David Luiz is mobbed by his teammates after opening the scoring with a golazo against Fulham
Not only was it one of Chelsea’s goals of the season, but David Luiz’s lightning bolt of a strike in Wednesday’s Premier League match against Fulham also put his side on course for both a 3-0 win over the Cottagers and a two-point lead on Arsenal in the race for Champions League football.
In other words, while it was certainly a belter, the goal may also go down as one of the vital moments in the Blues’ 2012-13 campaign.
And it came out of nowhere.
With both sides struggling for a foothold in the match—and with Chelsea playing on just three days of rest following their FA Cup semifinal loss to Manchester City—Eden Hazard played a short pass to David Luiz on the edge of the attacking third. After the Brazilian had taken one or two steps with the ball in stride he smashed it with the outside of his foot, sending it curling past Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer and just inside the far post.
It was the sort of goal an otherwise workmanlike match hardly deserved, but with the lead, Chelsea were able to catch Fulham out on two more occasions—both of which were converted by John Terry.
On the first, with two minutes to play in the opening period, the Chelsea captain found some space in between Sascha Riether and Philippe Senderos and headed Juan Mata’s in-swinging cross into the back of the net. On the second, Terry again evaded Senderos as he redirected Fernando Torres’ header past Schwarzer.
That came in the 71st minute, and from there, the match was over as a contest.
But in addition to his first-half golazo, David Luiz was also exceptional in defense, where he helped to neutralize Mladen Petric and Dimitar Berbatov—forcing whatever attacking play Fulham mustered to come from the flanks.
In the end, it was a comfortable win for Chelsea, and the contributions of David Luiz were a major reason why.