Skip to content

Stabilized Chelsea cruise through another in West London Derby

Apr 17, 2013, 6:55 PM EST

Fulham v Chelsea - Premier League Getty Images

As much as I’ve hammered Rafa Benítez since his arrive at Stamford Bridge, it’s only fair to confess my opinions are under review. No doubt, Chelsea have struggled for much of the Spaniards tenure in West London, but since buckling at St. Marys on March 30, Chelsea’s performances have ranged from convincing to understandable – both drastic improvements on the manic form that characterized Benítez’s first months.

Today was both convincing and, considering the opponent, understandable, with Fulham offering almost no opposition to Chelsea’s 3-0 West London Derby win. Never in this match, Fulham were quickly pushed deep into their defensive third, with the Blues eventually going in front though David Luiz’s 30th minute laser. An all too easy header just before half allowed John Terry to double Chelsea’s lead, and in the 71st minute, the captain cleaned up Fernando Torres’s flick toward goal to complete a disappointingly easy day for the Blues.

The disappointment’s born from the buildup, this being an alleged derby, though it’s been some time since Fulham-Chelsea carried a rivalry’s intensity. The proximity of the two West London clubs makes derby talk obligatory, but when one side comes out as flat and listless as Martin Jol’s, it’s difficult to see  why we continue to consider this a rivalry. Just as passion can transcend geography to create compelling derbies like Liverpool-Manchester United, apathy can make proximity irrelevant. Particularly since Roman Abramovich made Chelsea one of the world’s strongest soccer brands, the Blues’ rivalry with Fulham’s become irrelevant.

So as Chelsea celebrated three goals from unexpected sources, they did so with the same intensity as they would against Reading, Wigan, or Norwich. And Fulham reacted like a struggling team on the wrong end of another bad result. There was no rivalry-driven pride at Craven Cottage.

But don’t let the lack of opposition detract from Chelsea’s performance. At various points this season (March 30, the most recent), the Blues have been unable to take advantage of opponents like this. Today, they asserted themselves early and, as a result, had one of their easiest matches of 2013. They played with the comfort and control fans imagined when their club added Eden Hazard and Oscar last summer.

It’s the kind of form that’s shone more often since Chelsea lost at Southampton, even if the bottom line results haven’t drastically improved. Over their last five games, the Blues have won three and lost two, though their losses are understandable. One was in Kazan, where Chelsea’s 3-2 defeat was all they needed to advance to Europa League’s semifinals. The other was this Sunday at Wembley, where Chelsea nearly came back to force extra time against a Manchester City team that’d played better than they had in months.

Against Fulham, Chelsea had no such obstacles, part of the reason they’ve vaulted back into third place. The Blues now sit on 61 points – one more than Arsenal and three better than Spurs, two clubs that play like London rivals.

Latest Posts
  1. WATCH: Van Gaal remains coy over Manchester United’s league standing

    Feb 27, 2015, 11:46 PM EST

    Manchester United v Cambridge United - FA Cup Fourth Round Replay Getty Images

    Louis van Gaal speaks of Manchester United’s mindset at this stage of the season.

  2. Celtic aim to catch fans who violated UEFA policy with fireworks

    Feb 27, 2015, 10:50 PM EST

    Celtic Getty Images

    Celtic released a statement that urged fans to join hunt for the people who set off fireworks in Europa League competition and violated UEFA’s code of conduct.

  3. MLS commissioner Don Garber on resolving CBA before season begins: ‘I’m hopeful’

    Feb 27, 2015, 10:10 PM EST

    Don Garber, MLS commissioner Don Garber, MLS commissioner

    Garber: “We had hoped that by now this would have been resolved.”

  4. Mourinho believes Premier League ‘loses credibility’ with Matic suspension

    Feb 27, 2015, 9:15 PM EST

    France Soccer Champions League AP

    Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho asserted the Premier League’s reputation is at stake with Nemanja Matic’s ban.

  5. Former DC United midfielder Freddy Adu to sign with Swedish side

    Feb 27, 2015, 7:32 PM EST

    Credit: Blackpool Gazette Credit: Blackpool Gazette

    Freddy Adu will have a shot to revive his career in Sweden.

  6. Bale, Ronaldo declared fully fit after ‘precautionary’ training week

    Feb 27, 2015, 6:48 PM EST

    FBL-ESP-LIGA-REALMADRID-ESPANYOL FBL-ESP-LIGA-REALMADRID-ESPANYOL

    Bale and Ronaldo are set to perform in Sunday’s match vs. Villarreal after not taking part in full training sessions this week.

  7. Bayern Munich down FC Köln, cruise to 11-point Bundesliga lead

    Feb 27, 2015, 5:40 PM EST

    FC Bayern Muenchen v SC Freiburg - Bundesliga Getty Images

    Bayern Munich unsurprisingly improves on their position in league competition.

  8. Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks: Everton, Man United, Man City, Stoke

    Feb 27, 2015, 4:20 PM EST

    464041878 Getty Images

    Citizens, Red Devils and Toffees will all bag big wins this weekend, according to PST’s Editor and Lead Writer.

  9. Premier League Preview: West Ham vs. Crystal Palace

    Feb 27, 2015, 3:50 PM EST

    FBL-ENG-FACUP-CRYSTAL PALACE-LIVERPOOL Getty Images

    Preview of West Ham-Crystal Palace match airing live on NBCSN this Saturday morning.

  10. Watching a UEFA Champions League game with US star Geoff Cameron

    Feb 27, 2015, 3:16 PM EST

    Cameron admires, and has beaten, Arsenal. Cameron admires, and has beaten, Arsenal.

    In our latest with Stoke City and U.S. national team star Geoff Cameron, we sit down in his house and watch Arsenal’s clash with AS Monaco.

  11. WATCH: PST Extra previews Liverpool vs. Manchester City

    Feb 27, 2015, 2:55 PM EST

    PST Extra - Feb. 27

    The PST Extra crew dissect the key areas as Liverpool host Man City on Sunday.

  12. Premier League Preview: Manchester United vs. Sunderland

    Feb 27, 2015, 2:25 PM EST

    Swansea City v Manchester United - Premier League Getty Images

    Watch United vs. Sunderland live on NBCSN and online via Live Extra at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday.

  13. WATCH: Premier League TV schedule – Week 27

    Feb 27, 2015, 12:44 PM EST

    PremierLeagueNBC

    Where and how to watch all the Premier League games during Week 27.

  14. Sepp Blatter wants 2022 World Cup final to be played on December 18

    Feb 27, 2015, 12:01 PM EST

    Blatter: “The World Cup will not go on until the 23rd, definitely not.”

  15. Europa League last 16 draw: Everton head to Ukraine; Spanish, Italian clubs clash

    Feb 27, 2015, 10:00 AM EST

    The Toffees get a tricky test in Kiev, while Italy dominates the last 16 with five clubs.

  16. Jack Wilshere undergoes latest surgery, as Arsenal return is delayed

    Feb 27, 2015, 9:20 AM EST

    Wilshere AP

    Gunners midfielder goes under the knife once again.