Andre Schurrle hat-trick gives Chelsea win over Fulham

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Andre Schurrle hit a second-half hat-trick in the space of 16 minutes to give Chelsea a 3-1 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage.

Schurrle put the visitors ahead shortly after half-time after a ball over the top by Eden Hazard, and the two combined again for Chelsea's second.

The German midfielder then completed his treble with a cool finish that all but wrapped up the points with 22 minutes to go to give the Blues a win which ensured they retained top spot, although Jonny Heitinga did give Fulham fans something to cheer about with a late consolation goal.

It turned out to be a good day overall for Jose Mourinho and his men, as Arsenal suffered a 1-0 defeat at Stoke and the victory allowed Chelsea to move further clear of Manchester City who now have two games in hand.

In truth, there was very little noteworthy action in the first half, although the away side could have taken the lead just before half-time but Fulham 'keeper Maarten Stekelenburg denied Fernando Torres with an excellent stop.

Proceedings livened up considerably after the restart and within seven minutes, Chelsea took the lead.

Eden Hazard - who had another superb game - found the time and space to send the ball over the top of the Fulham defence, and Schurrle beat the offside trap before slotting home.

That goal gave the Blues the impetus and they soon pressed home their advantage as Hazard again picked out Schurrle with a perfectly weighted pass and the German did the rest to double Chelsea's lead.

The result was then put beyond all doubt as Schurrle found himself clean through on goal after good work from Fernando Torres and he sealed what was a superb afternoon for both himself and his team.

There was time for Jonny Heitinga to find a late consolation but it mattered little as Chelsea's title challenge powered on.

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