Craven Cottage used to be an extremely difficult away venue, but Chelsea had no problem beating Fulham 3-1 with a hat rick from Andre Schurrle, while Arsenal had their usual problems when they visit Stoke, losing 1-0 from a foolish penalty kick that lands a huge blow to their title aspirations.
While Arsenal were struggling with the direct and physical style Stoke continue to impose and bother them with, Chelsea relied on the brilliance of Eden Hazard and the speed of his frontline, resulting in Schurrle’s best performance since leaving Germany and becoming a Chelsea player and his first hat trick, with some help from Fernando Torres and another solid performance in the middle of the pitch thanks to Nemanja Matic, making everyone around him look better.
Arsenal looked bad, with Mesut Ozil returning to the squad but only coming off the bench for Lukas Podolski, putting in a forgettable performance. It was the usual bland football from Arsenal whenever they visit the Britannia stadium – too slow, too predictable, and an attacking change of bringing Yaya Sanogo on for Jack Wilshere coming too late. It was Sanogo who had a huge miss in injury time with no one bothering him that will resonate in the minds of Arsenal fans, the only really good chance Arsenal were able to create throughout the match.
Stoke? They took advantage of the usual Laurent Koscielny mistake in the box. Something of a brain tick, a short circuit, for some reason raising his hand way up high for the ball to hit it, and give Jonathan Walters a chance to score from the penalty spot.
For Chelsea, who now open a four point lead over Arsenal, it was quite dominant and one directional from the start. Eden Hazard found Schurrle twice with wonderful through balls that beat the very slow Fulham defense in the second half, while Fernando Torres, adding a few frustrating misses to the collection, was the player providing the assist for the third goal while John Heitinga scored for Fulham, unable to help them rise from the last place in the Premier League.