a corner.
Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Branislav Ivanovic.
Foul by Oscar (Chelsea).
Lewis Holtby (Fulham) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Goal!

Goal! Fulham 0, Chelsea 3. Andre Schürrle (Chelsea) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Fernando Torres.
Ramires (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Clint Dempsey (Fulham).
Attempt missed. Andre Schürrle (Chelsea) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.
Attempt blocked. Andre Schürrle (Chelsea) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Eden Hazard.
Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Dan Burn.
Attempt blocked. Andre Schürrle (Chelsea) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Eden Hazard.

Goal!

Goal! Fulham 0, Chelsea 2. Andre Schürrle (Chelsea) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Eden Hazard with a through ball.

Substitution

Substitution, Fulham. Lewis Holtby replaces Pajtim Kasami.
Offside, Chelsea. Andre Schürrle tries a through ball, but Oscar is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Gary Cahill (Chelsea) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Oscar.
Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Kieran Richardson.
Attempt blocked. Fernando Torres (Chelsea) header from the right side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by Eden Hazard with a cross.
Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Branislav Ivanovic.

Goal!

Goal! Fulham 0, Chelsea 1. Andre Schürrle (Chelsea) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Eden Hazard with a through ball.

Booking

Ramires (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card.
goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Chelsea2819633063
2Liverpool2818553859
3Arsenal2818552459
4Man City2618354257
5Tottenham271557350
6Everton2713951148
7Man Utd2713681245
8Newcastle2813411-243
9Southampton281099339
10West Ham288713-431
11Hull288614-530
12Stoke287912-1430
13Swansea277713-428
14Aston Villa277713-1028
15Norwich277713-1928
16Crystal Palace268216-1826
17West Brom2741310-825
18Sunderland266614-1624
19Cardiff275715-2922
20Fulham286319-3421
View full Premier League table

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