Everton 2-1 Chelsea: You got it wrong Ancelotti as Saha does us twice!

Trust Chelsea eh?. For those of you who have followed the Chels your whole lives and have "blue-blood" it will come as no surprise...

Trust Chelsea eh?. For those of you who have followed the Chels your whole lives and have "blue-blood" it will come as no surprise that we let another one slip yesterday and blew another chance to extend our lead at the top of the Premier League.

As per my match preview I could see the game would be difficult as it always is against David Moyes' well organised and disciplined side. I did not forsee however that Carlo Ancelotti would drop Michael Ballack in favour of Yuri Zhirkov.

I still can't understand it now to be honest. Ballack provides a good balance with Lampard in midfield playing just in front of the midfield anchor man. Ballack has by now a wealth of experience in playing the big games so i will never get my head around that decision. No disrespect to Zhirkov, but we knew Everton would smother the midfield with their 4 across the middle and Cahill in the gap just behind Louis Saha, so why would you change your midfield from the strongest and most settled you have?.

Ancelotti's hand was forced in regards to our formation when Joe Cole picked up a knock in his knee (not that one, the other one) and had to be rested and Deco and Alex were both rested with knocks and a stiff back so the back five was unchanged from the Arsenal game. Ancelotti went with the Christmas Tree 4-3-2-1 formation with Malouda and Anelka supporting Drogba and Lampard, Mikel and Zhirkov across the middle.

Everton made their two changes to the team that lost at Liverpool at the weekend with Arteta coming in for Felliani and Bilyaletdinov coming in for the suspended Pienaar.

Early doors it there wasn't really much to report as both teams worked to try and get a foot-hold in the game. We scored after a long ball (route one stuff) was played upto Drogba who flicked the ball on, Malouda beat the defender and scored passed Howard to put is 1-0 up. We have other chances in the first half but nothing more than half chances until Drogba gets into the box down the left hand side and looks up and flicks the ball back square to what looks like Ashley Cole's run. The ineffective Anelka takes it off his foot and shoots wide whereas Ash is in a better position to score!.

Everyone today ( I haven't seen or read them yet) will more than likely focus on John Terry and the two goals that Saha scored and the fact that he now has been given time off. The first goal was once more sloppy defending from a set piece and but for the fact it was 6 yards closer to the near post it was an almost identical goal to the one we conceeded against Hull this time last week. Its obvious Everton have a goal threat so we should of dealt with it. Saha got in front of JT, the ball just beat Lampard at the near post and Saha put it away and credit to him. Great header, Cech no chance once more and we were 1-1.

Then Carvalho gives away a penalty against the (you have to say) really impressive Landon Donovan. I knew it looked like not alot of contact but you should never make those sort of challenges inside the box these days. Credit to Cech as he saved the penalty from Saha.

The second Everton goal is a joke. When does John Terry ever misjudge the flight of a high ball forward? I can't remember the last time he did before last night. He jumps under it, Saha controls it and lashes a shot with the outside of his left foot, the ball swings away to the far post and through Cech's hands into the corner. Should Cech of done better? Maybe, but should never of been in that position.

So we are 2-1 down. What makes it worse for me is that five minutes previous, Ashley Cole takes a knock from a 50-50 challenge so Ballack NOW comes on with 20 minutes to go. Zhirkov is moved the left back. Now we start to dominate. Everton dig in as we create half chance after half chance and a Drogba header that comes back off the crossbar. We have a better balance, we are now much more dominant but just can't break Everton down.

You have to hand it to Everton. Everyone in football knows how good a manager David Moyes is and how hard his teams work against you. Thats four points they have taken off of us this season and full credit to them. Their work rate last night was immense. The gave us little time on the ball and always put the man on the ball under pressure. They created their own chances in the game too and with Louis Saha up front and the way he is playing he is just as important to them as Drogba is to us. He always gives us a hard game and we should know to expect it. Let's face it, if it wasn't for Cech it could of been worse (the penalty). They deserved the win last night and good luck to them for the rest of the season. Landon Donovan has been a major reason for the upturn in their fortunes and he is always a threat on the ball.

Ray Wilkins said after the game:

"'When you come to a place like Everton their work rate is such that they make it extremely difficult for you, They are never going to lie down and they came back at us in a really strong fashion. Looking at the whole game they probably just deserved to nick it but well done to our lads as well because in the end we really came back and had a go.You have to give Everton a lot of credit for the way they played, They certainly worked extremely hard, didn't give us a lot of time on the ball, and when you're working against that then it's going to be a difficult evening. Perhaps we lacked a touch of intensity but apart from that our football was good and we just couldn't pull it off in the end.'

David Moyes said:

'It was a perfect result, it just shows the way we have been playing in the last few months. Teams know when they play Everton they are always going to have a game. Chelsea didn't come into it with any complacency. We had to hang in for 20 minutes when I thought Chelsea were fantastic by interchanging positions, making it very hard to get close to them, Zhirkov and Lampard in particular. But when we got to one each, everybody in the ground grew, everyone felt better and in the second half the players turned the screw, we smothered Chelsea with every opportunity. The players did a great job.'

With Saha, Pienaar, Donovan and Cahill they will always cause you problems and we should of learn't from the 3-3 earlier in the season but obviously didn't. Let's hope that Everton can cause the other sides around us the same problems. So if any of you Toffee's are reading this fair play.

Now as for us. Thats 1 win in the last 7 away games so something is obviously wrong when we play away from the Bridge. Its not secret that set-pieces have cost us before and will more than likely cost us again before the season is out. Wilkins also said about the fact that "we would love to be running away ten points clear at the top but that was never going to happen" to which I ask the question "why not?" if you had sorted out our performances away and our defending of set pieces we bloody could be!!

Let's hope we can shake this one out of our system before Cardiff at the weekend!.

Chelsea(4-3-2-1):Cech; Ivanovic, Carvalho, Terry (c), A Cole (Ballack 56); Lampard, Mikel (Sturridge 76), Zhirkov; Anelka (Kalou 66), Malouda; Drogba.

Scorers Malouda 16,
Booked Mikel 62, Malouda 90+4.

Everton (4-4-1-1): Howard; Neville (c), Heitinga, Distin, Baines; Donovan, Osman, Arteta (Rodwell 74, Bilyaletdinov (Gosling 85); Cahill; Saha (Senderos 90+3).

Scorer Saha 34, 75.
Booked Donovan 64.

CAREFREE & KTBFFH! (or at least try to for a couple of days!)



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