Kai Havertz's brace sinks Fulham in 2-0 Chelsea win, Villa wins at Everton

The result put Chelsea on 61 points from 34 games, six ahead of fifth-placed West Ham which plays on Monday.

Kai Havertz: We have to come in the top four of the Premier League, that is our goal for the season and this win today is crucial for us.   -  Getty Images

Chelsea's Kai Havertz struck twice to sink relegation candidates Fulham 2-0 in a lively southwest London derby on Saturday as it tightened its grip on fourth place in the Premier League.

Fulham, third from bottom and nine points from the safety zone, started brightly, but its hopes were snuffed out by their neighbours' quality.

Fulham earned two corners before Chelsea's Brazilian defender Thiago Silva hoofed a long ball into their territory in the 10th minute.

Mason Mount plucked it out of the air with superb control before pushing it into Havertz's path and the German rounded former Chelsea defender Ola Aina to stroke it home.

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Havertz doubled his tally in the 49th minute, after a slick move with Timo Werner who picked out his compatriot with a pinpoint final pass.

The result put Chelsea on 61 points from 34 games, six ahead of fifth-placed West Ham which plays on Monday.

"I think it was very important. We have to come in the top four of the Premier League, that is our goal for the season and this win today is crucial for us. Then, on Wednesday we have another important game so we're happy with the win," Havertz said.

Chelsea returns to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday for the second leg of its Champions League semifinal against Real Madrid with the score at 1-1 after the first leg last Tuesday.

Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel said: "We showed the pride we are capable of - to do it in between two big games.

"I'm beyond happy that we did it. There was no lack of concentration. We had some trouble which everyone against this Fulham side has but there was no lack of concentration and that was key."

Fulham was desperately in need of points after Brighton and Hove Albion’s win over Leeds had dropped deeper into the relegation zone, pushed hard from the start with a high press.

"The last few weeks or last few games made me feel we lacked something but today I didn't feel that," Fulham coach Scott Parker said. "I felt we put a stamp on it and we were brave."

He added: "Four wins. It can be done. We have to win four games."

Ademola Lookman and Antonee Robinson both looked dangerous as Chelsea was forced to soak up pressure at the start.

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Edouard Mendy in the Chelsea goal was called into action in the fifth minute, tipping a bullet shot from Robinson over the bar.

In the 23rd he saved a powerful shot from the ever-busy Lookman, pushing the low ball to safety, a busy presence in the Chelsea half. At the opposite end, Alphonse Areola made a fine save from Hakim Ziyech and minutes later he denied Werner who ran in and shot from the left.

But Chelsea’s second goal was a cruel blow and crushed Fulham’s spirit.

Chelsea’s well organised defence, marshalled by captain-for-the-day Thiago, was purring by the end of the game and it was its 11th clean sheet in the 15 Premier League games since Tuchel took charge.


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Ollie Watkins fired Villa ahead in the 13th minute.   -  Getty Images


El Ghazi stunner gives Villa 2-1 win at Everton

A superb late goal from Aston Villa's Anwar El Ghazi condemned Everton to a 2-1 defeat in an action-packed clash and hit its hopes of a top-four finish in the Premier League.

The result left the Merseyside club, which has won only one of its last 10 league matches at home, eighth on 52 points while Villa moved two places up to ninth on 48 points. Everton trails fourth-placed Chelsea by nine points with five games left to play.

Villa missed plenty of chances in an action-packed first half after Ollie Watkins fired the side ahead in the 13th minute but grabbed the winner out of the blue when El Ghazi unleashed an 80th-minute thunderbolt into the top corner.

Manager Dean Smith was pleased with the outcome and acknowledged Villa still had plenty to play for as it rekindled hopes of securing a place in Europe.

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"It's easy for people to say we haven't got anything to play for but we want to finish as high as we can," Smith told the BBC. "We want to regain that momentum and consistency we had earlier in the season.

"It was a really good game of football and both teams tried to win. I think we deserved it on the balance of chances. Jordan Pickford was in really good form and denied Ollie Watkins time and time again."

Having spurned an early chance, Watkins gave Villa the lead as he robbed Mason Holgate of the ball and steered a low shot past Everton goalkeeper Pickford but sloppy defending cost the visitor shortly afterwards.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin levelled in the 19th minute when he nodded in a Lucas Digne corner at the far post and then missed a gilt-edged chance as Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez kept out the striker's close-range header.

Villa dominated the final 20 minutes of an absorbing first half as it missed one chance after another, with El Ghazi and Ross Barkley hitting the woodwork while Pickford denied Bertrand Traore twice in quick succession.

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The pace fizzed out in the closing stages and just as the game seemed to be heading for a draw, El Ghazi picked his spot on the edge of the area and gave Pickford no chance with a delightful shot.

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti was frustrated after his side's poor home league form continued.

"It is difficult to say why (Everton struggle at home)," said the Italian. "It is the same team who beat Arsenal seven days ago. We of course could do better at home for sure. It is unbelievable, the run we had away and the run we had at home.

"We made a lot of mistakes at the beginning - no balance, no concentration. It was not a good evening."

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