Blues stick close to Toffees
Written By: Robert Halter
Chelsea were looking to extend their unbeaten Premier League home run against Everton to twenty one games, having drawn five out of nine home matches in the league with the Toffees. On the quarter of the hour mark, after build up play with Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas, from the final ball through, Willian whipped in a shot that Tim Howard parried over the crossbar. But three minutes later, the Toffees responded as Aaron Lennon started the move and when Ross Barkley’s effort rebounded off Kurt Zouma, the ball was steered wide of the right post by Bryan Oviedo. On his return to face his former Blues, Romelu Lukaku latched onto a pass from Kevin Mirallas but was unable to find the target in the twentieth minute. Everton pressed again on thirty nine minutes, and after collecting a pass from Leighton Baines, before turning past Zouma, a low drive by Mirallas was unleashed from outside the box which Thibaut Courtois, put behind at full stretch. But it was the Toffees that got the breakthrough on forty nine minutes, as Lukaku started the move and as Barkley put the ball over to Baines, his low left wing cross towards Lukaku cannoned off Blues captain, John Terry, before finding the centre of the net. Everton could have forged further ahead on fifty two minutes, when Mirallas’s threaded pass found Barkley, whose low shot struck against the foot of the left post. The Blues then changed Nemanja Matic with Oscar. The Blues went further behind on fifty five minutes, as after Barkley sent a pass to Aaron Lennon, he put the ball over to Baines on the left, whose low cross was met by Mirallas on the turn, as he beat off the challenge of John Obi Mikel, before steering his shot into the right corner of the goal. On the hour mark, an inventive back heel by Fabregas from an assisted cross through Cesar Azpilicueta, produced a flying tip over by Howard, but as the ball found Mikel, his shot struck against Toffees captain, Phil Jagielka, who was rooted to the floor in the penalty area. But on sixty three minutes, the Blues pulled a goal back as from inside his own half, a floating delivery by Fabregas could not be charged down by Jagielka and Howard, which allowed Costa to slide his way through and roll the ball into an empty net. It inspired Chelsea, who found a route back into the match, as Fabregas started and finished the move, when from Oscar’s neat touch, the ball was back heeled by Costa, before a low shot from Fabregas, deflected off Jagielka, which left Howard flat footed, as the ball went past him, to bring the score back to level terms. The Blues then brought on Kenedy for Pedro, and the substitution caused an injury to Oviedo, who was caught on the leg by Kenedy, and after being taken off on a stretcher, Ramiro Funes Mori took over. In the seventy fourth minute, a ball over from Azpilicueta went too far past Costa, as he was unable to find a connection. But within a minute from a through ball by Muhamed Besic, it put Mirallas in the clear, and with just Courtois to beat, he drove the ball against the legs of the Blues keeper. After Costa pulled up injured, Loic Remy took up the cause for the Blues while the Toffees brought on Gerard Deulofeu for Lennon and Steven Pienaar for Barkley. On eighty three minutes, after Oscar had been charged down, the loose ball fell to Mikel, who struck a high shot from distance that flew over the right side of the crossbar. The Toffees looked to have won the game in the ninetieth minute, when from Deulofeu’s corner, the ball was headed back to him by Remy and Deulofeu then sent over a cross to the far post, where the outstretched leg of Funes Mori, tucked the ball away for a 3-2 advantage. The Blues rallied late, as Willian’s strike was deflected away off Gareth Barry, wide of the right post from an assist by Azpilicueta. Before the whistle blew, Terry secured a 3-3 draw, as from a speculative ball through Fabregas, which was knocked on by Branislav Ivanovic and then Oscar, the ball was slid by Terry past Howard, as despite being offside, the goal stood.