Benjamin Franklin once famously said ‘In this world, nothing can be certain, except death and taxes’.
Well, if he had been alive today, he may of added a Chelsea home victory over Everton into his famous quote; Since the first fixture was played in October 1908, a brace from inside forward(second striker to you younger readers) Jimmy Windridge secured a 2-1 home win for Chelsea, the Toffees have found the trip to West London a little taxing to say the least; The Blues home form, particularly in the Premier League era has been, shall we say, a little one sided – Chelsea’s record since the Premier League’s inception in September 1992 reads as; P25 W15 D10 L1 – the only loss coming in November 1994, Paul Rideout scored the winner in the 39th minute.
So with the uncertainty of the summer, the supposed lack of transfer activity, injuries to key players and the opening day home defeat to Burnley – coupled with two red cards – Antonio Conte can take the positive momentum following victory at Wembley over arch rivals Tottenham on Sunday into a fixture that usually carries a Chelsea victory.
This week Hall Of Fame trawls through the archives and looks back at some of the standout fixtures in recent years.
Chelsea 2-1 Everton:- 10th March 1993, Stamford Bridge, 12,739
The first Premier League meeting between the two sides, Everton had visited Stamford Bridge in the previous December in a League Cup meeting between the teams, Everton drove up back up the M6 not in the hat for the next round after an Andy Townsend strike settled this fourth round replay.
If Everton returned to the capital looking to exact some revenge in the way of three points then they would be disappointed, although Chelsea’s recent form gave them concerns for optimism.
Chelsea had started the season well and were challenging up the top of the league, sitting in second after 19 league games, however, it all went wrong and the Blues form spiralled, going twelve matches without a victory, this run signalled a free fall to twelfth place, replacing title aspirations with relegation worries.
Manager Ian Porterfield paid for this poor run with his job – thus becoming the first manager in the Premier League history to be dismissed.
David Webb – Club legend after scoring the winner in the 1970 FA Cup Final replay – was tasked with keeping Chelsea in the top flight, an away day defeat in his first League fixture to Blackburn didn’t get him off to a great start – a home victory against old enemies Arsenal gave Webb lift off, then came the fixture Chelsea managers craved to keep the momentum going – Everton at Stamford Bridge.
After a rather nervy opening Graham ‘Bobby” Sturt opened the scoring in the 39th minute to bring some relief to the Stamford Bridge faithful – a strike on the stroke of half time by Everton midfielder Billy Kenny put some nerves back into the players and supporter but fans favourite John Spencer would send Blues supporters happy with all three points, securing victory in the 79th minute, after coming on as a first half substitute.
Chelsea would go on to lose only three more league games as David Webb kept the Blues in the top flight – Chelsea would hire Glenn Hoddle to takeover in the summer.
Chelsea 4-1 Everton:- 21st April 2003, Stamford Bridge, 40,875
A result that would help Chelsea go onto achieve Champions League qualification and put the club on a path that is still true to the present day – a defeat away at Aston Villa, never a happy hunting ground, in the previous league fixture, meant that victory in this home fixture was paramount, particularly as the next two games were London derbies against West Ham and Fulham respectively, with Champions League chasing rivals Liverpool coming in the Do or Die last day meeting at Stamford Bridge.
Large debts and equally large ambitions gave this fixture the feeling of a must win, there is no other side in the country that Chelsea would have wanted to meet more, maybe Tottenham Hotspur, on this day, and true to recent form, the game went exactly how Claudio Ranieri and his players would have imagined.
Chelsea outplayed Everton from the off, recalled for this fixture, Jesper Gronkjaer tortured Everton defender Joseph Yobo all afternoon and was influential all match.
Eidur Gudjohnsen opened the scoring in the 24 minute with a trademark finish, Gronkjaer supplied the ball for Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink to head in a second goal just after half time and the Dane scored the third himself before the Stamford Bridge crowd were treated to something special.
Like any fine wine, they only get better with age – In the previous season, following the appointment of Claudio Ranieri, Gianfranco Zola, like many of his elder team mates, found themselves being either sold or out of the side as Ranieri wanted to put his stamp on the side with a more younger feel, but even the Tinkerman could not fail to see that the little magician still had an impact on the side.
In this season Zola would have a sort of renaissance, scoring his highest tally of goals in a season(16) and was voted the clubs player of the year; Zola’s part in this game was short but it still offered a glimpse of just how important a figure he still was, coming off the bench in the 80th minute, Zola scored an exquisite lob from outside the area to round off the scoring and the supporters begging the club to sign him up for another year.
Chelsea won the Champions League decider at home to Liverpool to secure a return among Europe’s elite – Roman Abramovich was equally impressed and decided to invest in the club – fair to say that went quite well.
Chelsea 3-0 Everton, 17th April 2006, Stamford Bridge, 41,765
A dominate Chelsea victory ensured that they had one hand on the Premier League title – denied that feat on the day, following Manchester United’s victory over Tottenham.
Chelsea’s win over Everton meant that were nine points ahead with only three games left to play, the next opportunity to seal the title, with only a draw required was at home to Manchester United themselves.
In keeping with recent fixtures over the blue half of Merseyside, Chelsea dominated proceedings from start to finish.
Didier Drogba – a scourge of Everton himself, think 35 yard volley at Goodison Park was a thorn in Everton’s side all afternoon with a performance of pace and power, after losing the ball in his own half, the Ivorian charged back, won the ball off Tim Cahill and stormed on the attack, he squared the ball back to Frank Lampard on the edge of the area, Lampard drilled the ball into the net for his 20th goal of the season – a typical double figure scoring season for Lampard in a Chelsea shirt.
Didier Drogba bagged the second goal for himself, following a typically powerful run; a run that would be synonymous throughout his Chelsea career; he charged in front of the otherwise secure Everton defender Joseph Yobo – he must hate the sight of Stamford Bridge – to power home a header from a Lampard corner.
Michael Essien, got himself on the scoresheet with the third, 10 minutes after Drogba’s header to seal the game and arguably the title for Chelsea, after an injury hit start to life at the Bridge, this fixture seemed to spark lift off for him and he would continue to be an important player for Chelsea in the ensuing years.
Chelsea did go on to retain the title – a 3-0 home victory over title rivals Manchester United in the very next fixture.
Chelsea 2-1 Everton:- 19th May 2013, Stamford Bridge, 41,794
19th May will be a date forever etched into the memories of Chelsea supporters forevermore.
There was a celebratory mood in the stands at Stamford Bridge as the supporters were celebrating the one year anniversary of Munich, there was also reason to celebrate as the fans knew that this was going to be the last time that would have to suffer seeing the figure of Rafa Benitez in the home dugout.
If any supporter had envisaged the events that had happened in the months following lifting the Champions League trophy, he or she should have placed a bet, no one could have seen what was to follow.
The crowd sang former manager Jose Mourinho’s name throughout the match – as they had done at every game since Rafa Benitez took over the reins.
After being second best in first half proceedings Chelsea took an early undeserved lead in the 7th minute through Juan Mata, to ease some nerves around the ground, latching on to a Tim Howard error following a shot from Oscar – Mata stabbed in the 20th goal of an impressive season for the Spaniard.
In keeping with how the game had been going, Everton got an almost immediate response in the shape of Steven Naismith, who equalised seven minutes later, Darren Gibson hit a post and Nikica Jelavic squandered three chances to give Everton only their second win in West London since 1994.
Fernando Torres would make Everton pay for their mistakes to kill Chelsea off, Torres would score his first Premier League goal in 2013 to ensure that Chelsea would secure third spot and automatic Champions League qualification.
Fresh from winning the Europa League, the players paraded the trophy around Stamford Bridge on their end of season lap of appreciation, Rafa Benitez chose wisely, not to join the players and coaches back on the pitch – maybe the deafening chorus of ‘Jose Mourinho’ from all four corners of the ground had something to do with it.
It was an afternoon that the crowd waved goodbye and paid homage to Paulo Ferreira after 10 years loyal service – Paulo would return to the club in ambassadorial and assistant loan player technical roles.
This match also saw the end of David Moyes tenure at Goodison Park, who would take over at Manchester United following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.
So after the summer of discontent and an opening day fixture reverse, a home fixture against Everton would have been cherry picked given the chance, following victory at Wembley away to Tottenham, to keep the momentum going, but this a rejuvenated Everton, fresh from a takeover and a summer spending spree including bringing prodigal son Wayne Rooney back to Goodison.
So Antonio Conte and his players had better beware, history tells us that this is a fixture Chelsea do very well in, but history, unlike death and taxes can be changed .