Wednesday 6 March 2002, 8:00pm at Stamford Bridge, London
Barclays Premier League
Chelsea
3
Melchiot 18'; Gudjohnsen 29'; Forssell 82'
Fulham FC
Fulham
2
Saha (pen) 20', 73'
Fulham matched their West London neighbours Chelsea for large parts of the game at Stamford Bridge, but despite a brace from Louis Saha it was the hosts who took all three points.

18' Goal

Mario Melchiot

29' Goal

Eidur Gudjohnsen

82' Goal

Mikael Forssell

78' Yellow Card

Samuele Dalla Bona Card was given for a foul

60' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Samuele Dalla Bona
Off:Emmanuel Petit

65' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Jesper Grönkjaer
Off:Gianfranco Zola

74' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Mikael Forssell
Off:Eidur Gudjohnsen

20' Penalty

Louis Saha

73' Goal

Louis Saha

71' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Barry Hayles
Off:Luis Boa Morte

0
15
30
45
60
75
90

Having taken just eight points from as many capital clashes prior to this contest, another night of frustration appeared to be in store for Chelsea until Mikael Forssell emerged from the bench to turn in a late winner.

Claudio Ranieri's side, who began the evening 11 points adrift of fourth place and that lucrative spot in Europe's premier club competition, were twice pegged back by goals from Louis Saha.

But Forssell ensured a new beginning for a late season bid for the top four on a newly-laid Stamford Bridge surface.

Captain Marcel Desailly, back after missing the 2-1 defeat at Charlton with a hamstring, should have returned with an immediate impact.

But when he unexpectedly arrived on the edge of the six-yard box to meet Graeme Le Saux's low centre, after Eidur Gudjohnsen's dummy offered the opportunity, he stabbed wide.

It would have been a perfect start for Chelsea, who began the night 11 points adrift of a Champions League place.

But they might have been behind to their less illustrious neighbours in the sixth minute after Desailly conceded a corner.

From Steed Malbranque's delivery from the right, Steve Marlet rose highest to head powerfully against the crossbar and the hosts cleared.

At the other end, Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink twice went close to adding to his 18 Premiership goals for the season.

First, he hit the side-netting from Mario Melchiot's through ball.

Then, it took a perfectly-timed sliding tackle from Alain Goma to divert a goal-bound drive.

But Chelsea did score with their next attack of note from an unlikely source.

Melchiot ran unchallenged from right-back once again before cutting in to shoot past a static Edwin van der Sar with his left foot, via a deflection off Rufus Brevett.

Yet, within 60 seconds of Chelsea's opener, Fulham were given the chance to level in controversial circumstances.

A burst into the area by Louis Saha was halted by a well-timed tackle by William Gallas - but referee Peter Jones pointed to the spot as Saha hit the turf.

Saha, last season's top scorer in English football, took the kick himself, tucking the ball inside Carlo Cudicini's right-hand post with the goalkeeper diving left.

Chelsea were incensed by the decision and had a right to be so.

Their retribution was telling with Zola testing van der Sar with a right-foot curler before another effort from the diminutive Italian was superbly repelled by the Holland international at the expense of a corner.

Then, just short of the half-hour, Chelsea regained the lead.

Le Saux exploited holes in a Fulham defence that had conceded eight goals in three consecutive defeats by inviting Eidur Gudjohnsen to run deep into the visitors' territory.

The Icelandic striker picked his spot and sidefooted past van der Sar for his 12th league goal and 19th in all this season.

After Malbranque watched a volley deflect behind of Gallas, Fulham were denied a second, this time seemingly legitimate, penalty as Marlet was tripped by Frank Lampard's trailing leg.

In fact, it was only woeful finishing from last season's Division One champions that prevented them going in level at the break.

Abdeslam Ouaddou inexplicably directed his free header from a Malbranque corner wide.

And Saha, seizing on an inventive ball from strike partner Marlet, galloped clear before dragging wide on the stroke of half-time.

The home side were always a threat with Zola lurking in the void behind Hasselbaink and Gudjohnsen.

Three minutes into the second period, Hasselbaink found Zola's feet, allowing the Italian to turn and send a shot that lacked power into van der Sar's grasp.

In contrast to the first half, chances were scarce after the interval.

Emmanuel Petit, who hobbled off the field moments later, volleyed straight at van der Sar as a cross was cleared to the edge of the area.

And Cudicini touched round the post as Saha tried his luck from the right-side of the area.

Coaxed forward by John Collins, however, Fulham hauled themselves level again with 17 minutes left.

Collins sought out Marlet's pace down the left and the France international forward checked his run and picked out Saha, who beat a bizarre bicycle kick from Gallas to head in his second of the night.

Ranieri responded immediately by employing his third and final substitute, Forssell, in place of Gudjohnsen.

And Forssell continued his phenomenal record coming from the bench with his seventh goal from such a position in 12 games.

Fellow replacement Jesper Gronkjaer lifted into the box and Forssell controlled on his chest and swept home with his right foot eight minutes from time.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Wednesday 6 March 2002
Kick-off: 8:00pm

Venue: Stamford Bridge, London
Attendance: 39,744

Referee: Peter Jones

Chelsea

Line-up: Cudicini; Melchiot, Gallas, Desailly, Babayaro; Gudjohnsen (Forssell 74'), Lampard, Petit (Dalla Bona 60'), Le Saux; Hasselbaink, Zola (Grönkjaer 65')

Unused substitutes: de Goey, Morris

Fulham

Line-up: Van der Sar; Finnan, Goma, Ouaddou, Brevett; Boa Morte (Hayles 71'), Collins, Malbranque, Harley; Saha, Marlet

Unused substitutes: Taylor, Melville, Knight, Goldbaek

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Manchester United 30 61
2 Arsenal 29 60
3 Liverpool 30 59
4 Newcastle United 29 55
5 Leeds United 29 48
6 Chelsea 28 47
7 Aston Villa 29 41
8 Tottenham Hotspur 28 38
9 Charlton Athletic 28 37
10 West Ham United 29 37
11 Fulham 29 35
12 Southampton 29 35
13 Middlesbrough 29 35
14 Sunderland 29 34
15 Everton 29 30
16 Ipswich Town 28 30
17 Bolton Wanderers 29 30
18 Blackburn Rovers 28 29
19 Derby County 29 26
20 Leicester City 28 17
Chelsea (4-4-2)
  • 23Carlo Cudicini
  • 25Mario Melchiot
  • 3William Gallas
  • Marcel Desailly
  • 33Celestine Babayaro
  • 22Eidur Gudjohnsen
  • 8Frank Lampard
  • Emmanuel Petit
  • 3Graeme Le Saux
  • 18Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
  • Gianfranco Zola
Substitutes
  • Ed de Goey
  • Samuele Dalla Bona
  • Jesper Grönkjaer
  • 20Jody Morris
  • 18Mikael Forssell
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 1Edwin Van der Sar
  • 2Steve Finnan
  • 24Alain Goma
  • 25Abdeslam Ouaddou
  • 3Rufus Brevett
  • 11Luis Boa Morte
  • 10John Collins
  • 14Steed Malbranque
  • 7Jon Harley
  • 20Louis Saha
  • 7Steve Marlet
Substitutes
  • 12Maik Taylor
  • 4Andy Melville
  • 16Zat Knight
  • 19Bjarne Goldbaek
  • 15Barry Hayles