Anelka sparkles as Chelsea put on flair show

Chelsea 3 Fulham 1: French striker inspires Hiddink's men to throw off their shackles and send warning to Barcelona

Chelsea, accused of kicking Barcelona off the park in midweek, produced the kind of football that might have impressed even the most devout of Catalan purists.

Guus Hiddink's side have been castigated for their stonewall defence in the 0-0 draw in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final in the Nou Camp on Tuesday night. But given licence to spread their wings against neighbours Fulham, Chelsea at times were a joy to witness.

There was even a piece of history for the club – strikers Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka scored in the same game for the first time. Many have said they cannot play together, but they combined brilliantly here to suggest Barcelona will have their hands full if they can repeat the trick in Wednesday's second leg.

Hiddink said: "If you have to play them as a central defender, you are worried because they are both so strong and fast. This certainly gives us options. We had a good result but I don't want to shut my eyes from the moments in the game when we were sloppy and made mistakes."

Fulham were in many respects the ideal sparring partners for Chelsea before Wednesday's clash. Roy Hodgson's side are top of the fair play league and there was hardly a bad tackle all afternoon. This has to be the blandest local derby in football, not exactly the El Classico clash with Real Madrid that faced Barcelona last night.

Hiddink has the utmost respect for Fulham's manager Hodgson, and showed it by selecting a powerful side, including John Terry, who was making his 400th appearance for the club.

Chelsea's leading lights made their presence felt with startling speed. In the first minute of the match they had the Fulham defence in a whirl of confusion with a superb one-touch move. Freed of the shackles worn so doggedly at the Nou Camp in midweek, Anelka, Florent Malouda and Drogba combined instinctively and Anelka applied the finish for his 22nd goal of the season.

But while the attack was free-flowing, Chelsea forgot the basics of defending, and a mistake by Alex after four minutes was punished by Fulham. The excellent Danny Murphy passed to Erik Nevland, who was played onside by Chelsea's dozing Brazilian, and the Norwegian powered a low shot through the fingers of Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech. Sadly for Fulham Nevland soon had to leave the game, after a crunching challenge by Terry. His replacement Diomansy Kamara was virtually anonymous.

The Fulham goal was merely a blip for Chelsea. Their front three, showing the invention and flair missing in midweek, created Chelsea's second after 10 minutes. Drogba passed to Anelka and the Frenchman centred for his countryman Malouda to apply an extravagant finish.

Drogba had a goal ruled out by a narrow offside decision, and Lampard twice went close with shots from distance as Chelsea continued to flex their muscles.

Anelka was irresistible. Left out of the side that started in Barcelona, he seized his opportunity in impressive style. The much-travelled striker created Chelsea's third goal eight minutes after the interval, with a beautifully weighted pass to Drogba, who jinked past Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer to score.

Attendance: 41,801

Referee: Alan Wiley

Man of the match: Anelka

Match rating: 8/10

News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
News
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own