Chelsea recorded an efficient, if less dominant, win over an Everton side which has always got some points away from Stamford Bridge for the last five years. A goal from the on-form Daniel Sturridge, and on old partnership of John Terry and Frank Lampard put Chelsea well on their way before half-time, before Ramires tapped in near the hour mark. Vellios grabbed a consolation for the visitors within EIGHT seconds of coming on as a substitute.
With David Luiz having played two full matches for Brazil this week and a need for some rest, AVB decided to partner Ivanovic with John Terry. Lampard was again in midfield, with Meireles benched and Mikel back in the starting XI. Drogba was at the top flanked by Juan Mata and Daniel Sturridge, as Fernando Torres was serving the second of his three match ban.
It was a balanced opening, with both sides having chances of their own, Ramires was barged over by Distin whilst Saha who loves scoring against Chelsea, had a fierce drive saved by Cech in what was a physical contest. But it was a moment of class which created the first goal. Juan Mata, with an eagle’s eye, spotted the on-rushing Ashley Cole, and lifted the ball over. Cole deftly slid it to the on-form Sturridge, who headed it low into the net. Everton broken, and Chelsea looked comfortable for their lead.
One goal was soon to be followed by another on the stroke of half-time. Frank Lampard swung in a beautiful corner from the left-wing, and John Terry rose tallest to head past a flapping Tim Howard, a type of goal which Chelsea themselves had looked susceptible at conceding. An emphatic header to mark his 350th Premier League appearance was marked equally in the celebration, JT peeling off his team-mates before sitting on the floor.
The start of the second half was nothing like what Chelsea were like at the end of the first. With fifteen seconds played from the restart, Leon Osman curled a shot to Cech’s left hand post. Cech was beaten, but to his and the supporters’ relief behind, so was the goal.
With Chelsea starting to wake-up after that nap, we asserted more control, and this was shown in our third. An excellent break-away goal resulted in a simple tap-in. Mata found Drogba in the middle of the park, who drove in to the box and fed the former. He crossed low into the box and Ramires marked his 50th Chelsea appearance with a tap-in from two yards. A goal marked a good game for the Brazilian, but it was cut short with a “minor” injury caused when bundling the ball over for his goal, and he subsequently went off.
Malouda came on in his place, but with Chelsea already 3-0 and cruising, there was little required for him to do but assert Chelsea’s possession. Ten minutes later followed more substitutions, Mikel and Mata both went off for the young – Oriol Romeu – and old – Nicolas Anelka.
With a few moments still left on the clock, David Moyes decided to bring on teenage striker Apostolos Vellios. Vellios repaid the manager’s faith in him by scoring with his first touch just EIGHT seconds after coming on, flicking goalwards a Drenthe cross. Yet again, Chelsea fail to keep a clean sheet, after some really poor lackadaisical defending, as Vellios had plenty of space.
An efficient win for AVB’s men, who only had five shots on target. With an abundance of possession over Everton, this match appeared to be heading only one way, but the one thing nagging on AVB’s mind was the fact Everton have a good record against Chelsea. But no summer spending for them showed, with them lacking some true strikers and often coming to defend and negate the influential Juan Mata by stuffing the midfield. But the class and talent oozed from Chelsea, and that man Mata. At the heart of every move, he glided in from left to centre and centre to right, always tracking the ball and making space, justified by having a huge hand in two goals.
AVB will be extremely happy with the win; after an international break, it can often be hard to make the players think club football again, and often they are low on energy, but with a strong core of players, Chelsea and AVB will wait eagerly for Genk’s visit to The Bridge on Wednesday – and with the return of Fernando Torres.