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Premiership - Fulham Away 23rd August 2009 2-0


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Chelsea cruise at the Cottage

Fulham 0-2 Chelsea

By Alan McGuinness

Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka struck in either half to give Chelsea a comfortable victory over neighbours Fulham at Craven Cottage as Carlo Ancelotti maintained his impressive start to life at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues continued where they left off against Sunderland in midweek, spraying the ball across the pitch and dominating possession. Fulham’s players found themselves chasing shadows for much of this contest. But despite Chelsea’s seemingly iron grip on possession, Mark Schwarzer was an untroubled spectator for the majority of the first half.

It was Fulham that had the first notable effort of the match - Clint Dempsey turning and hitting a shot over Petr Cech’s crossbar.

A foul by Aaron Hughes presented Chelsea with their first opportunity. Drogba - who scored from a set piece in the Blues’ opening day win over Hull - lurked with intent but it was Michael Ballack who struck. The German’s shot was always rising and didn’t trouble Schwarzer.

The away side’s next two efforts came from unlikely sources - John Obi Mikel and John Terry both trying their luck from range.

Ancelotti would have no doubt been pleased that his side was exerting such a stranglehold on the game, but they had nothing tangible to show for their efforts.

Drogba changed that seven minutes before the break. The Ivorian, judged to be onside, latched on to Anelka’s through ball and dispatched his shot past Schwarzer for his third goal in as many league games.

For the first time this season Chelsea had scored first in a Premier League encounter, and Ancelotti could breathe a sigh of relief as he made his way back to the dressing room.

The second half was a near mirror image of the first, but there was a spell when Fulham put some pressure on Chelsea and the home crowd found their voice. At 1-0 there was still danger for the Blues.

Chelsea weathered the storm and continued their search for the goal that would kill the game. Lampard and Malouda both screwed efforts wide, and Drogba forced Schwarzer into action from a tight angle.

When the second goal arrived, it was a role reversal of the first. This time Drogba turned provider for Anelka, who took the ball past Schwarzer and then tapped it into the net.

Erik Nevland, on as a substitute for Bobby Zamora, hit a shot over the bar as Ancelotti’s side ran down time on a comfortable victory.

Sterner tests are sure to come, but the early signs are promising for Carlo Ancelotti.

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