Chelsea 1 vs Everton 0
Oscar didn't feature for this one. Official reason- injury. I'd love to think it might be related to his poor performance recently. Willian was on the left wing , Cuadrado was on right and Hazard was the No 10 with the free role behind Remy. Cech replaced Courtois in goal and Zouma got the nod ahead of Cahill
This victory was by no means easy
It might have been a much more straightforward night if the referee, Moss, had seen Naismith use an arm to lever the ball away from Cuadrado as they challenged one another inside the penalty area with only four minutes gone.
Matic was bullish from the first minute, Willian had his curler superbly saved by an inspired Tim Howard who was returning from injury. Hazard missed a vital touch in front of Howard which could have resulted in a goal. Cuadrado was lively and played with a lot of understanding with the front trio of Hazard, Willian and Remy
We should have been out of sight by half time. We showed much invention but lacked a killer touch and the final ball was often poor
We were almost punished by Everton when Barkley put Lukaku in the clear. He took the shot early, hoping to catch Cech out, but the keeper dealt with it by extending a leg and knocks it out for a corner with his boot.
O Chelsea, where is thy sting?
The second half continued in the same vein with Chelsea trying to break down a stubborn Everton defence without much joy. Howard appeared to have watched the video of his massive display in that World Cup game against Belgium, Stones and Jagielka were immense in the Toffees' defence
Fabregas for Cuadrado, Drogba for Remy happened in the 72nd min
Everton were beginning to fancy their chances of actually nicking all the points. In the 70th min, from a corner, McCarthy played a fine reverse pass out to Oviedo on the left who fizzed a cross through the six-yard box. Lukaku made the run, got his foot on it at point-blank range ( it should have been a goal) but Cech saved superbly with his leg ( heard he was a handball goalie in his previous life! )
In the 87th min, Hazard turned a pass back to Matic 20 yards out who scooped it past Howard and into the net. Goal! ....No!! :-( Chelsea celebrated but the flag was up and it was a fine decision from the linesman because the shot hit Ivanovic on the shoulder on the way past Howard and he was a yard offside.
It was going to be one of those nights where we are frustrated despite our better possession and drop two points. But da Silva Willian had not read that script. A well struck half volley nestled in the back of the net ( after taking a slight deflection from Steven Naismith) in the 89th min ! Goal!
The goal came a moment after Barry was sent off for a second yellow for a hack at Willian. Both Ivanovic and McCarthy were booked from the ensuing melee- during which Ivanovic did a quasi-headbutt where his head kisses the opponent's forehead rather than genuinely smacking it.
How cool was the music during the entrance of the players on to the the pitch, dimmed lights and all?
We were in cruise control for most of this game but forgot to work the gears and hit the accelerator. It didn't matter at the end
Willian was immense yet again, with his work rate and general play
He has really upped the ante in his game in the last 3 weeks. I'm sure the Cuadrado purchase has something to do with it.
While everybody including the fans were panicking, he was probably singing this:
. "E Farabale o emi ni Baale o, t'e ba dobale o , e ma kaa nle o! " ( Baale Baale by Pope ft Reminisce )
The Toffees they were so tight...
but Willian he showed us light
(I hope you saw what I did there? )
Everton fans had probably started talking about 1 point nicked and a clean sheet. Willian said "Were there dragons in that fairy tale?"
Kurt Zouma really looks like a long-term answer at centre back, doesn't he? It's hard to find too much to complain about with the way he's been playing of late.
87% Pass Completed
1 Chance Created
5 Ball Recoveries
4/4 Headed Clearances
3/5 Aerial Duels
He's only been with Chelsea for a week but Juan Cuadrado looked like he had a pretty good understanding with his attacking teammates.
Matic was in full beastmode tonight. He controlled that midfield like a boss!
His attack take-Ons ( 7 of 7 successful. By the way, that's 100%! )
Loic Remy was poor today. There was a lot of effort, but he just never seemed to be on the same page as his teammates with his runs-particularly in the box.
Costa would have been at the end of one or two of those crosses into the Everton box.
That Petr Cech save tho!.......Divine!!
9 out of 10 times that nestles in the back of the net
Lukaku was like...."Whoa, what happened there?"
Cech now has 167 clean sheets, just 3 short of David James' 170 record
Pix 4: Cech be like: "Courtois, give me my place back"
Branislav Ivanovic was probably offside for the disallowed goal, but it's hard to feel like that should have been called given the obvious handball mistake early on. Jose Mourinho should be happy, shouldn't he?
Pix 4- Diego Costa's reaction when he learnt Man City were leading 4-1 at Stokes:
It's called the Diego Shrug, it actually means- Zero Fux Given
Interviewer asks Mourinho: "Did you see the Ivanovic incident where it was believed…" Replies…."What?" with a screwface….after the interviewer repeats the question, José simply replies "Don’t make me laugh." Classic!!
Chelsea left it late but we're still 7 points clear at the top.