In its bid to secure a UEFA Champions League place next season, Chelsea secured a vital 3-0 win away to neighborhood rival Fulham on Wednesday, a result that moved the Blues back into third place in the English Premier League standings, just one point ahead of fourth-place Arsenal and three points ahead of fifth-place Tottenham. Both Chelsea and Tottenham still have a game in hand over the Gunners.
The goals came thanks to Chelsea center backsDavid Luiz and John Terry. Luiz opened the scoring in the 30th minute with an unstoppable, looping 30-yard strike, before Terry headed home a Juan Mata cross at the back post two minutes before the break. The Chelsea captain then made it 3-0 in the 71st-minute, heading home a looping Fernando Torres header from close range.
It was a rare start for Terry under interim-coach Rafael Benitez. Despite his two-goal performance at Craven Cottage, the Spanish tactician refused to guarantee whether the 32-year-old would start either of Chelsea’s next two games, away trips to Liverpool in the EPL this weekend and then FC Basel in the first leg of the Europa League semifinals next Thursday.
“I prefer these problems [of whether to leave Terry out],” Benitez said. When asked if he thought it was hard for the Chelsea captain to be left out so often, the Spaniard said, “I think the most important thing is the team… I’m really pleased with his performance but at the end of the day the team has to be winning. Every player wants to play every game, but they have to realize they can't do that and be 100 per cent in each game.”