Could Everton make it a hat-trick of Christmas wins or would Chelsea continue their free-scoring form? We had minute-by-minute coverage of the first part of the Super Sunday Premier League double-bill.
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Everton 1-2 Chelsea
13.27 – Ho ho ho — there’s still a bit of Christmas cheer in the Merseyside air and let’s hope that the festive feast of Premier League goals doesn’t dry up this afternoon. It’s Everton v Chelsea at Goodison Park and we’ll have minute-by-minute updates of all the action.
The teams are in the tunnel and the Z Cars theme is at the ready on the tannoy. Let’s have those line-ups.
13.30 – Team news: No Fellaini for Everton of course; the man with the best hair in Premier League football is serving the final game of his ban. Lampard starts for Chelsea in midfield.
Everton: Howard, Jagielka, Heitinga, Distin, Baines, Naismith, Osman, Hitzlsperger, Pienaar, Anichebe, Jelavic. Subs: Mucha, Oviedo, Gueye, Barkley, Vellios, Duffy, Browning.
Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Cole, Ramires, Luiz, Lampard, Mata, Torres, Hazard. Subs: Turnbull, Oscar, Moses, Ferreira, Marin, Piazon, Ake.
13.34 – KICK OFF: We’re up and running.
13.34 – GOAL! Everton 1-0 Chelsea (Pienaar, 2′) What a start by Everton — Steven Pienaar puts the hosts a goal up after just 63 seconds! Ashley Cole’s mind is still in the dressing room and he leaves an acre of space for Phil Jagielka on the right wing. His cross to the back post is met by the head of Anichebe who is unlucky not to score, but when the ball rebounds off the post, Pienaar is on hand to drill through the crowd of bodies and past Cech.
13.40 – Before Pienaar’s goal, I was all set to make a joke about Rafa Benitez’s promotion from “interim assistant deputy to the regional manager” to good old fashioned “manager” on the Everton team-sheet. It’s not quite as effective now that they’re a goal down though.
(via Conor McNamara)
13.43 – The width of that same Goodison goalpost stops Nikica Jelavic from putting Everton 2-0 up. He does the honours with free just outside the box — in the area of the pitch traditionally known as Leighton Baines territory — and watches as the ball dips back down over the wall and off the upright with Cech a beaten man.
13.46 – More trouble on the left for Chelsea and this time Gary Cahill has to be quick to beat Jelavic to Pienaar’s cross and turn it behind for a corner. Everton are finding plenty of space in these opening minutes.
13.51 – The Chelsea midfield plays keep-ball inside the Everton half but there’s no obvious opening and the move dies when Hazard tries to pick out Ramires and the Brazilian miscontrols.
13.54 – In the battle of Fernando Torres v Sylvain Distin, it’s Distin who gets his body between man and ball and draws a frustrated shove from Torres. The Goodison crowd give the former Red a rather un-Christmassy piece of their collective mind.
13.56 – I’ve never been to Goodison so I don’t know if there’s a Row Z. If there is, someone in that general area has just been woken up by a wayward Ramires effort.
14.02 – Chances at either end. Everton press Chelsea into submission and force a mistake that leads to a throw. From there, Pienaar’s back-heel takes two Chelsea players out of the game and gives Jagielka the room to cross. When the ball breaks to Osman at the edge of the box he does everything by the book, but Cech is able to get down to save.
Chelsea very nearly capitalise at the other end but Howard gets a leg on Mata’s shot and then pounces on the ball when it is scrambled back to him.
14.04 – 30 minutes gone and despite a few occasional Chelsea flourishes, it has been all Everton so far. It’s only the post and a good Cech save that have kept the visitors in this match.
14.08 – Juan Mata’s fingerprints are all over Chelsea’s best chance of the game. He finds space in the box after a neat one-two with Torres and just as Everton seem to have brought enough men back to smother the danger, flicks the ball through to Azpilicueta. His drive across the face of Howard’s goal only needs somebody to breathe on it but Hazard and Cole are both just out of reach.
14.10 – Pienaar launches a counter-attack and Jelavic is a fingertip away from exposing Chelsea’s lack of cover at the back. He turns Cahill one way and then the other before shooting across Cech, but the keeper gets enough of a touch to brush it around the post.
14.13 – A half-chance for Torres as Lampard’s deflected free falls to him but Distin gets a toe on the shot to deflect it behind.
14.15 – Everton 1-1 Chelsea (Lampard 42′) They haven’t been great in this half but Chelsea are back in this match. Ramires dinks up a lovely cross from the right and Lampard gets his header spot on, nestling it in the corner as Howard watches on like a man who has just missed the 16A on a Sunday morning.
14.20 – HALF TIME: Everton 1-1 Chelsea
14.29 – Your half-time analysis, courtesy of Jamie Redknapp: “If you run hard, it’s amazing how lucky you get.”
14.36 – Substitution: Just the one change for Chelsea at the break but it’s an important one — sub keeper Ross Turnbull comes on to replace Petr Cech who hurt his ankle in the first half, according to reports from the ground.
14.36 – SECOND HALF: … we’re back.
14.40 – Leighton Baines will need a new jersey and a rub of the magic sponge after an unfortunate clash with Gary Cahill’s studs.
14.43 – Pienaar gets to the bye-line and has all day (and most of the night too) to pick out Jelavic. He can’t get enough back lift on the ball though and it’s hurried away by the Chelsea back four.
14.47 – David Luiz channels his inner Mata with a artisanal dink through to Torres but instead of controlling the ball, the Spaniard grazes the top of it with his studs. It’s about as effective as it sounds.
14.51 – When all of Chelsea’s ingredients click, they are simply irresistible – much like my granny’s Christmas pudding. They carve through Everton at pace before an instictive Hazard flick leaves Torres one-on-one with Howard. The keeper makes a smart save but it wouldn’t have mattered anyway as Torres was a stray hair or two offside. Stunning move though.
14.53 – A hairy moment for Ross Turnbull as he collects the ball under his bar and takes a step back towards his line. Towards his line rather than over it, despite the howls from the crowd.
14.55 – Steven Pienaar clatters through the back of Luiz and is booked by Howard Webb for his trouble. I would say “he can’t have too many complaints about that,” but he’s arguing the toss anyway so I’ll say nothing.
14.59 – Torres tries his luck from 20 yards but a good strike is met with a good save.
15.03 – Nikica Jelavic should be celebrating one of the finest headed goals you’ll see this season; instead, he’s wondering how long it will take the crossbar to stop rattling. Leighton Baines crosses to the near post and from an almost impossible angle, Jelavic twists his body to get the header in. Turnbull is beaten but it’s off the bar and away.
15.03 – GOAL! Everton 1-2 Chelsea (Lampard, 72′) Are Chelsea really going to sell Frank Lampard? REALLY? The midfielder’s second goal of the game has given them the lead with just under 20 minutes to play at Goodison. There’s a scramble in the box as Hazard tries to cushion a header into Lampard’s path and after Mata’s initial efforts is blocked, Lampard is in the right place at the right time — and onside, crucially — to swipe a leg out and lift the ball over Howard.
15.07 – Substitutons: Moses on to replace Hazard for Chelsea; Velios on to replace Naismith for Everton.
15.10 – Substitution: And another change for Everton as Turnbull comes on to replace Hitzelsperger. Everton have a little more than 10 minutes to get their equaliser.
15.12 – Substitution: And now Bryan Oviedo comes on to replace Pienaar who has been excellent this afternoon. A definite contender for the Frank Lampard Man of the Match award.
15.14 – Chelsea are defending in numbers. Expect seven or eight minutes of Leighton Baines’ missiles into the box.
15.16 – Substitution: Now it’s time for Rafa’s last change. Bring on a defender? Pish. It’s Oscar for Mata.
15.17 – The zip has gone out of Everton’s comeback in the last couple of minutes as Chelsea slow things down. Ashley Cole is booked.
15.19 – Oscar cuts back in from the left and tries to curl one inside Howard’s left post. He’s lucky not to be booked for timewasting after that effort.
15.21 – Osman goes over Lampard’s outstretched leg on the edge of the box but Howard Webb waves play on.
15.22 – FOUR MINUTES of injury time. Torres has a chance to seal it but he dawdles over Oscar’s pass for a split second and Distin gets back to make a perfectly-timed tackle. Tip of the cap to you, sir.
15.24 – A minute to play. Everton have a free on the half-way line and take it short…
15.25 – That was Everton’s moment. Baines fires another cross into the box, the type you’d want Nikica Jelavic to be on the end of, but the big Croat fresh airs and lets the ball bobble harmlessly off his standing leg.
15.26 – FULL TIME: Everton 1-2 Chelsea
15.30 – And so ends the Frank Lampard show. Expect much of the post-match analysis and reaction to be dominated by two goals from the 34-year-old midfielder that Chelsea are on the verge of letting go. Second thoughts, Mr Abramovich?
15.33 – So Everton lose their long unbeaten home record as Chelsea move up to third. Win their game in hand and they will be one point behind Manchester City in second with a lot of football still to be played.
15.36 – Frank Lampard collects the Frank Lampard Man of the Match award for his contribution to a cracking afternoon of football. No comment on his future though; just a lot about how much he loves Chelsea and the fans.
15.38 – That’s all we’ve got for now although you can join Paul Fennessy presently for minute-by-minute coverage of Super Sunday Part II, QPR v Liverpool. Thanks for reading.