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Venue: Goodison Park, Liverpool
Premier League
 Sunday 30 December 2012; 1:30pm
1 2
 Pienaar (2')
Half Time: 1 - 1
Lampard (42', 72')  
Attendance: 39,485
Fixture 20
Referee: Howard Webb

Everton got off to a fantastic start on 63 seconds, Pienaar following up after Anichebe's header hit the post. Jelavic then hit the post from a free kick and dominated until Chelsea clawed back an equalizer through Lampard before the break. Everton hit the woodwork again before Chelsea bundled in a winning goal through Lampard to end a valiant effort with severely depleted resources.

Match Summary

Everton started without Gibson Neville and Fellaini, with Coleman Hibbert and Mirallas all out injured, and Tyias Browning from the Academy named on the subs bench. The game started after a somewhat bizarre 20 seconds of applause for those who passed away in 2012. Everton kicked off with a customary hoofball up the field. Then a great ball from Pienaar down the right channel for Jagielka to send in a swinging cross that Victor Anichebe headed on to the post and the rebound was smashed home by Pienaar for a fantastic start for the Blues just 63 seconds on the clock!

The visitors looked to settle and regroup after the early shock, but the Blues continued to press upfield when they had possession, and smiled as Chelsea needlessly put the ball out of play a few times.

Steven Pienaar did well to win a very dangerous free kick on the edge of the Chelsea area when tripped by Cahill. Jelavic smashed it over the wall and into the post with Cech staring blankly.

Another great move down the right started by Osman won the first corner taken by Baines. Hitzlsperger took the next from the other side but Jelavic was called for a foul on Ivanovic. Everton were winning all the loose balls, Osman relishing the opportunity to be the central midfield play maker as Chelsea struggled to get in the game, with Sylvain Distin outmuscling Torres.

20 minutes had gone before Chelsea even had a shot anywhere near goal and it was actually high and wide from Ramires, as Everton continued to harry and hassle in the middle of the field. It wasn't pretty at times but it was effective.

A lovely backheel by Pienaar set up another cross that Osman lashed at Cech. But Mata came close, running right through the middle and Howard was a little lucky to make the save, as the Everton defense looked a little rattled.

But they kept getting the ball forward effectively well for Anichebe to fire a cross wildly over the Chelsea goal. He made amends winning a good corner that Pienaar whipped in well.

Mata danced through and fired across the Everton goal, but Ashley Cole could not convert at the far post and the Chelsea attack ran out of steam. But the visitors were starting to come into the game more until a great break by Pienaar fed Jelavic, who came so close forcing a fingertip save from Cech.

The visitors won their first corner five minutes before the break, and they eventually worked it into the equalizer, Lampard heading in the cross from Ramirez after Torres finally got the better of Distin.

Anichebe came so close to glancing in a Baimes free kick before Howard Webb blew the whistle for half time. Ross Turnbull surprisingly replaced Peter Cech in the Chelsea goal but Anichebe could not test him after an early run that ended in rather hopeful calls for a penalty.

Ruiz fouled Baines, his studs ripping the hole in the Everton players shirt, but Naismith was offside from the free kick. Everton attacked down the left but could not find their men with poor crosses.

At the other end, Torres came close but Howard denied him. Then another Chelsea move looked to rip Everton apart but Torres was flagged offside has he shot at Howard, the same fate falling Jelavic at the other end after a superb move.

A dangerous free kick from Baines was headed away as Everton pressed and won a corner but their attacks lacked sufficient penetration, as Pienaar became the first name in Howard Webb's little book when he received a yellow card on 65 minutes.

Torres forced a good save off Howard who came out well to catch a Lampard corner. Osman came so close to scoring, forcing a fingertip save from Turnbull, then Jelavic hit the crossbar with a brilliant header off a great ball played in from Baines.

But Everton paid the price of their failure to score when Lampard again bundled home, setting up a repeat of the 2009 FA Cup Final scoreline. Moses came on for Hazard, then Vellios for Naismith (77'), then Barkley replaced Hitzlsperger (79'), then Oviedo replaced Pienaar (81').

The replacements made a valiant effort to boost the flagging Everton attack, Barkley rushing a shot from distance and firing over. Ashley Cole was booked for something... time wasting, perhaps?

Jelavic had a golden opportunity to level it at the end but the dreadful miskicked shot summed up Everton's luck on the day, ending their undefeated home record and dropping them down to 6th as the monied clubs continue to reassert themselves.

Michael Kenrick

Match Preview

The final game of 2012 at Goodison Park has plenty of ingredients for being a classic, hopefully despite the lunchtime kick-off. Chelsea are the visitors, and they have been defeated in this fixture for the last three seasons. This time, both teams are seemingly well matched, sitting behind the leaders in the top five, separated by just two points.

That should make it an even playing field but Everton will be without potential match-winner, Marianne Fellaini, who serves out the final game of his three-match suspension for nutting Shawcross with his wool mop a week before Christmas and receiving retrospective punishment thanks to the abundance of video evidence against him. David Moyes remains cagey over the possibility that Fellaini will be joined on the sidelines by the rather injury-prone Darron Gibson, who was withdrawn at half-time in the Boxing Day win over Wigan, after aggravating a thigh problem when taking a free-kick.

Everton are on something of a roll, despite being without Fellaini, and playing some of the poorest football of the season so far; back-to-back wins against West Ham and Wigan must say something about the resilience and determination of the limited squad that David Moyes has assembled. The last couple of games have seen Victor Anichebe coming back into the fold and making a difference, scoring a goal against West Ham and making one against Wigan. Will David Moyes continue with 4-4-2 or will he be more concerned about filling out the midfiled?

Everton are one of only two teams unbeaten at home this season in the Premier League, indeed they last suffered a defeat at Goodison Park way back in March. But they don't have any really big scalps to boast about since that fabulous opening win under the lights against Man Utd, all other home games against 'big' clubs having ended in draws this season as the Toffees trying to match Stoke City as the leagues' draw specialists. And perhaps the most significant statistic: you have to go back to November 2008 to find the last time Everton won three league games in a row.

Seamus Coleman could be in contention after also missing the last two matches through injury. Kevin Mirallas is unlikely to be fit as is Tony Hibbert, who has now missed 12 games this season, while the hidden talents of young Ross Barkley appear likely to remain on the bench yet again. Barkley has seen just 20 minutes of Premier League football in one game since he was called back from loan at Sheffield Wednesday over a month ago, when Phil Neville underwent knee surgery, and David Moyes has stayed true to form in not trusting the youngster for fear that he would jeopardize tenuous situations with vital Premier League points on the line. Since it is far from Everton's style under Moyes to hammer home their advantage much beyond a single-goal lead, opportunities will remain few and far between for this very promising product of Everton Academy.

The match comes at a critical juncture in the season for Everton, with both Chelsea and Arsenal going above The Blues with games in hand, pushing them down to 6th from a high point of 2nd that their early season form should have preserved, but for crucial refereeing decisions compounded by an annoying inability to really finish teams off and carry home the points. Hence the plethora of drawn games. If Everton are to really sustain a valid challenge for Champions League places, this is a must-win game.

One of the media talking points ahead of this game is the return of Rafa Benitez to Goodison Park, this time as 'interim' manager of Chelsea. Obviously a target of ire from Evertonians for having been Liverpool manager, that credential was infamously exacerbated when the Fat Spanish Waiter dared to call Everton a "small club" back in 2007. More recently, Benitez has something of a sign over Moyes: he has won five and drawn one of his last six Premier League meetings with Everton.

While the past words of Benitez are a sore point for both Everton and Chelsea fans, his deeds as a manager cannot be so easily dismissed. Few managers can boast his list of trophies won, and to the surprise of many interested parties, he really does now appear to be doing what Abramovich wanted since the Russian oligarch kicked Di Matteo down the road especially when it comes to making the most of the seemingly misunderstood talent of one Seor Fernanado Torres. Under Benitez, Chelsea now have six wins in the last seven games.

Chelsea's goal-difference has been massively boosted by their 8 - 0 slaughter of Aston Villa last weekend, but Benitez claims the players need to be rotated due to tiredness after their long trip around the world to Japan earlier this month this will be their ninth game in a hectic December. The price of success...

TV cameras will be carrying the game live across the UK and around the world.

Michael Kenrick

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Match Preview
Match Summary
Match Report
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2012-13 Reports Index
< Wigan (H) Newcastle (A) >
EVERTON (4-4-2)
  Distin :73'
  Naismith (77' Vellios)
  Hitzlsperger (79' Barkley)
  Pienaar :64' (81' Oviedo)
  Subs not used
  Fellaini (suspended)
  Coleman (injured)
  Gibson (injured)
  Hibbert (injured)
  Mirallas (injured)
  Neville (injured)
  Bidwell (loan)
CHELSEA (4-4-2)
  Cech (46' Turnbull)
  Cahill :48'
  Cole :86'
  Luiz :70'
  Mata (85' Oscar)
  Hazard (74' Moses)
  Subs not used

Premier League Scores
Arsenal 7 - 3 Newcastle
Aston Villa 0 - 3 Wigan
Fulham 1 - 2 Swansea
Man United 2 - 0 West Brom
Norwich 3 - 4 Man City
Reading 1 - 0 West Ham
Stoke 3 - 3 So'hampton
Sunderland 1 - 2 Tottenham
Everton 1 - 2 Chelsea
QPR 0 - 3 Liverpool

Team Pts
1 Manchester United 49
2 Manchester City 42
3 Chelsea 38
4 Tottenham Hotspur 36
5 Arsenal 33
6 Everton 33
7 West Bromwich Albion 33
8 Stoke City 29
9 Liverpool 28
10 Swansea City 28
11 Norwich City 25
12 West Ham United 23
13 Sunderland 22
14 Fulham 21
15 Newcastle United 20
16 Wigan Athletic 18
17 Aston Villa 18
18 Southampton 17
19 Reading 13
20 Queens Park Rangers 10

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