Sep 14, 2013, 2:34 PM EST
The opening goal of the match came as a surprise to…well, pretty much everyone. It was Chelsea that had been applying heavy pressure on Everton for the last fifteen minutes. Samuel Eto’o took advantage of an error by Tim Howard, but Gareth Barry flew in to save the Everton goalkeeper. Then Eto’o set up Ramires, but that time, Howard stretched his fingers just enough to keep out the ball. As the half drew to a close, Andre Schurrle, Branislav Ivanovic and Juan Mata all came close.
Chelsea would come to rue those missed chances.
Just before the whistle blew to signal the end of the first half, Everton knocked in their first and only goal — the goal that would wind up getting the Toffees all three points. Petr Cech had just saved a header from Seamus Coleman when his attention was drawn to Nikica Jelavic, lurking near the post. But rather than taking a shot himself, the Croatian headed across to Steven Naismith, who was able to easily head on past the Chelsea goalkeeper.
The visitors did not take kindly to this cheeky goal, and came out after the break ready to find an equalizer — or even better, all three points. But again, the goal remained elusive for the Blues. Eto’o and Ramires again went close, but just couldn’t seem to find their target. Oscar, on for Mata, had his shot blocked. Nothing seemed to be working for Chelsea.
So what did Jose Mourinho do? He took off Ashley Cole and replaced him with Fernando Torres, to the utter astonishment of almost everyone watching the match. Chelsea shifted to a back three, with Ramires and Eden Hazard operating more as wingbacks. With Chelsea chasing the game, conceding was of little importance — Mou simply wanted goals, and lots of them.
It very nearly worked — and it may have, if Howard hadn’t managed to keep his wits about him. John Terry got on the end of a cross from Frank Lampard, but Howard was there in time. Shortly thereafter, it was Eto’o and Ramires combining again, but Howard was up to the task. Finally, as sort of a final hurrah, Torres put his 90th minute shot wide.
Everton: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Osman, Barry, Mirallas (Deulofeu 92), Naismith (Stones 89), Barkley, Jelavic (McCarthy 65)
Subs not used: Robles, Heitinga, Oviedo, Gueye
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Cole (Torres 69), Ramires, Mikel, Schurrle (Lampard 57), Hazard, Mata (Oscar 57), Eto’o
Subs not used: Essien, De Bruyne, Schwarzer, Cahill
Jan 31, 2015, 4:57 PM EST
Arsenal and Southampton hope to keep their assaults on the Top Four in order, while Aston Villa and Swansea City hope to snap skids.
Jan 31, 2015, 4:19 PM EST
And to think, we’ve still a pair of Sunday matches on the slate. Let’s go through what’s done and dusted.
Jan 31, 2015, 3:40 PM EST
There were eight games in the PL on a busy Saturday. Here’s how it all went down with recaps, analysis and much more.
Jan 31, 2015, 3:20 PM EST
Manchester City’s boss thought his charges were very good, but is disappointed to snare a solitary point against Chelsea.
Jan 31, 2015, 3:12 PM EST
Lampard was the last player on the pitch, saluting both groups of supporters.
Jan 31, 2015, 3:06 PM EST
What did we learn from the tense draw at Stamford Bridge? Here’s three things.
Jan 31, 2015, 2:47 PM EST
Giving Chelsea and City’s players a mark out of 10.
Jan 31, 2015, 2:21 PM EST
All the goal scoring came within the 41st and 45th minutes at Stamford Bridge, as City failed to cut into Chelsea’s first-place advantage.
Jan 31, 2015, 2:00 PM EST
Want to see Benzema’s brilliant bender? Of course you do.
Jan 31, 2015, 1:40 PM EST
Blind believes United are getting close to what LVG expects.
Jan 31, 2015, 1:21 PM EST
It started off slow and tentative, but the big match between Chelsea and Manchester City is opening up
Jan 31, 2015, 1:04 PM EST
Moyesy is learning Spanish from a Manchester United fan…
Jan 31, 2015, 12:50 PM EST
For the Toffees, defense is the way forward for the rest of the season.
Jan 31, 2015, 12:33 PM EST
“It’s always difficult to be honest when you’ve had a long break,” Defoe said. “But I’ve had a mini-pre-season and I’m getting sharper and sharper.”
Jan 31, 2015, 12:16 PM EST
Sunderland now has four points breathing room from the drop zone, and three points space from Burnley.
Jan 31, 2015, 12:10 PM EST
Walters grabs first career hat trick as R’s still searching for first road point.
Jan 31, 2015, 12:09 PM EST
Losses from QPR, Hull and Leicester keep West Brom three points shy of the drop zone.
Jan 31, 2015, 12:04 PM EST
Toffees put in resolute display to climb clear of danger.
Jan 31, 2015, 11:55 AM EST
The Red Devils ease past Leicester.
Jan 31, 2015, 11:53 AM EST
Liverpool leapfrogs its opponents on the table, moving into 7th with 38 points.
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