Blues and Whites in tight Battle
Written By: Robert Halter
Rafael Benitez was looking to get his first win as Chelsea’s interim manager against injury hit Fulham with the Cottagers last win at Stamford Bridge dating as far back as 1979 but the omens were not good for the Whites as they went into the match short in numbers up front as Bryan Ruiz and Alex Kacaniklic were out through hamstring injuries plus Brede Hangeland’s sending off against Sunderland meant the Whites captains armband went to Dimitar Berbatov in his absence. Chelsea having drawn the past two encounters against their West London neighbours at home were seeking their first Barclays Premier League victory in six games as the Blues tried to get back on track. On just under the half hour mark Cesar Azpilicueta squared the ball to Fernando Torres, who on the turn rifled his shot into Mark Schwarzer’s body. A long ball over the top by Giorgos Karagounis set John Arne Riise free on fifty five minutes but he was unable to steer the ball past Blues captain Petr Cech, who protected the left side of his goal. Ten minutes later, Branislavc Ivanovic sent the ball from the side of his head away from the left post after a Juan Mata corner had opened up the Cottagers defence. Cech pulled off a save at full stretch to deny Riise’s low drive on seventy four minutes as Berbatov and then Kerim Frei combined for the opportunity. Five minutes later, Aaron Hughes had to hook away a Torres shot on the turn to clear the danger for Fulham in a game of few chances. When Azpilicueta’s effort fizzed wide in the final kick of the match, Chelsea had gone a consecutive Premiership encounter without scoring or conceding a goal.