When your strikers, Fernando Torres in this case, can only score when there’s a full moon outside, you have to rely on other players to deliver the good. While Chelsea usually rely on Frank Lampard or the creativity of Juan Mata and Eden Hazard to provide goals, for once it was about the centre backs, as David Luiz and John Terry came through with the finishing touch.
Rafa Benitez keeps warning his players that the Champions League spot isn’t clinched yet. Looking ahead at the matches Chelsea still have to play – at Anfield against Liverpool and at Old Trafford against Manchester United, being only three points ahead of Tottenham (fifth) and one point ahead of Arsenal (fourth, played one match more), that statement is quite true, with the Europa League semifinal also “bothering” him along the way.
A tricky visit to Fulham became a lot more comfortable by one stunning strike from David Luiz with one of the goals of the seasons. Luis is known as one to use his hammer of a foot from time to time, but this one, from more than 30 meters out, has to be his greatest goal since arriving in the Premier League, in a season which proved that he is the best centre back Chelsea have at the moment, and at least one spot is secure once someone stops playing John Terry.
While leadership does account for something, Terry has done more harm than good more than once this season. His timing and positioning have been off more than once this season and the previous one, and being benched isn’t a surprise considering his ability on most matches. But sometimes, a defender gets himself back into contention by doing what he isn’t supposed to – score goals.
First off a Juan Mata cross, a minute before half time in one of those goals that completely takes the wind out of the sails of your opponents, and then again in the second half, finishing something Fernando Torres started. An assist, or an almost goal as someone next to me said, is pretty much the best you can ask from a striker who needs only one bad match to let his confidence sink back to where it’s been for most of his time at Stamford Bridge.
This match reminded some of the early season, when Chelsea kept winning matches by scoring early and simply weathering the storm. There was no counter-attacking brilliance from Eden Hazard or Juan Mata. Just simple ball movement and possession, killing off Fulham momentum time after time, making sure a very tricky hurdle was leaped over with relative comfort, as the finish line to an exhausting and somewhat disappointing season is getting closer.