David Moyes signed off with his final game in an 11-year reign as Everton Manager. The start was not great, Howard gifting an early goal to Mata but surprise starter Naismith finished nicely after robbing Luiz to restore parity. Gibson incredibly hit the post twice with the same deflected shot. It was mostly a Chelsea onslaught after the break but sub Jelavic spurned numerous gilt-edged chances after a defensive change by Moyes and Torres then powered home the winner to end the Moyes Era still unable to win away at the Big Four.
The End of an Era for Everton, as David Moyes signs off with his final game in an 11-year reign as Everton manager. Will the players give him a fine send off with a win and his best ever points total in the Premier League, exceeding the 2008-09 total
of 65 points? Chelsea, who will be hoping to wrap up 3rd place and automatic Champions League qualification, also say goodbye to their manager Rafa Benitez after he has just overseen another trophy win, the Europa League.
Leon Osman is out injured along with Phil Neville, who is also set to bid farewell, but unfit for his final game as an Everton player. Leighton Baines is set to become Everton's only ever-present player in the Premier League campaign.
Everton were supposed to be presenting a competent professional display but an early giveaway by Fellaini almost gave away the first goal to Demba Ba after playing a hospital ball for Jagielka. That did happen inside 7 minutes when Chelsea were allowed to swarm forward, Demba Ba's low shot blocked but not held by Howard, who inadvertently pushed the ball back into the path of Mata. A gift for Rafa's double Euro trophy holders.
Coleman fed Naismith in a good position but the Scot scooped the ball first time wide of the goal. But it was Naismith who robbed Luiz and then played a nice one-two off Anichebe before finishing nicely to put the Toffees back in the game.
Everton came close again off their first corner, Gibson smacking the post after a double-deflection. He drove in an effort from 25 yards which hits the woodwork, comes back to strike Petr Cech in the face, and then hits the post again. Very unlucky not to score.
Everton had to stand firm against some determined Chelsea attacking, with Ake shooting over, then Ba scooping the ball over Howard's goal. Some nice play by Gibson, who was heavily involved in this game, saw Mirallas played in at the far post and he really should have hammered it into the roof of the net rather than trying to pick his spot with a sidefoot shot that was meat and potatoes for Cech.
Chelsea did their best to win a penalty by foul means or even fouler... first Torres throwing himself to the ground dramatically, feigning contact with Fellaini, then sarcastically applauding the officials; then Oscar barging into Baines and collapsing in a heap. No yellow cards though.
Pienaar then came very close after some more excellent build-up play, Luiz deflecting the ball away for a corner. The ref gifted Chelsea free-kick in the goal-area swam that ensued... While Lampard came close at the end with the goal gaping after a clever flick had beaten the Everton defence.
Chelsea pressed hard from the restart, Cahill firing at Howard after a corner. Everton finally relieved the pressure a little, Fellaini firing a shot from distance straight at Cech. But Everton were soon on the back foot again, defending a succession of corners, Ivanovich lashing one over the Everton goal. Jagielka then almost gave it all away to Ba, his blushes saved by Distin
With Arsenal going ahead up in Newcastle, Chelsea had to score now, and Fellaini gave them another chance, a free kick almost scrambled home, Cahill's follow-on shot blocked at close range by Jagielka, saving a certain goal. Chelsea had raised their game since the break, while Everton were making a poor show of hitting them hard on the counter when they did gain rare possession.
Some better attacking by Everton after the hour-mark should have produced more than a corner but the old familiar problem of that final ball let them down, and it was Chelsea on the attack again, Mata wanting too much time as the ball got caught under his feet; Ba replaced by Moses, while Jelavic and Heitinga replaced Naismith and Anichebe. Moyes going all out for a record 16th draw?!?
Jelavic immediately gave away possession, Ivanovich firing wide from distance. But Fellaini did get a good feed to Jelavic in the Chelsea area, but his header lacked power. Heitinga was then booked for a clumsy trip on Moses.
Baines did brilliantly to dispossess Ivanovich and lay the ball on a plate for Jelavic but he judged it wrong and was a little too far behind the ball when his despairing lunge could only clip the ball wide of Cech's goal. At the other end, Jagielka's lunge could not block a close-range shot from Torres that would seal 3rd place for the home side.
Jelavic was gifted another glorious chance at the far post but he could only poke the ball tamely at Cech. Chelsea were forced back in the three added minutes, but poor finishing cost them with Heitinga firing over and Everton rather fittingly losing the final game of an ultimately disappointing Everton reign for Moyes, who had such difficulty winning away to the top teams.
The final game of the David Moyes era will unfold at Stamford Bridge as the Blues finish the 2012-13 season with a game against a Chelsea side who will be hoping to wrap up third place.
There's a certain symbolism in the venue for Moyes's last match in charge: in 11 years, the Blues' departing boss has never won on Chelsea's turf in the Premier League and there would be something simultaneously poetic and frustrating should he manage to break his duck on his last hurrah with nothing riding on the result.
Everton wrapped up sixth place with victory over West Ham last weekend and cannot be caught by neighbours Liverpool even if, as the latest betting suggests, they lose to the newly-crowned Europa League winners. Chelsea are 4/6 to beat the Blues at home for only the second time in six seasons while the odds of another draw in this fixture are 11/4.
But Everton can still cause problems for Rafael Benitez who is also almost certainly in charge of his last game for his present club.
Chelsea need to win to ensure they will finish above Arsenal and claim the last of three automatic Champions League places; a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge and a 2-1 win for the Gunners at Newcastle, meanwhile, would force a play-off game between the two London rivals at a neutral ground.
Moyes's men showed last week against the Hammers that they can turn on the style when they are relaxed and in the mood to entertain and the traveling Blues who have sold out the away allocation will be hoping for more of what they witnessed last Sunday, particularly from two-goal hero Kevin Mirallas.
With no fresh injury concerns, Moyes could be tempted to name an unchanged line-up for the second game running, and that would mean Victor Anichebe leading the line solo ahead of Maroune Fellaini and the inter-changing Mirallas and Steven Pienaar.
Phil Neville, one of the heroes of Moyes's solitary victory on the grounds of the old Sky Four (the FA Cup win at Stamford Bridge three years ago) sat out again last Sunday and is expected to do so again as he recovers from a knee injury. That would prevent him from making his Everton swansong and ensure that his last appearance in Blue was in the humbling at the hands of Wigan in the cup quarter final in March.
Victory would obviously send Moyes off in fine style as he starts his new adventure in the Old Trafford hotseat and also mean Everton would finish on 66 points, their best ever points total in the Premier League. At once plenty to build on and something of a lofty target for the new manager, whoever he may be.
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