On the night that Mohammad Al-Fayed claimed that his Fulham side were the kings of West London, there was nothing to separate Fulham and Chelsea out on the playing field at Loftus Road. Both sides had their chances to steal the game, but in the end it would have been harsh had either side left without anything to show for their efforts.
The first half was a real end to end affair. The little Italian Gianfranco Zola, in superb form for Chelsea this season, latched onto a loose ball 25 yards out and his rising drive just cleared the Fulham crossbar. The home side responded moments later with a header from Steve Marlet which just drifted past the far post. In truth the striker should have done better. As the half wore on Fulham began to show the form that has seen them rise near the top of the table in recent weeks.
Steed Malbranque had a shot from the edge of the box blocked by William Gallas, and minutes later Barry Hayles really should have done better with a shot that he blasted over the bar. And just before the break Japanese international Inamoto drove a low shot from the edge of the area that Claudio Cudicini did well to tip wide of the post.
The second half started at an incredible pace. Chelsea had the first chance of the half when Hasselbaink nodded a close range header just wide, while at the other end Steve Marlet's attempted lob was well saved by Cudicini. As the half wore on the defences began to gain the upper hand and chances became limited. Boa Morte replaced Inamato for Fulham and Chelsea threw on Gudjohsen in an effort to steal a winner. However neither player was able to break the deadlock.
Filed by Ciaran Cronin