Chelsea 3 – 1 Everton Match Review
Oct 2011 18

It’s fair to say that this is quite a depressing time to follow Everton.

After grinding out a 2-0 defeat at Man City, David Moyes looked like he’d actually sent his team out to win the game against Liverpool a week later, only for Jamie Carragher’s assistant Martin Atkinson to kill Everton’s chances just 20 minutes in by sending off Jack Rodwell for a tackle so brutal that it appeared to break Luis Suarez’s ankle from three yards away.

Thanks to Suarez’s Wolverine-like recovery powers he was able to continue, and gave the kind of performance that makes you wonder why such a good footballer feels the need to cheat whenever possible. Andy Carroll opened the scoring in the second half, despite being a complete donkey, and Suarez made it two with a neat finish after capitalising on slapstick defending by Sylvain Distin and Leighton Baines.

An international break meant that Moyes had to wait two weeks to try and get his team back to winning ways in their next fixture away at Chelsea, but despite ESPN talking up Everton’s run of five draws in league games at Stamford Bridge it never really felt like even a point was on the cards.

The FA graciously agreed to rescind Rodwell’s red card from the derby – though they curiously saw no reason to punish Atkinson for his woeful handling of an incident that he was right on top of, or Suarez for acting like he’d stood on a landmine – so Moyes was able to select the same team that started quite brightly two weeks earlier.

Everton again got off to a promising start, with Leon Osman and Louis Saha combining to create a chance for the Frenchman to cut in from the left wing and fire a shot that Petr Cech could only gather at the second attempt. Unfortunately Saha was so buoyed by his half-decent effort that he decided not to pass to any of his teammates for the rest of the game, instead opting to try and get a shot off whenever he had the ball, regardless of how many opposition defenders were stood in front of him.

Seeing Saha revert to type encouraged the rest of the Everton players to follow suit; Phil Jagielka started playing beautifully weighted passes to the head of John Terry, Tony Hibbert kicked himself up the arse while trying to launch the ball into space, and Marouane Fellaini got himself a pointless booking.

Chelsea opened the scoring on 30 minutes when the superb Juan Mata picked out Ashley Cole with a deft chipped pass which the England left-back guided back across goal for Daniel Sturridge to head beyond Tim Howard. What Distin and Baines were looking at while all this was going on is anyone’s guess.
Everton responded well to the goal and managed to create another opportunity for Saha to ignore several grey shirts in good positions and kick the ball straight at Terry. As half-time approached it looked as though Everton were well placed to regroup during the break and look for an equaliser in the second half. That was until Seamus Coleman gave a stupid free kick away and Howard and Distin decided to stand by and let Terry head in a second from Frank Lampard’s cross.

To their credit, Everton came out flying at the restart, with Osman unlucky not to pull a goal back when his guided shot struck the outside of Cech’s left post. It was short-lived though, and within a few minutes Chelsea were pressing Everton back and limiting their attacks to hopeless punts by Jagielka and Hibbert.

Moyes made his usual 60 minute substitution, bringing on Royston Drenthe for the struggling Coleman, but before the Dutchman had a chance to touch the ball Chelsea had made it 3-0. Mata combined well with Didier Drogba (who looks a shadow of the player he was two years ago), before centring the ball across goal for Ramires to stab in. It was poor defending again from Everton, with Hibbert and Baines particularly culpable.

Fan morale hit a new low when Phil Neville came on to replace the ineffectual Tim Cahill with about 20 minutes left, which enabled Everton to switch to the tried and trusted method of knocking it long to Fellaini when things aren’t going well. After 10 minutes of this Moyes decided it might be worth putting someone in the box that moves, so Saha was replaced by Apostolos Vellios, who only went and scored with his first touch.

There was to be no great comeback though. The final minutes of the game passed without incident, aside from a brief shouting match between Neville and Lampard after a late challenge from the former.

A third defeat on the spin leaves Everton sitting 15th in the Premier League and just a point off the bottom-three with a game in hand. It’s alright though, because they’ve just signed James McFadden on a free transfer.

Written by Matthew

Si Will make me famous and I am ungrateful