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Everton 2 - 1 Chelsea

Half-time: 0 - 1

Chelsea Logo

FA Carling Premiership 2000-01 Game 15
3 pm Saturday 25 November 2000
Goodison Park, Merseyside
Att: 33,515

Arsenal (h)

Ref: Rob Styles

Sunderland (a)
[ Matchday Calendar ]

League Position: 13th

[ Results &  Table ]
 Danny Cadamarteri


Danny Cadamarteri again finished the match as hero alongside fellow goalscorer, Super Kevin Campbell, whose brilliant ball skills bamboozled the bumbling Ed de Goey for the winning goal.  Kev took the ball off his shoulder, head, and chest, before flicking it up over a defender and dummying a fierce volley, to scuff his shot deceptively into the corner of the net.  Mesmerizing!  Goodison joy unbounded.


But the first half had finished on a completely different note.  Everton and Chelsea neutralized each other with a turgid display during the first period that featured some neat midfield possession play by Everton.  But attacks were easily broken down by both defences as the ball approached either penalty area.  Welcome to boring continental stalemate football...


There was a nasty Italian surprise in store for Everton, however, after the 2 mins of stoppage should have been up when, after 47 mins and 12 seconds of play in the first half, Dalla Bonna lashed home a poorly cleared ball, well past the poorly placed Paul Gerrard.  The critical time to score so say the pundits on the stroke of half-time, dooming Goodison to a miserable tea-and-toilet interval.  Evertonians contemplated the impending synchronicity of a defeat that would give Chelsea their first away win of the season to end a miserable away record.


The second half started like a steam-train, with goalmouth action at both ends that bought only frustration to Chelsea and delight to Everton.  Some excellent passing football on the edge of the Chelsea area saw Gemmill release a beautiful ball through to Cadamarteri, who had a tremendous job to reach it before the Chelsea goalie and a defender. But in a flash he lifted the ball past both of them and into the Park End net for a great equalizer.


Chelsea, who now seem only any good at committing fouls, paid the penalty for their unabashed dirty play when the narky Jimmy Hasselbaink clearly elbowed Michael Ball in the face.  Referee Rob Styles consulted the linesman before showing Chelsea's main threat the red card.


Chelsea then made a strange defensive substitution just moments before Kevin Campbell sealed the match with his opportunistic strike.  Later, the boggie-man Gus Poyet came on to jangle Evertonian nerves, but nothing could now prevent Everton's third league win in a row the last time that happened was April 1999.


EVERTON: Cadamarteri (47'), Campbell (74')
Chelsea: Dalla Bona (48')
   LINEUPS  Subs Not Used 
EVERTON: Gerrard; S Watson, Weir, Ball, Naysmith; Gemmill, Pembridge, Hughes; Tal (86' Unsworth), Campbell, Cadamarteri  (92' McLeod).
Unavailable:  Alexandersson,
Cleland, Ferguson, Gascoigne, Gough, Jeffers, Pistone, Xavier (injured); Nyarko, Moore (sick); Gravesen (suspended).
Simonsen, Clarke, Milligan. 
Chelsea: de Goey, Leboeuf, Desailly, Bogarde (80' Poyet), Melchiot, Jokanovic (46' Morris), Wise, Dalla Bona, Gudjohnsen, Hasselbaink (71' Sent Off!), Zola (73' Harley). Cudicini, Terry.
   Playing Strips  Formations
EVERTON: Royal Blue shirts; white shorts; blue socks. 4-3-3
Chelsea: Yellow shirts; yellow shorts; yellow socks. 4-4-2
   Yellow Cards  Red Cards
Chelsea: Leboeuf (49'), Desailly (68'), Poyet (93'). Hasselbaink (71')
  Sports.Com Detailed Match Stats and Full Match Commentary  


Jenny Roberts Singing in the Rain
Steve Bickerton Dirty Chelsea fall apart
Richard Marland Another deserved win
ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Chelsea suffer more woe on the road
by David Alexander
THE SUNDAY TIMES Hasselbaink given red card
by Richard Rae
THE TIMES Chelsea's decline causing concern in any language
by Oliver Kay
THE INDEPENDENT Link to Match Reports
THE OBSERVER Link to Football Unlimited
THE GUARDIAN Link to Football Unlimited
DAILY POST Link to Daily Post Report

LIVERPOOL ECHO Link to the Echo Report


EVERTON FC SITE Link to Official Match Report
BBC SPORTS Link to BBC Sports Match Report
SKY SPORTS Link to Sky Sports Match Report
SPORTING LIFE Link to PA Sports Match Report
SOCCERNET Link to SoccerNet Match Report
FA PREMIER Link to FA Premier Match Report

 Singing in the Rain
Jenny Roberts
Having spent the whole of last week in a post-Arsenal state of euphoria, grinning like Cheshire cats, we could almost afford to look at our next opponents with confidence.

That 2-0 victory against Arsenal will live long in the memory, with other, higher-scoring classics. To finally record our first Premiership win against them, with little hope and such a depleted squad was an unexpected though not unwelcome coup.  Finally, we had seen our team playing for each other, for the fans, and most refreshingly for the shirt.

So, even with only Steve Watson having recovered enough to play since last week, our expectations were considerably greater, even against these media darlings the second batch to visit us in a week.  

Around Goodison everything and everyone seemed so much brighter.  There was a new sort of confidence in the air; a fresh atmosphere of optimism that you could breathe in and become a part of.  Indeed, Chelsea should pose more of a threat than "injury-stricken" Arsenal, but intuition told otherwise.

We began promisingly though not in top gear, similarly to the Arsenal game but nevertheless in control.  There were few attempts on goal by either side, although Cadamarteri almost broke through as he challenged for the ball down the wing.  That, however, was the last time we saw him there in the first half.

As he would not make any runs down the wing, everyone began to shout and point to the corner flag.  Ball and Hughes must have noticed all of the Bullens Road and the majority of the Street End screaming at him, because they too began to shout.  This led to a slight improvement, with him setting up Pembridge for a shot from the bye-line, after Gemmill nearly put us in the lead only for Campbell's cross to shoot across the face of goal.  Pembridge's subsequent shot was off-target, and it deflected fortunately for Chelsea.

Chelsea's threat had been mainly aerial, with a couple of near-miss headers down at the Park End.  However, an unfortunate free-kick which Cadamarteri conceded after "fouling" Zola, with little, or no, visible contact, almost gave Chelsea the lead.  Gerrard spilled it, but Steve Watson was there to avert the danger, clearing it just in time.

The two minutes of added time gave the end of the first half a confusing twist.  Nobody could quite calculate where they had come from.  There had been few stoppages for injuries but then, the referee had disappointed in the neutrality stakes for most of the half, so it was hardly surprising that Chelsea, who were ending the half quite well, should be given the upper hand.

One of the most annoying things about this supposedly more exact method of playing injury time, is seeing how open to interpretation it is by the referees themselves.  Some will blow on the absolute stroke of two minutes, others prefer to leave it slightly longer (usually depending on the teams involved), and some just don't bother to blow the whistle at all (for example our good friend Mr. Graham Poll).  Saturday's example fitted into the second class unfortunately.

It was almost as if everybody knew what he was waiting for.  As if we knew that the 0-0 half-time scoreline that we had hoped for, would not could not be.  "That's the two minutes up..." came the call as Chelsea won a corner.  Other would-be refs nodded in agreement as their watches agreed.  Another corner was taken, and the crowd began to grow more restless.  The ball came out 20 yards to Dalla Bona, and as he drove the shot in, everything seemed to freeze momentarily.  Then it hit the back of the net, and everything changed.

I remember feeling sick at us letting in that goal in the 48th minute of the first half but also thinking "We'll just have to score two now..."  Maybe that is the new way of thinking behind our recent performances we just have to keep on working hard, and giving 100%, and we can grind out results.

The referee blew up (sadly, just for half-time not literally!), and was presently given a good talking to by an incensed Paul Gerrard.  At first, I thought this was just because of the excessive stoppage time but on Match of the Day it was pointed out that Gerrard was obstructed when the corner which preceded the one which led to the goal was taken.  Maybe it was a combination of the two.....  but I would not be surprised to see him paying a fine... or being suspended....

I have no idea what Walter put in that half-time tea but I hope that there's a big enough supply of it to last all season or at least until next week.  Everyone impressed in that second half.  However, it was Chelsea who had the first chance, with Gudjohnsen's shot coming off the post, and Gerrard diving onto it before the scoreline could be made 2-0.

Then we broke away in style.  (Super) Mark Pembridge had enough space in the centre of midfield to chest down and control the ball.  In a superb team move, which also involved Campbell, Gemmill and Cadamarteri, we equalised.  Gemmill set Cadamarteri up after a neat little one-two, threading the sweetest ball through the Chelsea defence for Danny to latch onto.  He couldn't miss.  Goodison went wild.  

We were back on level terms and in this form, a second could not be far away...  The ground was alive with song: "You're not singing anymore," "Everton, Everton, Everton," "We love you Everton," and "Grand Old Team" all sung exactly how they should be a different line in every part of the ground, completely out of sync, and echoing even just from one side of the Gwladys Street to another.

We very nearly took the lead when Campbell hit the post following Watson's free kick.  Every time the replay was shown on the big screens, his shot looked closer than the time before.

Gerrard continued to be at the centre of all handbag clashes, screaming at Dennis Wise after he steamed in at Gerrard.  The referee was required to break that one up.  Gerrard was also amongst the first on the scene after Hasselbaink elbowed Michael Ball.  A small scuffle caused Hasselbaink to trip, and he kicked out Beckhamesquely at Ball.  This caused a few murmurs in the crowd, which may have alerted the linesman's attention.  When he missed, he leaped up again, and proceeded to elbow Bally in the face.  Fortunately, the linesman had seen the incident Ball kept his cool and just stayed face down on the pitch and the referee sent Hasselbaink off.

The red card gave us a definite advantage.  With Hasselbaink, Chelsea always posed a threat; without him, it was up to us to score.  We almost did when we broke down the left wing.  Tal cheekily back-heeled to Naysmith, who beat three or four defenders the next one handballed.  Cadamarteri still managed to get a shot in, which hit the side netting, but there should definitely have been a penalty awarded [er... No, Jenny: ball to hand Ed].

Fortunately, we were given a second goal.  Pembridge floated a beautiful ball into the box, which Campbell headed, rolled over his shoulder, and then slotted past de Goey.  I'm sure that the ball was velcroed to him....  Nevertheless, we had cause for celebration, and Goodison united in praising "One Gary Naysmith," and "Super Kevin Campbell."

There was still enough time left before the walk (or dash) home in the torrential rain to revel in our lead, in our six points from these past two games; to sing "Going Down" to the Chelsea fans; to look at each player and consider how well he had played not only individually, but also as a part of the team how everyone had given 100% played for the badge, fought for the pride of the royal blue jersey.

So, those of us with great expectations after the Arsenal game needn't have been disappointed.  And, in keeping with the Dickensian theme, the worst of times as far as injuries are concerned, could well have turned out to be the best of times as well.

   Up to Reports Index ]
 Dirty Chelsea fall apart
Steve Bickerton
Three wins in a row?  Or Chelsea to end a 13 match non-winning away run?  I know which one I wanted to prevail but, to listen and look at all of the media comments before the game, there was only ever going to be one team that was going to have a say in the issue... and it wasn't Everton.

Once into the stadium, a small away attendance showed the reality of Chelsea's status amongst the big-boys.  It's a part-time presence, a borrowed place.  Rather like the players on the pitch, the support dissipates along with the heart of the players once the King's Road has been left behind.  All we had to do was prove the worth of team work, determination, and skill, and the game would be ours.  But would we?  Could we?

As with Arsenal last week, the teams changed ends before kick-off with Everton facing the Gwladys Street during the first half.  Mumblings of discontent from the home crowd were suddenly tempered by the realisation that last week it mattered not a jot against the capital's highest flyers, so why should it worry us against Chelsea?  

In fact, the game was a bit livelier than last week's, with both sides having opportunities to strike before the first goal came.  The visitors went close through a Hasselbaink free kick, which was pushed away firstly by Gerrard and secondly by Watson.  

A scramble at the other end saw a miss-hit shot from Gemmill (7 yards out) screw across goal to Cadamarteri, who laid a fine ball back to Pembridge.  His low shot back across goal was destined for the bottom corner before de Goey made a save.  

Similar chances went begging through a lack of fire up front from both sides.  This lack of activity from the away side was due in no small measure to the unflappable calmness and unerring composure of Michael Ball.  He was absolutely without peer within Goodison Park.  His reading of the game was impeccable, his passing was superb.  He has surely shown that this is his position with priceless performances against the likes of Hasselbaink, Bergkamp, Kanu and Wiltord all strikers of the highest calibre.  

Ball's work rate and attitude was not, however, unmatched.  Following on from last week's achievements, Gemmill and Pembridge shone in midfield, followed closely by the improving Hughes.  All round there were fine performances, only Watson seeming to be less comfortable than last week's right back Cleland.  But I'm probably being over-critical.

All that good work came undone, however, from another fine Ball intervention.  He forced the ball away for a Chelsea corner deep into stoppage time.  Gerrard was impeded on the goal line as the corner was taken and the ball bounced around before a neat overhead from Naysmith saw it cleared.  But only to a Chelsea shirt.  The ball was pushed goalwards again and was met on the volley by Dalla Bonna. Again it was charged down, falling once more to the young Italian, who drove it home from 30 yards.  To be closely followed by the half-time whistle. Lingering memories of another late goal in this match last year by Tore Andre Flo, which denied us a win... 

The teams went off to the accompaniment of boos, reserved entirely for the referee.  It wasn't just the crowd, though, as Gerrard appeared to be on the verge of losing his cool completely as he raced to Mr Styles and gave him more than a piece of his mind and rather a lot of finger-pointing and gesticulation.  No doubt unhappy about being impeded at the corner.

The second half started at a frantic pace with Gudjohnsson nearly putting Chelsea two up following a fine individual effort, expertly turned onto the post by Gerrard.  Fortune favoured us here, as the ball span away from the oncoming Hasselbaink and back across the goal.  Gerrard happily picked up the ball and threw it out wide right.  Some excellent play from Watson saw Gemmill pick up the ball and slide a pinpoint pass through the Chelsea defence into Cadamarteri's path.  A swift strike from Danny and it was 1-1.  Having seen Chelsea so nearly get a two goal cushion, we were right back in it.

After that, the last five to ten minutes apart, it was pretty much all Everton.  We outplayed, outran, outfought a dispirited Chelsea side.  A denied penalty claim might have seen us go ahead but, following outstanding play between Hughes, Tal, and Naysmith on the left, the young Scot raced into the box only to see his goal-bound shot deflected by Desailly's arm and the resulting snapshot from Cadamarteri go just the wrong side of the post.

Later, a free kick, again from the left, was driven hard and low by Watson, who was denied a goal by a fine save from De Hoey.  Campbell, under pressure from Leboeuf, pounced on the rebound only to see his effort smack the outside of the post.

Gerrard, following his earlier fine save, might easily have become the villain later.  As I saw it, he claimed a low shot down by his right had post as Wise came charging in.  The diminutive midfielder mad no contact with the keeper, as Gerrard, thankfully managed to get his head out of the way.  Now, all would have expected a free kick to be given, but I didn't hear the whistle go until the two players squared up against each other as Gerrard almost carried the ball back across the goal line as he chased after Wise.  Had the confrontation petered out at that point and had Gerrard taken another step, would the referee have given a goal?  All academic, I know, but Gerrard's overall lack of self-control throughout the game totally detracted from an otherwise competent performance, decorated with a couple of excellent saves.

Then the same lack of control was visited upon the heavily shackled Hasselbaink.  Having barely been given a kick all game by Ball, the Dutch striker lost his cool.  True, Ball was the architect of his downfall with a larger than usual step that caused the big striker to tumble over his foot, but the kicking out at Ball that followed (he missed) was compounded with a wildly thrown elbow into the defender's face that could only result in one thing.  It was bye-bye, Jimmy Floyd.

Chelsea went to pieces then and Everton took advantage.  Within five minutes, a looping ball from Pembridge was met by Desailly.  His header dropped onto Campbell's shoulder and dropped nicely for the striker.  He flicked the ball past Leboeuf, who was also in close attendance and then volleyed the dropping ball beyond de Goey.  The Danny and Kevin show had stopped by for the second week running.

Chelsea then brought on Poyet (why so late? why a substitute?).  Suddenly, they looked as though they might string a few passes together.  Jodi Morris also came on and twice saw long range efforts saved by Gerrard.  

The defining moment at the end of the match was reserved for David Unsworth.  Having entered the field at the expense of Tal (rousing reception for both of them) he stood and watched as Poyet bounced off him and then lunged at him in desperation.  The resulting yellow for the Uruguayan was no more than he deserved.  After that, all that was left was the final whistle. 2-1 and it was our run that had prevailed.

Man of the Match  Three contenders here: Ball, Pembridge and Gemmill produced quality performances. But Ball was masterful where the others were industrious and he gets my vote.

Attendance: 33,515 (where was everybody?)

   Up to Reports Index ]
 Another deserved win
Richard Marland
Having originally anticipated the games against Arsenal and Chelsea with a real sense of fear and foreboding, it was strange to be now be approaching the Chelsea game with something bordering on optimism.  A group of players who last week we expected to get taken apart were now thanks to one decent performance expected to beat a multi-talented Chelsea side.  Expectation is a funny thing and one that is a dangerous thing for Evertonians.  That expectation (and the fact that Chelsea hadn't won away from home in yonks) had all the hallmarks of an Everton banana-skin....

With only Unsworth and Watson coming back from injury, Walter didn't have any option but to give the heroes of the Arsenal game another chance.  The only change being the enforced one of Steve Watson returning at the expense of the injured Alec Cleland.  The formation adopted was also identical to that employed against Arsenal a back four of Watson, Naysmith, Ball, and Weir; a midfield five of Cadamarteri, Gemmill, Pembridge, Hughes, and Tal; with Kevin Campbell once again up front on his own.

The first half was largely reminiscent of the Arsenal game.  We were happy to cede possession to them in their own half.  We strung five across the midfield and four across the back and invited them to work their way through us.  As Arsenal found last week, if players keep their discipline and concentration, it's a very difficult formation to work through.  Chelsea's chances were few and far between, in fact I can't recall a real chance.  They undoubtedly had their moments of danger but we dealt well with them.

When we did get the ball, we passed it quite nicely; the midfield worked well as a unit, all those at the back looked fairly comfortable on the ball; and Tal, Campbell and Cadamarteri were all offering options further up the field.  Our attacking danger wasn't too great but we were playing some neat build up stuff without quite finding the killer final ball.

The first half looked like it was going to end all square when deep into injury time Chelsea scored with what may have been their first shot on target.  They had had a couple of corners where Gerrard seemed to be impeded that was certainly what he seemed to be telling the referee.  Gudjohnsen was the culprit as he stood in front of Gerrard with his arms raised in the air, the arms stayed up even as the ball came in.  I'm not sure where the rules stand on this but it certainly had the effect of impeding Gerrard and preventing him from dealing with balls he may otherwise have got to. 

The second of the corners was cleared beyond the edge of the box and, after a bit of ping-pong on the edge of the box, Dalla Bona scored with a well struck shot past Gerrard who had no real chance.  That was the last significant action of the first half what a sickener!

The second half brought a tactical switch as we looked to get straight back into the game, with Cadamarteri going up front to partner Campbell, and Gemmill going to the right side of midfield.  It very nearly worked against us. Within the first minute, Gudjohnsen struck the inside of the post with a shot that Gerrard just got his fingertips to, the ball bounced back into Gerrard's arms.  

We then went straight back up the field to bring ourselves right back into the game. Gemmill was the instigator, waiting on the edge of their area for an opening to arrive.  It did, and he dinked a delightful ball into Cadamarteri's path as he raced into the area; Cadamarteri kept his cool under extreme pressureas he found the back of the net.  Within the space of 30 seconds, the match had swung wildly.  From nearly being put out of it, we were now back on level terms.

The game was now a much more open affair than it had been in the first half.  Our change in formation was giving us more options going forward but it was also giving the same for Chelsea.  Steve Watson had a free kick that was well saved by de Goey with Kevin Campbell, from a tight angle, hitting the post on the follow up.  They nearly scored when Wise nearly picked up a loose ball in the six-yard box.

If the game had taken a decisive swing in the first minute of the second half, it took another swing midway through the half.  Ball and Hasselbaink had a coming together off the ball.  I missed the start of the first bit when Hasselbaink hit the deck and seemed to kick out at Bally.  I didn't miss the second one a few seconds later as he laid out Bally with an elbow to the face.  The referee missed it but the linesman didn't, Hasselbaink had to go and he duly did.

It's not always easy playing against ten men but we kept plugging away and got our reward through Super-Kev.  A long ball into the box got caught between Desailly and Campbell, it seemed to hit Campbell on the back but he showed good awareness to then touch the ball beyond Leboeuf and then past de Goey and into the net.

There was still time for Chelsea to mount a rally and indeed we ceded far too much space and possession to the ten men.  We remained composed at the back, though, and rode out the mini-storm to notch up back-to-back Goodison victories against supposedly superior opposition.

This was another deserved win for Everton.  At times we have been out-passed by the opposition but, when it came to the crunch around the penalty area, we have been firm and very little of danger has got through.  These haven't just been defensive performances either: without exactly going all out on attack, we have carved out chances and with a confident Campbell and Cadamarteri we have had the people around to take them.

Some interesting selection dilemmas lie ahead for Walter Smith, and some serious points have been raised about reliance on foreign stars.  Whatever happens, there's a few in blue shirts who have opened the eyes of the fans , from Ball and Weir at the back, through the newcomers Naysmith and Tal, to the undervalued Gemmill and Pembridge, and the written-off Cadamarteri , they have all made a serious statement with their performances in the last two games.

  • Gerrard 7  Did OK; a couple of shots I thought he should have held onto which he didn't and almost presented to them on the follow up.
  • Watson 7  A decent display, showed plenty of willingness to get forward and defended well.
  • Naysmith 7  Another competent display.  Looks like Walter's picked up another cracker.
  • Ball 8  Another outstanding performance at centre back.  Had another tricky opponent to deal with and barely put a foot wrong.  He's going to take some shifting from centre-back.
  • Weir 8  Yet another excellent display.
  • Cadamarteri 7  The crowd got a little frustrated with him in the first half when he seemed reluctant to run into the space beyond Bogarde.  With Watson looking for him to make the run, it seemed to be a wasted opportunity. Despite this quibble, this was another decent, hard-working performance from Danny capped by another well taken goal!
  • Gemmill 7  Reminding us of the form he first showed when he arrived.  I'm beginning to think we have seriously under-estimated this guy.  He works hard, he can tackle and he's got the vision to deliver telling balls.
  • Pembridge 7  It doesn't always come off for Pembo but his sheer endeavour more than makes up for the odd blemish.  A wonderful team player who is playing a big part in our current run.
  • Hughes 7  Thought he was much better than he was against Arsenal, he seemed to be much more involved.  Let's hope he continues to improve with the games.
  • Tal 7  Another player who is getting better.  He's got an excellent first touch, he's a good passer, he can beat people and he's prepared to roll up his sleeves and work hard.  I'm impressed.
  • Campbell 7  Another good performance, capped by a well taken goal.
  • Unsworth -  Not sure he touched the ball but he did manage to wind Poyet up enough to get him booked.
  • McLeod -  Another who barely got a chance to touch the ball.

Team 7  Despite the individual performances being a little better, I thought as a team we weren't quite as good as we had been against Arsenal.  In the second half when we changed the formation around we didn't look quite as together, even if it did give us the chance to score a couple.

Man of the match  Ball just shades it from Weir.  Two excellent defensive performances.

   Up to Reports Index ]
 Hasselbaink given red card
by Richard Rae, The Sunday Times
Toffees two, soft centres one.  Ahead at the break courtesy of a fine strike by Sam Dalla Bona, Chelsea conceded two second-half goals and had Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink deservedly sent off as they went down to the sixth defeat in 11 games under new manager Claudio Ranieri.  That Ranieri was brought in to mastermind a serious assault on the Premiership now seems laughable.  You have to go back to April Fool's Day for the last time they picked up three points away from Stamford Bridge.

At least this time they fought, sometimes literally.  Where previously the expensively assembled misfits had thrown in the towel, yesterday they were prepared to stand up and be counted.

It must be consolation of sorts for the beleaguered Italian, although the truth is that once they had shown they were a physical match for a much-depleted Everton side they should surely have been able to out-play them.  Man for man, on paper there was no comparison.

In the match programme Everton manager Walter Smith listed the full team (plus a substitute) of players missing injured or ill for the match against Arsenal the previous weekend.

Given that they had won 2-0, it was a valid point rather than an excuse, and of that 12, which included the likes of Paul Gascoigne, Richard Gough, Duncan Ferguson, Francis Jeffers and Abel Xavier, only Steve Watson made yesterday's line-up.  David Unsworth was considered fit enough for a place on the bench.

There is an argument, of course, that excessive choice is not necessarily a good thing.  Ranieri made three changes to the side which ducked the battle at Charlton, but there was as much interest in the formation as the personnel.  In the event, he opted for that most British of institutions, the flat back four.

And surprise, surprise, Chelsea looked comfortable, although Smith's decision to play Kevin Campbell as a solitary spearhead did play into their hands rather.

With Frank Leboeuf in commanding form, Winston Bogarde and Mario Melchiot could push forward from full-back with relative freedom, and gradually Chelsea began to grow in confidence.

Melchiot in particular made several dangerous runs down the right.  Hasselbaink had already put in one wicked cross from that flank when Gianfranco Zola, drifting around behind the strikers, clipped in another from the opposite side.  Dalla Bona's glancing header landed on top of the net.

A minute later, in what was to be their one incisive attack of the half, Everton nearly scored.  Idan Tal, a clever if occasional and lightweight threat on the left, slipped a neat ball inside Melchiot to Campbell.  His driven ball across the six-yard line just evaded Mark Pembridge but was returned to Scott Gemmill on the edge of the area.  The midfielder's shot was kicked off the line by Marcel Desailly with Ed de Goey stranded.

Thereafter, the balance of possession was with the London club, although they achieved little with it.

Everton goalkeeper Paul Gerrard made a less than convincing job of pushing Hasselbaink's 40-yard drive around the post, and Desailly should at least have tested the goalkeeper when gifted a free header from another Zola cross.

Otherwise it was all shrugs, eyebrows and sign language, mainly between Lebouef and Ranieri, variously interpreted as wider, narrower, calm it down, pick it up and what the hell's going on, until injury-time in the first half.

Picking up a clearance from a corner, Dalla Bona attempted an ambitious shot from well over 30 yards.  The ball rebounded off a defender and back to Dalla Bona, by now a little further forward.  His second effort was a wonderfully clean strike beyond Gerrard.

Within seconds of the restart it was almost match over.  Eidur Gudjohnsen, hitherto a peripheral and unhappy figure, picked up the ball on the right angle of the Everton penalty area, turned inside Melchiot and with his left foot curled in a shot which Gerrard, at full stretch, got enough of a hand on to deflect the ball on to the inside of his far post.  The ball trickled back across the goal before being hacked gratefully away.

Thirty seconds later, Everton were level.  Gemmill was given time to play a sweet short ball into the path of Danny Cadamarteri, finally far enough forward to be in a position to do some damage.  Having scored his first goal at Goodison for three years the previous weekend, the little forward now made it two in as many games by sliding the ball past de Goey from close range.

Game on, and there had been more excitement in the first two minutes of the second half than the preceding 45.

There was plenty more to come.  Watson was giving Bogarde a miserable time down the right, but it was from a free kick that the former Newcastle defender almost put Everton ahead, and when de Goey failed to gather his shot cleanly, Campbell turned the rebound on to the post.

Back came Chelsea, Zola running into the space left by Watson down the Everton left.  His cross was stopped but not cleared by David Weir, and as Gerrard threw himself onto the ball he got there a matter of inches before Dennis Wise's boot.  More gestures followed, this time of the distinctly threatening variety.

Ranieri had brought Jody Morris on for the ineffectual Slaviska Jokanovic at half-time, and the little Englishman's willingness to run and work for the cause gave Chelsea some much-needed bite as the pace of the game became more frenzied.

Unfortunately, Hasselbaink took the lesson to heart, and as the tackles flew in, he made his own less salubrious contribution, clearly appearing to use an elbow as he tangled with Michael Ball.  Both referee and linesman had a clear view, the ball was nowhere near the incident and Chelsea's top scorer was off.

With 20 minutes to go Chelsea's instinct was to settle for a point, a state of mind which lasted less than five minutes. Gemmill's cross found Campbell surrounded by three defenders. The ball was headed up in the air, Desailly sliced his attempted clearance, and the ball hit Campbell on the shoulder before falling perfectly on to his left foot.

In the circumstances, Ranieri's decision to bring John Harley on for Zola seemed perverse.  At least Gustavo Poyet for Bogarde made more sense, and Chelsea worked furiously hard to find an equaliser in the final 10 minutes.

Their best chance fell to Poyet, but the Uruguayan was still adjusting to the pace of the game, and by the time he shot from the left side of the area, Watson had closed him down.

"It was a game we controlled," said Ranieri, "at least until we conceded a very unlucky goal.

"These things happen, though. Away from home we are not getting the slice of luck you need.  We are a very good passing team but when we lose concentration the passes go astray."

Chelsea are now six points point above the drop zone and the need is for points; how they play in getting them is, for the moment, immaterial.

Relegation is of course unthinkable.... Isn't it?

Report Times Newspapers Ltd

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 Chelsea suffer more woe on the road
David Alexander, Electronic Telegraph

Cosmopolitan they may be, but Chelsea's expensively assembled squad of internationals have yet to find a winning formula on their travels. You have to go back to April Fool's Day, against Leeds, for Chelsea's last away win and they extended that miserable run yesterday, losing 2-1 to Everton.  Add to those 14 winless Premiership games, defeats against St Gallen and Liverpool in the UEFA and Worthington Cups and it makes for sorry reading.

"I don't think it's a psychological problem," said Claudio Ranieri, the Chelsea manager, who is under pressure from discontented fans only two months into his reign.  "Away from home we're not getting the slice of luck we need.  The players have to continue to believe in themselves."

Luck may play its part in football, but Chelsea's trepidation was clear to see.  Fingers were pointed, shoulders shrugged and team-mates shouted at each other just a little too aggressively.

The passing and movement that Chelsea have so elegantly embodied in recent years seems to have deserted them.  But Ranieri added: "We have got to keep our concentration for the whole game.  We are a very good passing team, but sometimes we lose concentration and the passes start to go astray."

If that is the case, most of the Chelsea line-up must have had their minds on other things yesterday.  With Everton shorn of 11 first-team players, Chelsea should have made easy work of their hosts.  In a forgettable opening period, they had little more than Sam Dalla Bona's off-target header and a speculative 45-yard free-kick from Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink as reward for a lot of toil and not much enterprise.

But if they needed a boost, it came in injury time. Everton failed to clear a corner and Dalla Bona's 25-yard half-volley flew into the net.  A minute into the second half, Eidur Gudjohnsen hit a post, the ball ran along the goal-line and into Paul Gerrard's hands as Hasselbaink closed in.  On that moment, the game turned.  Within seconds, Scot Gemmill's through-ball caught out a pedestrian Winston Bogarde and Danny Cadamarteri chipped in the equaliser.

Dennis Wise went in heavily on Gerrard as tempers started to fray.  And Hasselbaink, clearly frustrated by a lack of goalscoring opportunities, gave the hosts a helping hand by lashing out at Michael Ball.  He became the sixth player to be sent off in this fixture in the past six seasons.

Five minutes later Kevin Campbell scored the winner, juggling the ball in a crowded six-yard box before untidily nudging it beyond Ed de Goey.

Despite Everton's injury problems, Walter Smith could celebrate a third straight win and said: "The players deserve a great deal of credit.  The sending off gave us an opportunity, because it removed Chelsea's most likely goalscorer.  To get six points from games against Arsenal and Chelsea is very satisfying."

Whether Ranieri, who has yet to master English, can get his message across before Chelsea's season completely runs out of hope remains to be seen. How long chairman Ken Bates will put up with such a disappointing record may be a more pertinent issue.

Report The Electronic Telegraph

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 Chelsea's decline causing concern in any language
by Oliver Kay, The Times

CLAUDIO RANIERI, the man who vowed to bring stability to Stamford Bridge, has even begun to chop and change his interpreters in an attempt to keep his excuses fresh.  Bad luck, hardly original, was blamed for this defeat on Saturday, his sixth in 11 matches in charge of Chelsea.  It may be wrong, however, to point the finger at Ranieri, who seems to be in danger of losing his job before he understands what the sack means, simply because he should not even be there.  The replacement of Gianluca Vialli by a man whose grasp of English is restricted to a hesitant thank you very much looks increasingly like an act of gross folly, one that may have undone Chelseas progress in recent years.

Even for a club that proudly professes itself to be continental, a view seemingly based on the number of overseas players in the squad, the appointment of a non-English speaker as head coach was absurd.  From being amiable underachievers under the engaging Vialli, Chelsea now look a bunch of prima donnas, lacking discipline, balance and direction.

The contrast with Everton could hardly have been greater.  Without 11 senior players, ten of them injured and the other suspended, Walter Smiths team achieved their third consecutive win with a display of passion and spirit that put their opponents to shame.  It may be worth more than a footnote that Chelsea had ten overseas players in their starting line-up, compared with Evertons one.

Everybody in England will always throw that at us, Gustavo Poyet, the Uruguay midfield player, said. I dont think its a valid argument.  When we were winning cups and playing in the Champions League, nobody was complaining that there were too many foreigners then.  Weve still got that ability, but we just need the luck.

Sadly, this argument advanced by one of their more determined players is flawed.  Defeat cannot be attributed to misfortune when at least half of the team seem merely to be going through the motions and when their most potent forward, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, is sent off for a violent act of petulance.

Their first away victory since April 1 had looked on the cards when Sam Dalla Bonnas low drive gave them the lead in first-half stoppage time, but the match took two crucial turns away from Chelsea in the second half.

Some 30 seconds after Eidur Gudjohnsens shot hit a post, an incisive pass by Scot Gemmill allowed Danny Cadamarteri to equalise, while Kevin Campbell settled matters in the 74th minute, just four minutes after Hasselbaink was dismissed for an ugly tangle with Michael Ball.

We just arent getting the luck at the moment, Ranieris latest interpreter told us.  As Glenn Hoddle, another manager from Chelseas recent past, might put it, you reap what you sow.

Report Times Newspapers Ltd
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