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Everton v Chelsea (1-2) - Full Match Report

When the Blues travel to Goodison Park, we always expect nothing less than an extremely hard bat...



When the Blues travel to Goodison Park, we always expect nothing less than an extremely hard battle and tough game, Sunday was no exception. With 3rd place up for grabs before the turn of the new year, the heat was on and the stakes were high. The Toffees started very brightly and hit the woodwork on more than one occasion, but in the end Chelsea came out on top and overcome the home side in a battle of wills.

Now it is time to look back at the game, and see just how we managed to pull off an excellent comeback, a feat which looked highly improbable until the end of the first half.


*

Everton - 1 (Pienaar 2')

(4-4-2)


Howard /  Jagielka, Heitinga, Distin, Baines / Naismith, Osman, Hitzlsperger, Pienaar / Anichebe, Jelavic

Vellios - 76' (Naismith off), Barkley - 78' (Hitzlsperger off), Oviedo - 80' (Pienaar off)


Chelsea - 2 (Lampard 42', 72')

(4-2-3-1)

Cech / Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Cole / Luiz, Lampard / Ramires , Mata, Hazard /  Torres

Turnbull - 45' (Cech off), Moses - 74' (Hazard off), Oscar - 85' (Mata off)  


*

Everton's Lineup

The Toffees' lineup had tons of work rate/industry as well as plenty of quality to hurt us in the final third. With Fellaini still out, Anichebe was again handed 'the Fellaini role', that is the role of bullying the oppositions defenders and being a target man, as well as dropping back to make a midfield 5 when defending. Their left-hand side is always their most potent threat with Baines and Pienaar, inevitably the majority of their attack was going to come from this side. Rafa employed Ramires on the right hand side to try and deal with that.


1st half

(Image below is just a rough outline of the run of play in the first half)

This graph is to give a rough idea of how the half played out & to show
who was in control at what point in the game.

It is fair to say that the first 20 minutes of the match where an unmitigated disaster. Everton came out of the blocks like Usain Bolt, they dominated in every way and fully deserved their early lead through Pienaar's strike after 63 seconds. The goal stemmed from Cole's lapse in concentration on the left hand side, he let Jagielka get in behind him and seemed reluctant to get back and challenge. It seemed like Cole underestimated the make-shift right back and that was to the team's peril. Jagielka's cross aimed towards the back post, Anichebe beat Ivanovic to the header, the effort crashed off the post, but the rebound dropped kindly to Pienaar, who made no mistake and dispatched the chance from close. Chelsea were simply caught sleeping.

Everton looked far hungrier and more dangerous, they were pressing high, winning every 50-50 challenge, they were first to every second ball and controlled the tempo of the game. Anichebe and Jelavic were giving our centre backs no time on the ball, which meant they had to rush their passes, which led to mistakes. Pienaar gave David Luiz no time or space either, meaning we couldn't play our usual passing game. Moyes demonstrated a masterclass in tactics, he stopped us playing out from the back, made us go long to Torres, Distin dominated the Spaniard in the air, which meant Everton retrieved the ball almost instantaneously. 
The unrelenting pressure early on meant we saw constant sloppy passing, poor touches and bad decisions from Chelsea. Fortunately, the Blues weathered the storm and only conceded once, growing into the game as the half went on.


Then came Ramires' bursting run through the middle on the 25th minute, it led to a chance for Juan Mata, who hit his shot straight at Tim Howard. This attack seemed to Galvanize Chelsea and from then on looked far more dangerous going forward. Even as we gradually picked up steam, Everton were still threatening us down the flanks, particularly our left hand side, Jagielka was a surprisingly threatening attacking force on the wing.

After 30 minutes Mata started to get into his stride and create opportunities, with some magical play he set up Azpilicueta for a cross at the by-line, which whizzed across goal, only inches away from the outstretched Ashley Cole at the back post. This was a sign for things to come, as  Ramires eventually punished the Everton defence for giving him too much time at the edge of the box. The Brazilian whipped in a cross with his left foot, which was met by the ever present Frank Lampard who guided the ball into the bottom corner. The veteran midfielder once again found himself in the right place at the right time with one of his trademark runs, giving us a vital goal just before halftime.

The first half was a battle of tactics, Everton blew us away early on with their smart high pressure, they forced us into mistakes and halted our rhythm. They succeeded in stopping us from settling into the game. Fortunately, that high level of intensity cannot be consistently sustained, which meant the Blues were able to claw themselves back into it and managed to grab an equalizer at a crucial period in the match.



2nd Half

(Image below is just a rough outline of the run of play in the first half)

This graph is to give a rough idea of how the half played out & to show
who was in control at what point in the game.

Everton started strong again, mirroring their first half performance, although this time around they could only suppress Chelsea for a little under 10 minutes. On the 53rd minute David Luiz showed us all a piece of wonderful skill as he scooped the ball over the Toffee's defence which laid the ball on a plate for Fernando Torres, unfortunately his touch let him down at the vital moment and the ball trickled into Howard's grateful arms.

The vast majority of the second half was a midfield battle, with the ball not really ending up in the final third in a productive way. It wasn't until the 65th minute that David Luiz started to see a lot more of the ball and was able to control midfield like we have seen him do in the past few games. Of course once this happens, it can only mean trouble for the opposition, as Everton found out in the 72nd minute. 


Ramires, Torres, Mata, Hazard and Lampard all had a hand in the quick break away that lead to the winning goal. Ramires burst free from the midfield similar to the first half, he played a quick interchange with Torres, the ball then found it's way to Mata, who played in a delightful ball over the top towards Hazard, who headed the ball into the path of Mata, Mata's shot was saved and Lampard bundled in the rebound. It was a case of right place, right time once again for Frank, like it normally is!

After the goal Everton retook the initiative (as expected) and it really was a backs to the wall performance for the last 20 minutes to secure the 3 points. Chelsea defended remarkably well and even had a few chances to extend the lead on the counter attack, the most notable one being a 3 on 1 breakaway. Unfortunately Torres was unable to finish the chance, he hesitated for half a second and Distin managed to recover with an excellent challenge.

All in all, this performance showed heart and desire in the team that we haven't seen since the Champions League final, it is encouraging to witness!


Individual Performances



Blue = 1st Half
Red = 2nd Half

Cech - At the start looked a little nervous when playing the ball out (Everton blocked off all his options), tried some risky passes that didn't come off. Made some good saves.Injured and substituted at the start of the second half.

Azpilicueta - Had a tough time against a rampaging Leighton Baines. Anichebe kept pulling out onto him for the aerial mismatch (clever play by the Nigerian front man), he was getting overpowered by him often in the first 25 minutes especially. Made a very good cross which Ashley Cole missed by inches.
Looked very nervous at the start of the second half, but grew into the game. Had a few troubles against Leighton Baines but all in all played OK.

Ivanovic - Sloppy passing at the start of the first half and was beaten for the header that lead to the goal. Other than that he looked solid like his usual self. 
In the second half he stepped up his game and made sure he was the physical presence that Chelsea needed in the back line. He made sure he wasn't bullied by the powerful Anichebe and dealt with his threat well when called upon.

Cahill  - Made some good interceptions and brought the ball forward well. He did make a silly foul just outside the box, the resulting freekick hit the post.
More of the same in the second half with some important tackles and interceptions. However was beaten to a header by Jelavic that hit the bar. 

Cole - Looked lacklustre at the start of the game, let Jagielka have a free cross which led to Everton's goal. He pulled himself together after 10 minutes and looked like his solid consistent self. 
Did his job well in the second half, no mistakes and went forward whenever possible.


Luiz - Covered defence well, showed good pace getting back, made some important defensive challenges and taking up the correct positions. His passing in the first half wasn't on point, Pienaar was given the task of man marking the Brazilian and making his life difficult. Took on the task of being the only real physical presence in the midfield and did so well.Made some strong challenges in the second half, showed a few moments of magic (chip to Torres) and got a hold of the game which led to the Chelsea goal. 

Lampard - Unnoticeable in the first half until he got the crucial goal before halftime. 
He undertook his defensive duties well in the second half, created some chances and popped up again for the winner.

Ramires - Other than his bursting run that galvanized the team and his cross to Lampard he was incredibly poor. Touch was diabolical at times, passes were wayward and his shooting was extremely bad.Same thing happened in the second half, I was expecting to see him get substituted, he wasn't defending well and gave away some silly fouls. Then he led the break that made the goal! Such a strange game for the Brazilian, apart from the 3 moments in the game where he executed his intentions correctly, he was awful. It just so happens those 3 moments were the most important - a momentum changing run, a goal assist and a breakaway that led to a goal.


Mata - At the start of the game he made some poor touches and wasted a golden opportunity - shooting straight at the keeper. However he grew into the game and created some chances at the end of the half.
Getting into much better positions between the lines and controlling the game more. PLayed a pivotal role in the winning goal.

Hazard - Tidy, but all in all ineffective in the first half.
Got into the game more in the second half, got into better positions, played a classy backheel into Torres and his header set up the winning goal.   

Torres
 - At times he was lazy (not getting back onside) and his holdup play left a lot to be desired.
Made an improvement in the second half, took a poor touch which wasted a golden opportunity,  hit another shot straight at Howard. Did take a good snap-shot which took a good save to keep out. Hesitated when he got a 1 on 1, Distin recovered and made a good tackle. One to forget for the Spaniard in all honesty.

Turnbull (Cech) - Came out and collected the ball well, made a few good saves but didn't have too much to do.

Moses (Hazard) - Brought on for his power and better defensive capabilities, had a good shot and did his job defensively.

Oscar (Mata) - Brought on because he is better defensively than Mata. Didn't do much, but helped see the game out well with some hold up play in the corners. 



Positives

- Showed the desire and resilience that won us the fated Champions League trophy in May
- We have now put together a very good run of games and look in good shape ready for the new year

- This is the first example of our team being able to play an 'ugly' game and get the win
- Luiz had another good game in the midfield


Negatives

- Cech possibly injured
- We were caught sleeping early on in the game, this shouldn't happen and is a self inflicted wound.



Article by Martin Smith 

Follow me on twitter @MartinSmithCFC



Find your Chelsea tickets at Viagogo!



Carefree & KTBFFH!

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