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West Ham United
December 30, 2012
• Goodison Park, Liverpool
Referee: H. Webb
• Attendance: 39485
S. Pienaar 2'
F. Lampard 42', 72'
And that concludes our LIVE coverage of Everton-Chelsea. I hope you've had fun, and will be back next time. I certainly will. Cheerio!
Everton will feel hard done by, but that is an absolutely massive win for Chelsea. They move five points clear of the Toffees with a game in hand and reclaim third place from Tottenham. With the Manchester giants both winning yesterday, Rafa Benitez knew nothing less than three points would do today, and his team have kept themselves on the fringes of the title race. David Moyes will be disappointed, but nothing in today's performance suggests his side will be anything other than well in the hunt for fourth come May.
Full-time at Goodison, and Chelsea have claimed a vital win.
90' + 3'
CHANCE! Is that the final opportunity for Everton to get something from this game? Baines whips in another superb cross from the left, but Jelavic completely scuffs his effort from the edge of the six-yard box and the ball trickles straight into the arms of a grateful Turnbull.
CHANCE! Substitute Oscar leads a three-on-two charge and plays in Torres, but the Spaniard wants to take one touch too many again and the superb Distin executes a brilliant sliding block.
A tired Everton defence is beginning to make mistakes, and Torres and Moses have already squandered promising positions.
Yellow CardAshley Cole
Barkley tries a shot from distance, but it sails comfortably over. Everton are running out of time, and growing steadily more desperate.
Everton are bombarding the Chelsea penalty area with high balls, but so far to no avail. A certain bloke called Fellaini would come in pretty handy about now...
Another cheer goes around Goodison as Ross Barkley comes on to make only his second appearance of the season. Chelsea look more confident now than at any point this afternoon though, and Everton need something special.
The hosts are roaring forward again, as David Moyes brings on Vellios in place of Naismith, but they lack the fluidity they showed earlier in this match. Judging on the way the afternoon has transpired so far, however, it seems pointless to make predictions.
Yellow CardSylvain Distin
GOAL! Against all the odds, it's Chelsea who take the lead! Mata curls a lovely ball into Hazard, who heads the ball down into the danger area. Howard parries Mata's initial effort, but that man Lampard is there again to lash the rebound home. Crazy, crazy game.
CHANCE! Everton rattle the woodwork again, as Baines teases Azpilicueta and Lampard before clipping in a cross which Jelavic meets with a looping header onto the crossbar. What a goal that would have been.
Yellow CardDavid Luiz
CHANCE! The hosts are not giving up on this yet. Osman tidily exchanges passes with Anichebe before rushing into the box and forcing Turnbull into a fine save low to his left.
CHANCE! Chelsea finally pin Everton back with some neat passing, and eventually Torres gathers the ball on the edge of the box, swivels and stings the palms of Howard with a rising drive. Is the momentum shifting?
Yellow CardSteven Pienaar
Everton's determination to deny Luiz any sort of time on the ball boils over as Pienaar catches the Brazilian late on the ankle, and is rightfully booked.
Baines is beginning to make his presence felt on the left flank now, helping his side flood the Chelsea box with dangerous crosses from free-kicks and corners. The visitors have held out so far, but only just.
Chelsea are coming forward with far more intent now, but their play still lacks any real penetration as Luiz curls another long-range effort high and wide.
More neat interplay between Mata and Hazard finds Torres with only Howard to beat, but he shoots straight at the American before being judged a good yard offside anyway.
CHANCE! This game is becoming stretched, and a swift Chelsea counter culminates in Luiz dinking a lovely ball over the Everton defence for Torres, but the Spaniard mis-controls and Howard gratefully gathers. If you wanted a moment that sums up this man's mysterious decline, that was it.
It's early but the second half looks to be settling into the same scrappy pattern as the first, with accurate passes at a premium and hopeful crosses the currency of the day.
Yellow CardGary Cahill
Everton have started fast again and, moments after Anichebe embarks on a powerful run into the box, Cahill is booked for a cynical block on Baines just inside the Chelsea half.
We're back underway at Goodison.
Cech has picked up an ankle injury in the first half, and has been replaced by Turnbull at the interval. Worrying for Chelsea fans.
Even the most ardent of Chelsea fans would have to admit they don't deserve to be level at the interval, but Everton have been made to pay for several missed chances. The visitors surely can't play any worse in the second half as they did for the first 35 minutes, but one wonders whether David Moyes' men have another gear to go into.
45' + 2'
It's half-time at Goodison, with both sides going in level.
Everton have poured forward since the goal, but for the first time in the match Chelsea have defended doggedly and with some degree of organisation. Rafa Benitez will be very happy if this proves to be the half-time score.
GOAL! With their first good delivery of the match, Chelsea draw level. Torres plays the ball to Ramires, who clips in a cross left-footed and Lampard meets it with a clever header which leaves Howard stranded before trickling inside the far post. Sign him up, Roman.
Chelsea waste a reasonable spell of possession when Lampard elects to shoot from all of 40 yards. It's deflected and Howard gathers it easily. That was ambitious even for you, Frank.
Another roar goes up at Goodison as Everton test Cech again. Pienaar turns Luiz before sliding Jelavic through on the inside left channel, and the Croat forces the Chelsea goalkeeper to tip his goal-bound effort around the post for a corner, which is cleared.
CHANCE! What a move. Mata weaves his magic around the Everton box before brilliantly sliding in Azpilicueta, who hammers the ball low across the six-yard box, but no one is there to tap it in. Fernando?
Pienaar has absolutely bossed this so far, controlling the game from a more central position while Anichebe bullies Azpilicueta down Chelsea's right. Rafa Benitez might be weighing up a tactical change very soon.
Chelsea conjure their first chance of the game, as a surging run and shot by Ramires is blocked by Heitinga, and Mata follows up to force Howard into his first save of the afternoon. It's only taken 28 minutes.
CHANCE! Everton are left cursing their luck again, as another cross from the right is met with a firm low drive from Osman, but Cech gets down to make a fine save. A second goal looks likely though.
This game has failed to settle into any kind of rhythm, which you get the impression is exactly what Everton want. The swirling wind is also playing a big part, making high balls a hazard for both sides.
Mata swings in Chelsea's first decent delivery in from the left, but Distin, who's had Torres in his pocket for the first 20 minutes, clears comfortably. Moments later, Ramires balloons the visitors' first effort miles over. This is really poor from the Blues.
Torres could be forgiven for thinking he's playing on his own at the moment. Chelsea are pumping endless long, aimless balls up to him, and consequently the Spaniard has barely had a touch so far.
The visitors settle into their first reasonably comfortable and sustained period of possession, but show no incision and disciplined Everton defending eventually forces the ball out for a goal kick.
Everton are peppering the Chelsea box with corner deliveries, but the pressure is relieved by Howard Webb, who penalises Jelavic for grappling with Ivanovic. Chelsea survive.
Chelsea are trying to gain a foothold but their passing has been wayward, with Mata and Hazard struggling to gain any time or space on the ball. Moyes will be very happy with his team so far.
Chelsea should be two down. A silly foul from Cahill on Pienaar gives Everton a free-kick just outside the penalty area. Jelavic surprisingly steps up instead of Baines, and crashes an effort off the post with Cech well beaten. Nervy times.
Chelsea look visibly rattled by that early goal, and are resorting to attempting long passes over the Everton backline towards Torres, but to no avail so far.
GOAL! Predictably, Everton have started this match at lightning pace, and have their reward inside 90 seconds. Jagielka's cross is powered against the post by Anichebe, but Pienaar follows up to fire low past Cech. The worst possible start for Chelsea.
We're off and underway on Merseyside.
The players gather to applaud along with fans the Evertonians who have passed away over the past 12 months. There are few classier tributes than the ones you see at Goodison Park.
We're moments away from kick-off at Goodison Park, and a formidable roar goes up from all four sides of the ground. How will both sides respond to such an intimidating atmosphere?
It's hardly a surprise to see a slightly more conservative Chelsea team than normal today, given the Blues have lost on each of their last three visits to Goodison Park. Ramires will surely be expected to help out Cesar Azpilicueta in dealing with the potent threat of Leighton Baines and Steven Pienaar on the left flank. It is a battle which may well decide this game.
Some interesting talking points in those lineups. With Marouane Fellaini suspended and Darron Gibson injured, David Moyes has elected to hand rare starts to Thomas Hitzlsperger and Victor Anichebe. For Chelsea, David Luiz continues in midfield, while Ramires is preferred to Victor Moses.
Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Cole, Luiz, Lampard, Ramires, Mata, Hazard, Torres. Subs: Turnbull, Ferreira, Oscar, Moses, Marin, Ake, Piazon.
Everton: Howard, Jagielka, Baines, Heitinga, Distin, Naismith, Pienaar, Hitzlsperger, Osman, Jelavic, Anichebe. Subs: Mucha, Duffy, Browning, Oviedo, Barkley, Gueye, Vellios.
Here are the starting lineups for the two sides...
Good afternoon and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE text coverage of Everton versus Chelsea. My name is Liam Twomey and I'll be taking you through all the action as it happens. Aren't you lot lucky?
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