Havertz double sinks Fulham as Chelsea close in on top 4 finish
Kai Havertz scored a brace as Chelsea cruised to a 2-0 victory in the West London derby on Saturday.
It was another comfortable win for Chelsea, strengthening their grip on a top four place, ahead of their pivotal Champions League semi-final second leg against Real Madrid on Wednesday.
The result all but relegates Fulham, who put in a spirited display but lacked an end product once again. They had 10 shots to Chelsea’s nine and eight corners as opposed to one for Chelsea, but they were beaten for the fifth time out of their last six games.
Maintaining an unchanged side to the one that drew at the Emirates Stadium, Fulham came out fighting and for the first nine minutes at least looked they might make a match of things.
Chelsea though were to take the lead just before the 10 minute mark when Mason Mount beautifully set up Kai Havertz for the opener. Mount exquisitely controlled a long pass by Thiago Silva and then played a perfect through ball to Havertz, who finished past Alphonse Areola.
The pair combined again on the 16th minute, with Havertz putting the ball in the back of the net only for it to be ruled out for offside.
Fulham though continued fighting, with Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy forced into making three superb saves, including just before the interval against former Chelsea player Ola Aina.
Chelsea doubled their lead within four minutes of the second half when Timo Werner and Havertz combined with the latter grabbing his second of the game.
Havertz, who has struggled to adapt since making the summer move from Bayer Leverkusen, showed why Chelsea paid £70 million for the German.
Both man-of the-match Havertz and Werner had chances to add a third goal, but in the end Chelsea finished as comfortable 2-0 winners.
What it means
Chelsea are now just three points behind Leicester in third place, with the Foxes facing a daunting trip to Stamford Bridge before the end of the season.
Thomas Tuchel’s side are three points above West Ham in fifth with Chelsea travelling to the Etihad next weekend. Fulham are doomed and are nine points off safety.
Fulham are now 9 points from safety and could be relegated next week if results go against them. Although with 3 of their last 4 matches against fellow relegation rivals, Scott Parker still believes they can pull off a great escape.
Chelsea extended their unbeaten run against the Cottagers at Stamford Bridge to 42 years.
Thomas Tuchel has kept more clean sheets (11) than any other manager in Premier League history from their first 15 games in charge.
Featured image: Kai Havertz of Chelsea celebrates after scoring hos team’s second goal during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Fulham at Stamford Bridge. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)