Higuain, Jorginho Secure Chelsea Win  (Sky Sports)

Fulham 1  Chelsea 2

Kepa makes a saveScott Parker's first game in charge of Fulham ended in defeat as Chelsea won 2-1 at Craven Cottage to maintain their top-four challenge.

Gonzalo Higuain opened the scoring after 16 minutes for Chelsea, who recalled goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga after he was dropped in midweek following his refusal to be substituted in the Carabao Cup final.

Calum Chambers took advantage of some poor marking to equalise for the relegation-threatened hosts in the 27th minute, but Chelsea quickly restored their lead with a fine finish from Jorginho.

Player ratings

Fulham: Rico (7), Bryan (5), Chambers (7), Ream (5), Odoi (5), McDonald (6), Cairney (6), Nordtveit (5), Sessegnon (6), Mitrovic (5), Babel (5)

Subs: Anguissa (5), Ayite (5), Vietto (5)

Chelsea: Kepa (7), Emerson (6), Rudiger (7), Christensen (7), Azpilicueta (7), Jorginho (8), Kante (7), Barkley (5), Willian (6), Hazard (7), Higuain (7)

Subs: Kovacic (5), Pedro (5), Loftus-Cheek (5)

Man of the match: Jorginho

Chelsea spurned further chances to add to their advantage but held on to secure their first Premier League away win of 2019 and close the gap on fourth-placed Manchester United to two points.

Chelsea also have a game in hand on United, so hold their destiny in their own hands, while Fulham's fate almost looks sealed despite an encouraging second-half display under Parker, who was appointed in midweek to replace Claudio Ranieri.

Fulham are 10 points from safety with nine games left to play, two of which are against Liverpool and Manchester City later this month.

They fell behind in the 20th minute against Chelsea when Higuain, who had spurned two earlier chances, finished from Cesar Azpilicueta's right-wing cross.

Kepa, who was fortunate to get away with dropping a cross before the opening goal, made a sharp save to tip over a volley from Aleksandar Mitrovic.

But Fulham levelled from the subsequent corner as Chambers was left wide open at the back post and volleyed home.

Chelsea soon responded as Jorginho produced a fine finish from the edge of the box, and the visitors had chances to extend their lead before the break.

Higuain blazed over from a good position before Sergio Rico saved from Eden Hazard and then made a superb stop to deny Higuain in injury-time.

Chelsea continued to threaten at the start of the second half as Rico saved from Hazard and Willian.

Team news

Scott Parker made just one change from Fulham’s last match as Sessegnon replaced Anguissa.

Chelsea made five changes from their midweek win over Tottenham, with Kepa returning in goal to replace Caballero. Emerson, Christensen, Barkley and Willian also started, replacing Alonso, Luiz, Kovacic and Pedro.

But Fulham raised their level on the hour mark, with Mitrovic firing wide from outside the box and Kepa pushing away a shot from Tom Cairney.

Kepa was called into action again in the 89th minute to save Mitrovic's header, and Fulham then had a goal ruled out for offside when Ryan Sessegnon finished from close range in injury-time.

Opta stats

Chelsea are unbeaten in 18 Premier League games against Fulham (W11 D7) - only against Spurs (28 games between 1992 and 2006) have they had a longer unbeaten run versus an opponent in the competition.

Fulham have become the first side to lose 10 London derbies in the top-flight in a single season.

Chelsea scored their first away league goal in 2019 - they were the 91st of the 92 English league clubs to do so, leaving only Huddersfield Town without one.

Eden Hazard became the third Chelsea player to both score and assist 50 Premier League goals (81 goals, 50 assists) after Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba.

Fulham's Calum Chambers' last four Premier League goals have been scored under four different managers (Arsene Wenger, Steve Agnew, Claudio Ranieri and Scott Parker).

Eden Hazard has been involved in at least one goal in all four of his Premier League appearances against newly-promoted sides for Chelsea this season (3 goals, 3 assists).

Fulham midfielder Kevin McDonald has ended on the winning side in just three of his 38 Premier League games (7.9%); among players to have played as many as 38 Premier League matches, only Rudy Gestede (3.9%, two wins in 51) has a lower win percentage.

Fulham have lost more matches than any other side in the top five European leagues in all competitions during 2019 (9).

Man of the match - Jorginho

Kepa was solid on his return to the team - aside from a careless dropped cross in the first half - but Jorginho was excellent. His finish for the second goal was composed and he could have had a couple of assists as he twice played balls over the top to expose Fulham's defence. Having been booed by some Chelsea fans a few weeks ago, the midfielder was substituted off to the sound of supporters chanting his name.

What's next?

Fulham travel to Leicester next Saturday before home games against Liverpool (March 17) and Manchester City (March 30), both of which are live on Sky Sports.

Chelsea play Dynamo Kiev at home in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 clash on Thursday. They then face Wolves in the Premier League on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.


Fulham Rico, Ream, Odoi, Bryan, Nordveit, Babel (Ayite 71), Chambers, Sessegnon, Cairney (c) (Vietto 80), McDonald (Anguissa 62), Mitrovic
Subs Not Used Fabri, Seri, Le Marchand, Christie
Booked Chambers, McDonald
Goals Chambers 28

Chelsea Kepa, Azpilicuets (c), Rudiger, Christensen, Emerson, Kante, Jorginho (Kovacic 68), Barkley (Loftus-Cheek 79), William, Higuain, Hazard (Pedro 74)
Subs Not Used Caballero, Luiz, Hudson-Odo, Giroud
Booked Jorginho
Goals Higuain 20, Jorginho 31

Attendance 24,900

Referee Graham Scott

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