EPL: Chelsea go four points clear as Arsenal lose

Andre Schurrle got a hat-trick for Chelsea.

Chelsea have extended their lead at the top of the English Premier League table to four points after beating close door neighbors, Fulham, 3-1 at the Craven Cottage while their closest rivals, Arsenal, slumped to a 1-0 defeat away to Stoke City .

A hat-trick from Andre Schurrle was all Chelsea needed to stretch their points tally to 63 points from 26 games; while Arsenal remain with 59 points from same number of games.

With Saturday’s victory, the Blues have now won 15 and lost just one of the 25 Premier League meetings against Fulham, with their only defeat in this fixture coming at Craven Cottage in March 2006.

Coming from a difficult midweek trip to Istanbul where they were forced to a 1-1 draw by Galatasaray in the UEFA Champions League 1st Round of 16 tie, the Blues were understandably not in their best element at the start of the game at the Craven Cottage.

The first half ended goalless as both sides had seemingly equal chances.

However, seven minutes into resumption from the break, Chelsea finally shot into the lead off a terrible defending when Fulham tried and failed to play offside on halfway. Hazard’s ball was nodded down by Schurrle, who skimmed past a player and slide the ball past the keeper to make it 1-0.

Chelsea were close to netting the second goal moments later when Hazard showed his ingenuity and dug out an inch-perfect cross that  found Torres far post, but the Spaniard’s finish into the unguarded net was blocked by a flying Richardson to force a corner.

Fulham’s hearts were finally broken in the 64th minute when Schurrle made it 2-0 after smashing home a through ball from Hazard.

The German was not done as he completed his hat trick in 68th minute and even though Heitinga pulled one back for Fulham, it was too little too late to stop Chelsea from securing maximum points.

In the Arsenal game at the Brintania Stadium, a 76th minute penalty kick converted by Jonathan Walters was the difference as Stoke City finished 1-0 winners over the Gunners.

In other games, Everton got a late 1-0 win over West Ham, while Shola Ameobi’s Newcastle United secured a breathtaking 1-4 away victory against Hull City.

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