Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Monday February 14 2011
In a drab, at times, West London derby, Fulham missed a great late chance to take all three points.
Mark Hughes pulled one possible surprise with his starting eleven selection. Following his third own goal of the season, John Pantsil was dropped to the bench with Carlos Salcido coming in and Chris Baird switching flanks.
The ex-Chelsea duo of Damien Duff and Steve Sidwell both retained their places in the eleven with another ex-Chelsea player, Eidur Gudjohnsen having to be content with a place on the bench.
The Chelsea manager, in order to accommodate the British record transfer signing of Fernando Torres, elected to demote Didier Drogba to the bench.
Chelsea got the action underway in what was to be a half of few chances. The early exchanges saw Duff win a corner off Luiz but it was easily cleared. Lampard tried his luck from outside the area but his shot went well wide, before, as the action switched ends, Cech claimed a dangerous looking Baird cross.
Pushing forward Ramires saw a shot deflected wide but the corner came to nothing as Fulham drew breath. Dembele`s persistence won a corner but Cech, under no pressure, easily claimed Murphy`s corner.
Duff, trying his luck from outside the area, saw Cech push away the swerving ball before once again, after Duff had won a corner, Cech claimed under no pressure whatsoever.
Clear-cut chances were at a premium, Lampard flashed an effort over the bar, after a decent Chelsea move whilst Dembele flashed a shot wide after Luiz had lost possession.
Schwarzer pulled off a top notch save after Ivanovic saw his cross drift towards the top corner. As half time approached Fulham could have gone behind after Luiz brought the ball out of defence only for his long ball to Torres saw the Spaniard lose the ball after it hit his chest, knee and shin.
The second half saw Fulham concede possession to our visitors big-time but Chelsea rarely troubled our resolute defence. Early on Torres headed over a Ramires cross before a poor pass form Murphy was deemed as a back-pass but Chelsea cocked up the resulting free kick.
Schwarzer saved a long range shot from Ramires before Salcido forced Cech into a save also with a shot from distance. Fulham continued to defend well, Hughes conceded a corner but Luiz could only head over. Schwarzer saved well from Ramires before Dempsey forced a save from Cech.
Hughes threw on Gudjohnsen, Davies and Gera and Fulham started to look lively with a Gera ball in seeing Davies head over. With three minutes of stoppage time announced Fulham should have taken the points. Luiz was penalized for a foul on Dempsey and Mike Dean pointed to the spot.
Dempsey stepped up but his poor spot-kick was saved by Cech and the chance to take all three points had gone.
Date:Monday February 14 2011
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