Schurrle led the way with all three Chelsea goals, racking up a match rating of 8.7, according to WhoScored, but he actually wasn't the most efficient player on the field. Teammate Eden Hazard, who assisted on two of the goals, had a 9.2 rating.
It wasn't all positive for Schurrle, who, as Miguel Delaney of ESPN FC put it, was "dismal" in the first half:
One exquisite touch, though, seemed to finally set him right. As good as (Eden) Hazard’s pass was in the 51st minute, the manner in which Schurrle controlled it with his head was perfect
Schurrle's goal-scoring binge started in the 52nd minute. It continued in the 65th and 68th minutes, respectively, and doubled his goal season total in the process. Chelsea's win increased its lead over Arsenal at the top of Premier League table.
WOW! Andre Schurrle just scored a hat trick in 16 minutes for Chelsea vs. Fulham. Watch here: http://t.co/3jBg2e3BBN— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) March 1, 2014
Despite the victory, it wasn't a perfect day for Chelsea. The Blues started out sluggish, going into the half tied 0-0 and really struggling to move the ball into Fulham territory. It wasn't lost on Schurrle, who said after the game the difference came in approach:
"It's a perfect day of course. The team showed a different face in the second half, more aggressive" - Andre Schurrle #FULCHE— Premier League (@premierleague) March 1, 2014
Even with the slow start, Chelsea got exactly what it needed in the second half. Hazard played like a man possessed, much to the benefit of a celebratory Schurrle,
As Squawka Football noted on Twitter after the match, Chelsea is no stranger to hat tricks lately:
That's the 6th hat-trick of the season in the Premier League. Chelsea have scored the last three (Eto'o, Hazard, Schurrle).— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 1, 2014
Courtesy of David Guti, Squawka also had a video of Schurrle's second goal against Fulham:
Known for his offensive prowess and shooting ability, especially from distance, Schurrle had easily his best game of the season. In addition to doubling his goal output in one match, the young German also helped his average player rating, which was a pedestrian 6.7, according to WhoScored, coming into Saturday.
Considering how good Chelsea has been, thanks largely to Hazard's brilliance, if Schurrle can get going, this team could start to put real distance between themselves and fellow title-contenders Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool.
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