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Chelsea 1-0 Everton
12.19 – Hello, and welcome to our liveblog of the first of the weekend’s Premier League fixtures.
The team news is in…
CHELSEA: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Lampard, Matic, Willian, Oscar, Hazard, Eto’o. Subs: Cole, Ramires, Torres, Schurrle, Salah, Ba, Schwarzer.
EVERTON: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, McCarthy, Barry, Mirallas, Osman, Pienaar, Traore. Subs: Robles, Hibbert, McGeady, Deulofeu, Naismith, Barkley, Stones.
12.26 – Mourinho has gone with Eto’o up front today. If you need a reminder, here are Chelsea’s striker’s less-than-impressive statistics for the season so far:
Demba Ba — 11 appearances, 1 goal.
Fernando Torres — 18 appearances, 4 goals.
Samuel Eto’o — 16 appearances, 6 goals.
12.33 – Pointing out that Seamus Coleman cost just £60,000 from Sligo, BT Sport presenter Matt Smith reminds us that it’s the equivalent of “Wayne Rooney for a day and a half”.
12.40 – Late change to the Everton team — Traore has been ruled out, so Naismith starts in his place up front.
12.47 – We’re underway…
Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images
Two Chelsea fans wait by artwork on the walls outside Stamford Bridge before the game.
12.51 – Chelsea have started the game in a positive fashion.
A quick counter-attack enabled Willian to flash a shot just wide.
12.57 – Baines beats the Chelsea offside trap and narrowly fails to pick out Coleman in the box.
They may be playing the league leaders, but it’s not going to stop Everton’s full-backs getting forward in their customary manner.
13.00 – Some clever Everton passing leads to Leon Osman shooting powerfully from just outside the box.
It forces Petr Cech to save well, tipping the ball over the bar for a corner.
13.01 – Following a slow start, Everton are coming into this game a bit more.
Nonetheless, Chelsea continue to look dangerous on the break.
13.05 – Naismith finds Mirallas in the box, but Gary Cahill makes an excellence last-ditch block to prevent the midfielder’s shot from hitting the target.
Everton have looked increasingly impressive and imposing as this game’s developed. Their superior possession has caused the crowd at Stamford Bridge to go fairly quiet.
13.11 – Everton have had 80% possession over the last five minutes, according to BT Sport’s figures.
It reflects the fact that they are looking increasingly dominant — though they have yet to create any clear-cut openings.
13.18 – Better from Chelsea — a sustained period of pressure leads to Azpilicueta producing a powerful shot that Howard does well to hold onto.
The crowd have been getting increasingly frustrated at the hosts’ inability to make an impact on this game.
13.26 – Eto’o manages to wriggle away from the Everton defenders and gets his shot on target, but unfortunately for Chelsea, it’s straight at Howard.
Shortly thereafter, Everton launch an attack down the other end.
This game is very finely balanced at the moment.
13.30 – The game has been played at a relatively slow pace.
There’s a lack of dynamism in this Chelsea performance so far.
13.35 – James McCarthy leads a promising Everton counter-attack, but his shot is well blocked by a Chelsea defender.
Shortly thereafter, Mirallas finds space on the edge of the area, but he fluffs his shot, hitting Naismith.
The Toffees lack the cutting edge that one of their two injured strikers may have provided.
13.42 – So half-time and it’s been a less-than-vintage Chelsea performance.
Indeed, Everton were the better side for long periods of that first half.
While the two teams look solid defensively, there has been a lack of cutting edge in their attacking play, reflected by the fact that neither team’s forwards have been particularly prolific in recent times.
13.35 – HALF-TIME: CHELSEA 0-0 EVERTON
13.50 – Ramires is replacing Oscar to give Chelsea a bit more bite in midfield.
It’ll be interesting to see if the Brazilian can stem Everton’s midfield dominance.
13.50 – The second half has begun…
Source: Daniel Hambury
Chelsea’s Eden Hazard (left) and Everton’s Phil Jagielka (right) battle for the ball.
13.57 – Lampard makes an intelligent run behind the Everton defence, but he blasts his shot straight at Howard.
Moments later, Eto’o appeals for a penalty, claiming an Everton defender handballed in the box. On first glance, it looked accidental.
13.58 – Chelsea have looked slightly more in control at the beginning of the second half.
Everton have barely threatened since the break.
14.01 – Ramires takes a pot shot from about 40 yards out, which fails to trouble the goalkeeper.
Chelsea look a little short on ideas right now, despite improving since half-time.
14.05 – Osman’s deflected shot forces Cech into a good save
We’re approaching the hour mark, and the league leaders by this stage must realise that they have a big challenge on their hands.
And as I type, Fernando Torres is preparing to come on.
14.08 – Stunning double from Tim Howard to stop both Hazard and Ivanovic — a blasted shot from close range in the latter instance.
Meanwhile, Chelsea are going with two in attack, as Torres replaces Willian.
14.10 – Ross Barkley has replaced Leon Osman — a change which indicates that Everton are far from content to hold on for the 0-0 draw.
It’s all set up for an exciting climax.
14.12 – A promising Everton counter-attack ends with Pienaar failing to pick out his man in the box.
Time for Aiden McGeady’s introduction, perhaps?
Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images
(Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic has a shot on goal.)
Meanwhile, Chelsea’s latest change sees Schurrle come on for Eto’o.
14.20 – With less than 20 minutes to go, Chelsea are slowly pushing Everton further back into their half.
If anyone’s going to win it, the home side look the most likely.
14.23 – Torres has hit a shot well wide after it deflects off his own man.
The game, however, has looked slightly more promising from a Chelsea perspective in recent minutes.
14.29 – Torres scuffs a shot well wide, as Chelsea’s attack play grows increasingly desperate.
The Spaniard has so far failed to make much of an impact since coming on.
14.32 – Ivanovic’s cross finds an unmarked Schurrle at the back post, but the German blasts the ball well over.
Both teams’ finishing has been decidedly poor today.
14.36 – Everton have a great chance to counter-attack, but Barkley produces a sloppy pass that goes out of play.
Shortly thereafter, Ramires unleashes a powerful shot that goes inches wide.
We’re into stoppage time…
14.38 – Sylvain Distin is named the man-of-the-match, which is probably a fair decision, though any of the Everton back four could probably have a legitimate claim to the accolade.
14.38 – GOAL FOR CHELSEA!
14.41 – Chelsea 1-0 Everton: Frank Lampard blasts a free-kick into the box and John Terry steals in at the back post to guide the ball into the net (90 mins).
It’s harsh on Everton, who have matched Chelsea for much of this game.
14.42 – FULL-TIME: CHELSEA 1-0 EVERTON
14.44 – Speaking on BT Sport, Neil Warnock says the referee got “conned” after Ramires appeared to go down easily for the free kick that led to the goal.
Chelsea go four points clear at the top thanks to that somewhat fortuitous win.
14.52 – So Chelsea ultimately grind out a win.
It’s harsh on Everton, though the Londoners did improve as the game went on, and put heavy pressure on the Everton box in the closing 15 minutes, which eventually paid off.
It wasn’t the prettiest of performances from Chelsea, but they got the result that mattered as they maintain their push for the title.
Everton, meanwhile, will be disappointed at yet another unfortunate loss in a manner akin to their recent encounter with Tottenham, when they lost despite looking the better team for much of the game.
14.55 – In his post-match interview, John Terry says it’s up to the club to decide how long he stays at the club.
Meanwhile, Roberto Martinez says it was a “great performance” from his side and accuses Ramires of trying to “buy” the free-kick at the end.
14.58 – Here’s a look at Chelsea’s winner…
14.58 – Right, that’s it from me for now.
Thanks for reading and commenting, and enjoy the rest of your weekends.