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 Venue: Stamford Bridge, London Premiership  Monday 17 April 2006; 3:00pm
 Lampard (28')
 Drogba (62')
 Essien (74')
 
Half Time: 1-0

 
  
Carsley (sent off:48')
 
 Attendance: 41,765 Fixture 35 Referee: Rob Styles

Match Summary


Van der Meyde: To start?
or not to start?

Of Course, expecting anything inventive from David Moyes is simply a step too far... No Van der Meyde; No Ferrari (both on the bech, to remain unused).  Ah well...

With United winning at Spurs, the party atmosphere for the Champions-elect went a bit flat, but Everton didn't take that much inspiration from it, as Chelsea settled and dominated increasingly. 

It didn't take too long for the first goal but the manner fo it was a little annoying. Cahill, running away from goal, trailed by Drogba, no-one to pass to, has his pocket picked by the Chelsea player, who gallops off and slips a nice ball in to Lampard... goal.  Easy as that.

Beattie, whose previous touches had been poor, ran in well to chip the ball over the out coming Cech and the 'keeper crumpled in a heap as the ball landed on the roof of the net.  There was a long injury break but Cech stayed on as the match continued with no particular urgency.  Everton were called upon to defend every Chelsea attack and the fact that the scoreline remained only 1-0 showed that Everton were at least working very hard to control the superstars. 

But the second half got off to a poor start for Everton when Carsley went straight through Drogba: straight red card; season over.

John Terry nearly scored in the next attack, as Chelsea realized it was Game Over bar the shouting.  It was after the hour, when Lampard and Drogba combined again in the simplest manner, a great corner, a superb near-post run and a powerful unstoppable header.  Why can they do it and we can't?

Chelsea soon had their third when Cole rolled the ball in but it was bizarrely ruled offside (perhaps earlier in the move).  David Moyes made his move: Fergusona and Davies on!

The third goal finally came, but not in the expected manner after Osman was called for a back-pass that was clearly unintentional.  Lampard was expected to drill the 8-yard free-kick past the massed Everton defence on the line but it surged forward with intent, and the ball spun away off Osman... but not far enough.  Essien latched on to it and danced past a couple of static defenders before driving home fiercely into the top right-hand corner his third attempt at a dramatic goal finally paid off.

And after that, it was as you'd expect.  Chelsea show-boating a little in the sunshine, one point away from another Premiership trophy, while Everton struggled to maintain respectability.  No complaints?  Nah... why bother?  After all "we won't be making up the numbers"...

Talking of numbers... the record so far for the last five games of the season:
     P 2   W 0  D 0  L 2   GF 0  GA 4   Pts 0

Michael Kenrick


Match Preview

Chelsea on the march towards a predictable second-successive title, Everton desperately trying to stumble over the line to a top-10 finish.  Surely a nailed on home win...

Well, who knows?  The anointment of Jose Mourinho's team as Champions is a mere formality and if results go their way on this Easter Monday, they could seal the deal with victory over the Merseyside Blues at Stamford Bridge.

Will that and the chance to do it in front of their home fans be sufficient motivation to spur them to kind of performance that Everton won't be able to contain?  We'll know by 5pm.

Saturday's defeat at Tottenham saw Alan Stubbs add to David Moyes's injury woes when he pulled a hamstring midway through the second half.  He was replaced by Matteo Ferrari, who will almost certainly step in and start against the Champions alongside Joseph Yobo.

And with Mikel Arteta ruled out with the ankle injury he picked up in training last week, all eyes will turn to Andy van der Meyde in Everton's search for a creative spark in midfield.  The Dutchman is available again after serving a three-match ban for a seemingly innocuous elbow on Luis Garcia in the Anfield derby.  He is short of first-team match practice but gets another chance to prove that he can be a vital cog in the machine for next season.

In the rest of the line-up, it's hard to know whether Moyes will go with the same players who started against Tottenham or whether he will mix it up, possibly starting Kevin Kilbane at the expense of Simon Davies.  Tony Hibbert's absence means that Phil Neville will play at right back and both Tim Cahill and Lee Carsley are likely to retain their places in central midfield.

Obviously, the opportunity to crash Chelsea's title party is there and Mourinho's men have certainly shown a lack of concentration and motivation on occasion since the turn of the year.  Plenty to exploit if the Blues are up for it and prepared to deploy a more cohesive and attractive style of football than that exhibited against Spurs.

But you can also be forgiven for that feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach...

Lyndon Lloyd


Chelsea stroll past 10-man Everton

Everton's limp down the home straight of the 2005-06 season continues after a meek, predictable but no less disappointing 3-0 defeat at Chelsea.  David Moyes's side played almost the entire second half with ten men after Lee Carsley was controversially red-carded for a yellow-card tackle but the Toffees wouldn't have won with 12 men, such was their inferiority to the Champions elect.

Had Manchester United not beaten Tottenham earlier in the day, this could have been a title-winning party for Chelsea.  As it was, with no chance to mathematically claim a second-successive Premiership crown, the home side ceded much of the early going to Everton, almost daring them to take the lead as they had done in two of the three prior meetings between the two clubs this season.

But, as was the case on Saturday at home to Spurs, the Toffees were short on ideas and penetration — although, it has to be said that they did at least try to play more football on the deck than was the case two days ago.

Not surprisingly, it was Chelsea who had the first two efforts on goal, both from Essien and both well wide of the target, before Leon Osman danced his way into sufficient space for the visitors' first shot that was safely gathered after 26 minutes.

A minute later, though, the Londoners were on their way.  Cahill was mugged off the ball on the halfway line by Didier Drogba and he burst forward to feed Frank Lampard who had all the invitation he needed to pick his spot and drive hard and low into the bottom corner past Richard Wright.  1-0 with more to come.

James Beattie's persistence conjured up the Blues' first real chance 13 minutes before the break when he nipped behind William Gallas as the defender tried to shepherd the ball back to Petr Cech and chipped goalwards, but the angle was too acute and his effort only found the roof of the goal.  Cech was injured sliding out for the ball and he was replaced at half-time by Carlo Cudicini.

That was after Arjen Robben had dived theatrically in an effort to gain a penalty from James McFadden's tidy tackle and Tim Cahill, again Everton's hardest-working and most productive outlet, unleashed a left-foot shot that tested Cech's injured knee as he was forced to dive and turn the ball behind for a corner.

The second half was ruined as a contest, though, before it had really begun.  Just as he did on Saturday, Carsley caught a player late, this time Drogba, but instead of the automatic yellow, referee Rob Styles had to have his moment of mis-placed Draconianism and pulled out the red card.  It was a poor challenge but it was clear that the referee reacted to the severity of the impact on the player rather than the intent or nature of the challenge.

Further disadvantaged, Everton were done as any kind of threat to Jose Mourinho's side and didn't muster an effort on goal for the rest of the game.  Instead, Drogba doubled the hosts' with a terrific striker's goal, losing Yobo and powering an unstoppable header into the Everton net from a corner.

Substitute Joe Cole had the ball in the net but it was ruled out for offside, albeit for the wrong offence; the actual offside decision should have been on Crespo a few seconds before-hand.  Still, justice was done.  But Chelsea got their third when Essien picked up the ball on the right edge of the area, side-stepped a defender to get a sight of goal and lashed it into the top corner with 17 minutes left.

Everton had already introduced Simon Davies and Duncan Ferguson by this point but their impact on proceedings was minimal.  Andy van der Meyde, the focus of many fans' thoughts in the absence of Mikel Arteta, was left warming the bench.

The frustrating inevitability of the result didn't make it any more palatable, nor did Everton's performance which was committed but, as has now become the norm, lacked imagination, guile or anything inventive.

David Moyes's team selection didn't help matters.  Matteo Ferrari's exclusion in favour of David Weir could probably be explained by the Italian's lack of match fitness or sharpness but the fact that Van der Meyde didn't enter proceedings at any point was bordering on unforgivable.  Easily the Blues' most gifted available player, the Dutchman should have started, if not to give the visiting fans something entertaining for their £48 outlay then to give him more time against Premiership defences in preparation for next season.

The purpose of games like these against seemingly invincible opposition is not to have the enormous gulf in class rammed down our throats but should be an opportunity to spring a surprise.  Charlton came to Stamford Bridge earlier in the year and earned a 1-1 draw, but Everton appeared utterly ill-equipped to make any kind of dent to Chelsea's stroll towards the Championship.

All of which leaves you wondering whether the run of six wins in seven not too long ago and the manner of some of those victories was all down to Arteta.  Was it the manager's tactics and style of play being translated from the training ground to the Premiership stage or merely the players clicking and dictating matters on their own.  Are Everton just the consummate confidence side?  Does David Moyes really believe his team doesn't need significant additions this summer or are his down-beat soundbytes further reflection of the cupboard being bare?  Ultimately, are Everton really going anywhere four years into the manager's reign?

Lyndon Lloyd

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CHELSEA (4-4-2)
  Cech (46' Cudicini)
  Del Horno
  Makelele
  Essien
  Lampard
  Crespo
  Gallas
  Geremi
  Drogba (62' Cole)
  Robben
  Terry
  Subs not used
  Huth
  Wright-Phillips
  Duff
 
EVERTON (4-5-1)
  Wright
  Neville
  Yobo
  Weir
  Naysmith
  Osman
  Carsley :48'
  Cahill
  Kilbane (69' Ferguson)
  McFadden
  Beattie (69' Davies)
Subs not used
  Turner
  Ferrari
  Van der Meyde
  Unavailable
  Arteta (injured)
  Hibbert  (injured)
  Martyn (injured)
  Pistone (unfit)
  Vaughan (injured)
  Li Tie (injured)
  Valente (injured)
  Wilson (on loan)
 
Premiership Scores
Monday 17 Apr 2006
Tottenham 1-2 Man Utd
Charlton 2-1 Portsmouth
Chelsea 3-0 Everton
Middlesbro 2-0 West Ham
Sunderland 1-4 Newcastle
West Brom 0-0 Bolton
Tuesday 18 Apr 2006
Wigan 3-2 Aston Villa
Wednesday 19 Apr 2006
Birmingham 2-1 Blackburn
 
Premiership Table
Pos Team Pts
1 Chelsea 88
2 Man Utd 79
3 Liverpool 73
4 Tottenham 61
5 Arsenal 57
6 Blackburn 54
7 Newcastle 51
8 Wigan 51
9 Bolton 49
10 West Ham 49
11 Charlton 47
12 Everton 45
13 Middlesbro 43
14 Man City 40
15 Aston Villa 39
16 Fulham 39
17 Birmingham 32
18 Portsmouth 32
19 West Brom 29
20 Sunderland 12
After 19 Apr 2006



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