London - John Mikel Obi's first Premier League goal helped end Chelsea's run
of four winless games as they beat west London rivals Fulham 2-0 on
WRAP: English Premiership
Mikel struck six minutes from full-time against Fulham
with a close-range half-volley after Oscar had opened the scoring early
in the second half at Stamford Bridge.
The three points took Jose
Mourinho's team to the top of the table, after a testing period in which
they lost to Bayern Munich in the European Super Cup final and were
beaten by Everton and Basel.
Mourinho made a big statement with his team selection, with Juan Mata and David Luiz left out of the match-day squad altogether.
meant Chelsea had more than 40 million ($64 million, 47 million euros)
of talent sitting behind the bench and not involved in the game.
with three ex-Chelsea players in their midfield -- Scott Parker, Damien
Duff and Steve Sidwell -- had the best of the early chances.
made ground on the right flank and when the ball broke to Alex
Kacaniklic, he crossed for Sidwell to head just over the crossbar.
Bent had a clearer opportunity when Pajtim Kasami played him clean
through on goal, but his tame shot enabled goalkeeper Petr Cech to make a
Chelsea had an early chance through Samuel
Eto'o, who volleyed over from close range as he stretched for Branislav
Ivanovic's cross. The Cameroon striker also had an effort deflected
Eden Hazard had a penalty appeal waved away when he went
down under a challenge from behind by Sascha Riether, with Chelsea
growing into the game and starting to take control.
the interval, Hazard's pass found Ivanovic unmarked and his shot was
saved by David Stockdale and rebounded to safety off Kieran Richardson.
scrappy opener arrived seven minutes after the break. Stockdale parried
from Andre Schurrle and then Eto'o, before Oscar turned the ball in
from close range for his second goal of the week.
have equalised when he was found in the box from a free-kick, but the
ball had only just cleared the head of team-mate Brede Hangeland and
Sidwell looked shocked as the ball hit him and spooned wide.
took off Eto'o for Fernando Torres, while Fulham tried to change their
fortunes in attack by bringing on Adel Taarabt and youngster Buomesca
Tue Na Bangna, another one of their former Chelsea players.
forced a fantastic save from Stockdale when his header from a corner
was acrobatically tipped over the bar by the Fulham goalkeeper.
rare strike also came from a corner, with John Terry heading the ball
down for the Nigeria international to hook home his first Premier League
goal in his 185th appearance.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich,
pictured in the stands, smiled as he celebrated the goal, having looked
less than amused when caught on television earlier in the game.
sides are in action in the League Cup third round on Tuesday, with
Chelsea visiting third-tier Swindon Town and Fulham hosting top-flight