Premier League – Chelsea take derby spoils

Chelsea maintained their 100 per cent start to the new Premier League season with a 2-0 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage.

Strikers Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka were on target in either half in what was a comfortable three points for Carlo Ancelotti’s side.

Victory for the Blues saw them join Tottenham on nine points at the top of the fledgling table, behind only on goal difference.

Drogba broke the deadlock on 39 minutes with his third of the season, Anelka slipping the Ivorian through after having received the ball rather fortuitously from Frank Lampard.

There was a hint of offside as Drogba raced in on goal but the flag stayed down and he made no mistake with a typically deadly finish past Mark Schwarzer.

Chelsea dominated possession and Fulham rarely threatened Petr Cech‘s goal, but the points were only made safe when Drogba turned provider to send Anelka through on goal in the 76th minute.

The Frenchman, following the earlier example of his fellow striker, finished expertly, taking the ball round Schwarzer before slotting into an empty net.

Drogba’s opener was the first real chance of the game, and Chelsea’s first shot on target, in what proved to be a tight opening period that offered little by way of goalmouth action.

Fulham set their stall out early with containment clearly Fulham boss Roy Hodgson’s main aim, as the hosts allowed the visitors to come onto them and hoped to hit on the break.

Clint Dempsey nearly succeeded in doing just that after just two minutes, the American firing over the bar on the turn from Zoltan Gera‘s ball into the box.

That proved as close as Fulham were to get as Chelsea flexed their muscles and stamped their authority on the game, albeit in an understated way.

Michael Ballack fired over the bar from a 12th minute free-kick before the German miscued a header from a free-kick with the flag staying down, despite the German clearly being in an off-side position.

Frank Lampard saw a second-half strike at goal easily saved by Schwarzer, but otherwise, the Blues largely failed to create goalscoring opportunities, despite their bossing of the game.

At the other end, chances were even harder to come by as Bobby Zamora and Clint Dempsey – paired in the absence of injured striker Andrew Johnson– struggled against John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho.

Damien Duff, recently signed from Newcastle, made his Fulham debut, but the Irish winger’s impact on the game was minimal. Hodgson will want to see more from his latest recruit in the months to come.

Hodgson will also hope the injury sustained by captain Danny Murphy in the 69th minute does not prove too serious with a long trip to Russian side Perm in the Europa League looming on the horizon.

Mike Hytner / Eurosport