Fulham vs. Chelsea: Final score 1-3, Andre Schürrle a hat trick hero

Jamie McDonald

Fulham's hole keeps getting deeper, while Chelsea are looking more and more like title favorites.

Manchester City are off this weekend and Arsenal dropped points in their game on Saturday, so Chelsea are heading into the international break on top of the Premier League. They struggled through the first half at Craven Cottage, but were at their best in the second half, eventually pulling out a 3-1 win.

Andre Schürrle was Chelsea's star on the night, scoring his first hat trick with the club. Eden Hazard was arguably Chelsea's best player, though, setting up two of Schürrle's goals and numerous other chances.

Fulham suffered a big setback early in the first half when Brede Hangeland clashed heads with one of his teammates and hit the ground hard. He attempted to continue, but was eventually pulled for Dan Burn in the 16th minute. After his exit, Fulham's back line was very disorganized, and some bad giveaways by goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg led to big chances for Chelsea. Fernando Torres had the best of the bunch, but failed to convert one-on-one midway through the first half.

Chelsea broke the deadlock in the 51st minute, taking advantage of a strangely high Fulham back line. Hazard set up the goal after spotting a run by Schürrle and playing a chip over the top, which the German ran on to. He stayed in front of the Fulham defenders with his pace before calmly finishing from the edge of the box.

Torres had another poor miss in the 58th minute, failing to make anything of a free header off a stunning Rabona from Hazard, but it turned out to be inconsequential. Hazard set up Schurrle's second seven minutes later, finding him in the box with a perfect through ball, though Schürrle's finish into the far corner was just as impressive. Not long after that, Schürrle completed his hat trick, with Torres making amends for earlier errors by winning an aerial duel with Burn, then playing a perfect pass for Schürrle to help him score his third.

Steve Sidwell found a consolation goal for Fulham in the 74th minute, poking in off a scramble following a corner, but the Cottagers never mounted a serious comeback.

Fulham: Stekelenburg, Richardson, Heitinga, Hangeland (Burn 16'), Riether, Dejagah, Sidwell, Parker (Karagounis 80'), Kasami (Holtby 62'), Dempsey, Bent

Goals: Sidwell (74')

Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic, Ramires, Matic, Hazard, Oscar (Mikel 78'), Schürrle (David Luiz 87'), Torres

Goals: Schürrle (51', 65', 68')

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