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Everton 1 Chelsea 2

Everton 1 Chelsea 2

Frank Lampard produced a captain's performance netting a double to surely remind Roman Abramovich that he might have to re-think the club's policy of only giving one-year contract extensions to anyone over 30.

And Rafa Benitez seems to be doing everything right. Even the most blinkered of Chelsea fans can see how much we've improved under him. Let's not underpin the task for Chelsea yesterday - Everton away is no easy game. This was surely a test of Rafa and the Chelsea players to find out if we could be considered a title contenders. Indeed, it was a must win game if we were to retain any hope of being up there come what May, and it couldn't have got off to a worse start.

With only a minute played, Leon Osman brushed Hazard off the ball, and played it through to Jagielka who's cross was met by Anichebe at the back post. His header hit the post and Pienaar was on hand to smash the rebound past Cech. The Evertonians couldn't have wished for a better start.

But Chelsea are more solid under Benitez these days and after surviving Everton pressure for the first 25 odd minutes, the away team started to creep into the game. Chelsea had a chance with 27 minutes on the clock after fine work from Ramires. His barnstorming run through the centre left Heitinga chasing his shadow. Our athletic midfielder shot low but Howard saved it well and while still on the ground effectively stopped Mata's attempt to score from the rebound.

Six minutes later, a brilliant move from Chelsea with Mata the hub. He used space on the right by beating two men with a one-two with David Luiz (again handed a midfield role), then nudged it to Torres who turned it round the corner where Mata had got to the right byline. His cross darted right across goal, just eluding Hazard at the near post and missed Cole's outstretched boot at the back post by a gnat's pube.

It was turning into a very open game, and just three minutes later, Cech had to be at his best when Pienaar playing a glorious crossfield 40 yard pass straight into the run of Jelavic. He hit a sharp shot across Cech from left to right, the Czech keeper finger-tipped it behind.

Still 1-0 to Everton as the half matured, but Chelsea were to level just before the break when Torres (who was stupidly being booed by the home fans) used his tenacity on the right touchline where he chased a seemingly lost cause, stopped the ball going out, tapped it to Ramires who dug out his cross while falling backwards and Lampard leapt to steer it with his head past Howard in the Everton goal.

Half time - one a piece. Everton much the better side for the first 25-30 mins, but Chelsea were level going in to the dressing room for their cup of tea and orange segments.

Ross Turnbull skipped out for the second half after Cech was complaining on a niggle going down the tunnel after the first period, so Rafa made the switch to protect our no.1 keeper.

The second half didn't start with as much fizz as the first, but on 66 minutes, an excellent combination from Cole, having intercepted a pass to Naismith, and Hazard let the Belgian go on a mazy run up the field from the left before tapping it to Mata. He rolled it to back to Cole to give him the space whip in his cross, but Everton again cleared well from a good cross and an excellent build up. Moments later Torres worked an opening on his right with a half-turn and shimmy, clipping a shot the excellent Howard turned away.

Just after 3pm, with nearly 70 minutes played, Osman squirmed his way through the middle, spotted a gap between Cahill and Cole and rifled in a low shot that Turnbull parried away. Baines then chipped a glorious near-post cross that Jelavic arched his neck to head over Turnbull and … straight onto the bar. A close call, but still one apiece.

And then two minutes later, Super Frank was at the double when again (how many times have we said this in his career), he was in the right place at the right time. Good work from Mata set up a cross for Hazard to knock it back across goal and Lampard did the rest and stuck it high into the net. 2-1 Chelsea. Get in.

Chelsea had a chance to make it three when breaking three on two in the first minute of extra time. Torres shifted it to the right of the penalty area to shoot and Distin made a great tackle to thwart Torres of yet another goal this season.

Howard Webb then blew for full time and it was Chelsea who took a superb three points in what was an extremely difficult fixture.

Despite all the protests about Rafa, he really does seem to be turning things around doesn't he?


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.

Ref: Webb

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Monday December 31 2012
Time: 2:31AM


Yh...nice game there,we ll be unstoppable when we sign Demba ba,Taison and a defender/midfielder(depending on where the club decides to settle luiz) Up CFC
31/12/2012 03:51:00
good game. We had to dig in for this victory. Formation changes by rafa midway in to 1st half show his tactical wisdom. Leadership on and off the field by the player and manager clearly showed in this game. It was not beautiful But rather a brawl which suited the everton. We need physical options in the team to counter teams like everton stoke etc.
Blue India
31/12/2012 03:55:00
It was a good way to end 2012,QPR is next and let hope we win the match,who knows what happens come may '13
31/12/2012 04:49:00
Great ain. Once again done the hard "ugly " way but three points all the same. Well done to Rafa, Lamps and to Mata as well as Cahill and Iva who were the stand out performers for me. Now all i can hope is that Cech makes a quick recovery before Wednesday!!!
31/12/2012 05:02:00
sorry for the typo..meant to say Great "win" not "ain"
31/12/2012 05:03:00
I hope we smash seven shades of Spur out of QPR
31/12/2012 05:44:00
I haven't been this happy about a win since we defeated spurs. Now, I'm starting to feel good about the season.
31/12/2012 06:10:00
Djdutts hw's merlin? Hope he's recoverin. My get-well-soon wishes to him. A great win too
prince china
31/12/2012 06:41:00
Lampard offered new contract :
31/12/2012 06:45:00
prince china - I'm sure he's ok, maybe a touch of man flu, he'll be back soon enough!
31/12/2012 06:51:00
give lampard new contract and play him as CF . right time, right place.
31/12/2012 06:54:00
After calmly watching the game second time in the morning i came to the conclusion that lot of our fans has lost the ability to praise a player like LUIZ. After 2 yrs of newspaper lies lot of our fans are not involuntarily bashing LUIZ even after a great performance. FL may hav scored the 2 goals that won us the game but he was pretty much anonymous for the entire match other than that goals. LUIZ is the man of the match for me yesterday. After the first 15 mins HE WAS LIKE A ONE MAN MIDFIELD. He has gone toe to toe with each and every everton player. We need that kind of player who will up his physical side of the game if the opposition is a physical side like Everton stoke etc. All these useless bashing of LUIZ as a defender and now as a midfielder begs the question ARE we treating LUIZ the way RM treated Makelele? For gods sake Luiz is a technically superior ball playing CB in the world with Hummels etc. Now in midfield he is playing flawlessly yet lot of pathetic fans are still bashing LUIZ. Pathetic Pathetic. If it wasnt for LUIZ we must have LOST the match in the margin of 3-0 or 4-0.
31/12/2012 07:04:00
Having a blanket policy with no recourse is just plain stupid. Many great players have played well into their 30's ~ like all the wise and best our policy should be based on merit not the whims of bureaucrats applying a policy whch should be a guide not a law. Imbeciles.
31/12/2012 07:11:00
2) FL- He scored 2 goals and got us 3 important points but played really really poor other than that.. If our fans thinks that it warrants a 2 year 150K salary then i dont know what to say. The comparision will come always about how much he will earn in china or u.s.a. So he and his reps will push for that salary from chelsea 150K+ But sadly its not at all possible to even give him a one year 150K. MATA is on the 70K/W Most of the younger superior players than him at our squad is not earning even half of what he is making. FFP Lot of our fans still dont get it they are just want to give 2 yr 3 yr contract with out any thoughts. CFC is moving the high earners from their wage bill for a reason BCZ CFC is not able to sustain the WAGE BILL in the region of 185M anymore. So they are doing what is necessary to compile with FFP. Also mind you guys we are out of CL group stage this year. Last year we got almost 60M in price money tv revenue from it but this year we will receive only 20 to 25M and not to mention the lot of commercial and match day income from the CL.
31/12/2012 07:12:00
Lamps has 1 skill to be "proud" of, being in front of goal to score. He did absolutely zilch yesterday but his 2 goals were due to his teammates hard work, now whether that deserves earning more than 100K/week or not is entirely subjective, but for me it makes absolutely no sense to pay a squad player anything above or near 100K/week, and if that's what Lamps wants then he can and should leave
31/12/2012 07:24:00
Success is best attained when emotions are restrained
31/12/2012 07:29:00
I concur 100% with BLUEANDWHITE, there's no reason why we should pay over the odds for Lamps, especially as goals-aside he been pretty awful. People talk about how many games we've won or not lost with Lamps playing, negating the number of points we've dropped over the last few years with the so-called "legends" playing. I'm not saying Lamps is past it, but if we paying BETTER players like Mata, Oscar half that then surely retaining him will upset the balance of the team
31/12/2012 07:29:00
Sturridge was derided for being a "poacher" by pretty much the same ppl praising Lamps who did nothing all game but pick scraps from people's hard work, I can assure you if we had Falcao or some1 like, Lamps wouldn't have scored those goals but the striker (which we don't have right now) so to pay some1 100K+ just for goal poaching every now and then is ludicrous, especially if and when we get Demba Ba
31/12/2012 07:42:00
3)Even though we won trophies regularly in RA era Like most football people will understand well there is a unwritten rule in football that a GREAT side will only maintain for a period of 3 to 5 yrs. But we are still not moved to the second phase after 2004. We must move in the new direction this summer if we want to be successful. Also the constant upheaval of managers is affecting the performance also guys. We won only 1 PL title in the past 7 yrs. That title is also won by a single point by CA. If CFC is not careful in evaluating the true reasons for our failures in the league then i cant see us winning the league for another 2 yrs. Even though i dont like RAFA for a single bit still he is a good manager nonetheless.. If RA and the board has any brain they should give serious thought of appointing RAFA as permanent and give him the tools and resources than running behind PEP. PEP is a good manager If CFC decides to appoint PEP then write off the first 2 yrs until he learns fully about EPL and define the philosophy of the club from top to bottom. The point is Any good manager will do really well at CFC if he is given time and resources barring RA and his gifts.
31/12/2012 07:48:00
Its laughable when i read some comments. So how many of our players played their best yesterday? Mata wasn't at his creative best,Piennar ran the show on Luiz as he got pressed and dispossessed quite often, Rami was uncomfortable on the wings,Hazard looked fatigued,Everton were the better side for large period of the game and could have put the game to rest in the 1st 30 mins as we got overpowered in midfield. Our defender stood strong and big shout outs to Cahill and Iva. Games like this,when the opposition seem to be playing 'high pressing',and running us ragged with sheer strength,and most of our players are not at their top best is when you need a leader to step up. Super Frank stepped up to the plate and delivered us that win. Similar to the Norwich game when we were having troubles breaking them down,took an individual brilliance from Mata even though he wasn't having a good game. Up the Chels
31/12/2012 08:13:00
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