Premier League - Chelsea go top as Mikel ends seven-year wait for goal

Premier League, Stamford Bridge - Chelsea 2 (Oscar 52, Mikel 84) - Fulham 0

Football - Mourinho to finish job he started with Mikel

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John Obi Mikel scores first league goal for Chelsea, Chelsea v Fulham

A maiden Premier League goal from John Obi Mikel goal helped seal a 2-0 victory for Chelsea over hardworking Fulham.

Oscar broke the deadlock just after half-time with a three-yard tap-in after a goalmouth scramble, while Mikel's landmark goal came with a fine volley six minutes from time.

The home side missed Juan Mata throughout the match but Fulham’s discipline eventually dissolved as they grew tired, and the Blues banished all talk of a crisis at Stamford Bridge as they went top of the league.

From the start Fulham sat deep, rarely venturing forward, repelling Chelsea’s attacks and ensuring that the home side rarely threatened. Samuel Eto’o had a chance for at the near post saved, and at the end of the half, Ivanovic blasted a deflected shot wide.

Fulham had the best chance of the opening period. A Patjim Kasami through-ball to Darren Bent set him free on goal, with just Petr Cech to beat, only for him to shoot straight at the 'keeper. For the rest of the match, Fulham were unwilling to support their striker, preferring to remain compact in defence.

In the second half, Fulham became increasingly ragged. When, Andre Schurrle blasted a ball at David Stockdale from close range, the ball bounced away to Eto’o who bundled the ball right, letting Oscar score from close range. Both the keeper and his defence should have been more alive to the threat.

In the 71st minute there was a penalty shout for the hosts when Ramires was caught by Fernando Amorebieta’s foot, but the challenge wasn’t strong enough to give the referee an easy choice.

Then, the first sign of the apocalypse, as Mikel scored with an acrobatic volley after meeting a superb John Terry knock-down in the 84th minute. It had started with Oscar’s delivery, his 13th corner of the game, part of a fine performance as Chelsea’s most creative player.


PRE-MATCH: Juan Mata excluded from the Chelsea squad. The pressure is on Jose Mourinho to ensure he doesn't look very, very silly at the end of the match.

13' - Bent through on goal - After a pass from Kasami sets Bent free, all he can do is strike the ball against Petr Cech's legs. A real waste of Fulham's best chance.

52' - Oscar scores! - Schurrle's powerful shot is blocked by Stockdale, and Eto'o turns the ball across goal for Oscar to score from close range.

84' - The end of the world! - Mikel volleys Terry's header past Stockdale to secure victory, and scores his first goal in 261 Chelsea appearances.


261 - Number of games it took for John Obi Mikel to score for Chelsea before today.

10 - Matches at home in the Premier League that Chelsea are now unbeaten.

0 - Number of goals Samuel Eto'o has scored for Chelsea as his form fails to impress.


Oscar usurps Mata. It might not be wise to exclude Mata from any squad in the world, and it might eventually be the wrong decision in the long term, but for today Oscar's performance vindicated Mourinho's decision to ignore the Spaniard.



Oscar (Chelsea). Chelsea were not overwhelmingly impressive in the victory against Fulham, but Oscar never hid from the ball, and it was his corner which allowed John Terry to set up John Obi Mikel's goal.


Chelsea: Cech 6, Ivanovic 7, Cole 6, Cahill 6, Terry 6, Mikel 6, Ramires 6, Hazard 6, Schurrle 6, Oscar 7, Eto'o 6. Subs: Torres 6, Lampard 6, De Bruyne 6.

Fulham: Stockdale 6, Riether 6, Hangeland 6, Amorebieta 6, Richardson 5, Duff 6, Sidwell 6, Parker 6, Kacaniklic 6, Kasami 6, Bent 6. Subs: Taarabt 5, Rodallega 6, Na Bangna 6.


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