CHELSEA’S AWAY DAY BLUES CONTINUE
By Football Talk.
Everton 2-1 Chelsea
Chelsea’s lead at the top of the Premier League was cut to 1 point after Everton won 2-1 at Goodison Park. However, Manchester United failed to capatalize as they drew 1-1 with Aston Villa.
Chelsea made only one change from the side that beat Arsenal 2-0, with Yury Zhirkov replacing Michael Ballack. Mikel Arteta started his first game for almost a year, replacing Marouane fellani.
Everton started brightly with Landon Donovan breaking clear only to over-hit his cross intended for Saha. But it wasn’t long before Chelsea assumed control of the match and almost opened the scoring, Lampard firing wide from the edge of the area.
Didier Drogba came close to extending his recent goal run but headed over, while Ivanovic volleyed wide. Chelsea then scored the first goal of the game with a simple route one approach. Cech’s long kick was flicked on by Drogba into the path of Malouda who held off Neville to fire low past Howard. Simple stuff from the league leaders.
0-1 Malouda (17)
Ricardo Carvalho headed straight at Howard as Chelsea looked to double their advantage. But Everton hit back and almost found the equaliser, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov cross found Baines but the full-back’s effort was saved by Cech.
Chelsea were made to rue their missed chances after Everton drew level after 33 minutes. Donovan’s cross found the unmarked Saha to head home from close range.
1-1 Saha (33)
Everton’s confidence was high and almost grabbed the lead but Osman’s effort flew narrowly wide. Chelsea went straight up the other end and came close themselves. Drogba doing well to reach the by-line his cut-back found Anelka who could only fire wide.
Lampard and Drogab both went close for the visitor’s, while Everton dangerman Saha should have given his side the lead on two occasions just before half-time. First he was found by Donovan in the box but a poor first touch let him down and Cech rushed out to block. Saha then squandered a golden opportunity to give Everton the lead after Donovan was fouled in the area by Carvalho. Saha stepped up from 12 yards but his weak penalty was saved by Cech.
Everton came out for the second half and almost took an early lead, Bilyaletdinov’s cross/shot was tipped over by Cech. Saha and Bilyaletdinov hasted half chances as Everton were putting the pressure on Chelsea.
That pressure paid off with 15 minutes remaining. Terry failed to deal with a long ball from Distan, Saha controlled brilliantly with his chest and fired past Cech for his second of the game.
2-1 Saha (75)
The Premier League leaders now had it all to do and Drogba came close to getting the equaliser but his headed rebounded off the bar, while Lampard had a shot well saved by Howard.
It finished 2-1 to Everton and Chelsea’s poor away form continued. Thankfully for Carlo Ancelotti Manchester United could only draw at Aston Villa so they maintain top stop by a single point. But Chelsea will have to improve on their second half performance if they are to win their first title in 3 years.
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