Everton Logo

Everton 1 - 1 Chelsea

Half-time: 1 - 0


Chelsea Logo
FA Carling Premiership 1999-2000 – Game 15
3pm Saturday 20 November 1999
Goodison Park, Merseyside
Att: 38,225
Kilmarnock (a) Ref: M Halsey Aston Villa (h) 
[1999-2000 Fixtures & Results] League Position: 12th [Premiership Results & Table]
 MATCH SUMMARY
Francis Jeffers Everton entered this match in desperate need of a win to sustain their good start to the season – the last victory was seven weeks ago!

The match came too soon after the brave and honourable efforts of Everton's three Scots Internationals as they defeated an inept-looking England team at Wembley... but failed to score enough goals. John Collins, drained after Wednesday's efforts, stayed on the bench.

On the field, it was Chelsea who looked threatening, Flo testing Gerrard who made an incredible reaction save from one header. Then Everton went ahead after a nice passing move down the right which ended with Jeffers smartly setting up Campbell, who's Shot was part-blocked by a Chelsea defender, sending De Goey the wrong way.

A lack-lustre Chelsea side was there for the taking but Everton failed to build on that vital lead, and paid the ultimate price in the 92nd minute, when Cleland and Dunne got in each other's way, allowing the ball to be pulled back for Flo to slot in a late, late equaliser. All the worse because these two, along with Pembridge, Barmby and Jeffers, had been excellent for 90 minutes.  

Two points simple thrown away, and Everton slide into the bottom half of the table after West Ham's spawny win over a plucky Sheffield Wednesday side in the Sunday match.

 

  

 MATCH FACTS
   GOALSCORERS  Debuts
EVERTON: Campbell (15')
Chelsea: Flo (92')
   LINEUPS  Subs Not Used
EVERTON: Gerrard; Unsworth, Gough, Dunne, Cleland; Barmby, Hutchison, Pembridge, Xavier; Jeffers, Campbell.
Unavailable:
Weir (suspended); Moore (awaiting Work Permit); Johnson, Watson, Williamson (injured); Branch, Grant (transfer-listed); Bilic (in limbo); Cadamarteri, Farrelly, O'Kane, Phelan (on loan); Parkinson (retired).
Ball, Collins, Gemmill, Grant, Simonsen.
Chelsea: De Goey, Babayaro, Desailly, Leboeuf (56' Sent Off!), Ferrer (Hogh, 81), Ambrosetti (Di Matteo, 2), Deschamps, Morris, Petrescu (Zola, 51), Flo, Sutton. Cudicini, Harley.
   Playing Strips  Formations
EVERTON: Royal Blue shirts; white shorts; blue socks. 4-4-2
Chelsea: White shirts; blue shorts; white socks. 4-4-2; 4-4-1
   Yellow Cards  Red Cards
EVERTON: Hutchison (30'), Pembridge (69').
Chelsea: Sutton (27'), [Leboeuf (39')], Ferrer (78'). Leboeuf (56')

 

 MATCH REPORTS
 REPORTS BY EVERTON FANS
Darryl Ng The Winning Mentality
Richard Marland Points squandered infuriatingly
Steve Milne What do you put this down to?
Mickey Blue Eyes We deserved to win this one
 NEWSPAPER REPORTS
ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Chelsea's industry overcomes Leboeuf ban
by Clive White
THE SUNDAY TIMES Flo saves errant Chelsea
by Ron Clarke
THE INDEPENDENT Flo the leveller leaves Everton stunned
by Peter Dury
THE TIMES Chelsea are playing a risky game
by Matt Dickinson
 OTHER INTERNET REPORTS
EFC NEWS SITE Link to the Daily Post Match Report

EFC NEWS SITE Link to the Liverpool Echo Match Report

THE OBSERVER Link to Football Unlimited Match Report
THE GUARDIAN Link to Football Unlimited Match Report
SOCCERNET Link to SoccerNet Match Report
CARLINGNET Link to CarlingNet Match Report

 
 The Winning Mentality
Darryl Ng
 
So. Cleland in for the suspended Weir, Dunney moving into the centre to partner Gough, Collins rested, and Jeffers returned after missing the past 4-5 games. What surprised me immediately was that there was no attacking cover on the bench, but I thought that WHEN Jeffers would be substituted, Hutch would probably be moved up front. Wrong on both counts as it turns out.

The match started a little comically. A non-tustle with Ambrosetti by Xavier (I think!) led to what must be the shortest appearance by any premiership player this season. Vialli forced into a change after just 26 seconds, on coming Di Matteo. "Oh great" I thought. I think I would have rather Ambrosetti stayed on.

The action after that was almost non-existent. Chelsea looked to be slightly the more comfortable on the ball, but we created the better chances. One of these chances was spurned when Franny, sent spinning clear but moving progressively too far right, slipped his shot narrowly wide of the Chelsea goal. It was promising, and even more so a few minutes later...

Cleland exchanged a good one-two with Barmby and sped down the right. His cross was over Campbell and slightly behind Franny, but Franny managed to turn, chest the ball down and send it into the space that was opening up for Campbell in what seemed like one smooth flow. Campbell's clinical finish displayed all the hallmarks of a striker in fine fettle, wrong-footing De Goey at the near post. 1-0, and we were looking good. Chelsea on the other hand were looking distinctly disinterested. One can only imagine that this week's Champions League match must be preying on their minds.

They were slightly awakened by that goal, though, and, midway through the first half, they created their best chance. A good left-wing cross saw Flo with a clear header not more than 6 yards out, but an excellent excellent save by Gerrard protected our lead.

Hutch was then booked, along with Sutton for Chelsea, and he will now have a suspension coming up against Man Utd. At that time, Leboeuf was also booked for a scything tackle on Campbell. An incident that I totally missed, and that was due in no small part to the fact that the ref for the day, a certain M Halsey, had let the game flow and only returned to book the Frenchman after a pause in the game.

Lots have been made of D'Urso and his like, but Halsey today had a good game. Always willing to let the game flow, you couldn't really fault him on any account.

Second Half

We hadn't played well, but had done enough to keep a disinterested Chelsea at bay. Flo and Sutton up front were well marshalled by Gough and a very impressive Dunne, perhaps back to the central position he's best at. In midfield, Xavier was his usual tidy if unspectacular self, while Hutch (who had one decent effort a foot or so over) looked better than expected after his week-long exertions for the tartan army. Franny up front looked none the worse for wear after his op although surely he couldn't last the whole game.

No changes by either manager at half-time, but it wasn't long before there were two. One tactical, the other enforced. The half was only 5 minutes old when Vialli decided enough was enough and sent Zola on. These kind of moves make no sense with me whatsoever. If he was going to make a change this early, why not do it at half-time? Does the 5 minutes really matter?

Anyway, another 5 minutes later, and Leboeuf had upended Barmby by the right touchline from behind, and while we all thought deffo free-kick, most of the crowd who hadn't noticed Leboeuf's earlier booking were quite surprised to see the ref brandish the red card following the second yellow. As a result of this, Sutton moved back into defence, while the rest of the Chelsea team remained unchanged.

Three points in the bag? We should know better.

For the rest of the half, we hardly pressed our man advantage, and while we were fairly comfortable in dealing with anything the foreigners threw at us, we were just as unlikely to score a second ourselves. Barmby had a good shout for a penalty, and Gough sent a header from a corner narrowly wide.

At the other end, what looked like a dangerous Zola through-ball was nicked away expertly by the improving Richard Dunne. That was touch-and-go though, and when Zola crashed to the ground, almost everyone must have turned immediately to see the ref's reaction. Thankfully, he saw what I thought I had seen. That Dunne had gotten the ball long before contact was made with man. No penalty, no corner even, as one of the other defenders retrieved the ball and play continued.

Towards the end, it was obvious that Franny and perhaps Hutch too were feeling tired. With no attacking subs on the bench, the least we expected was that one would have been taken off and a fresh pair of legs to hary the Chelsea players be sent on.

No such luck. No movement from the bench at all except Archie and Walt leaping to their feet on occasion to express their consternation at something or other. Presumably, they did not hear our consternation at their inactivity in bringing on someone fresh.

In any case, as the match went into injury time, I and many others probably thought the 3 points were in the bag. Chelsea, who had not one decent second-half chance, surely couldn't conjure up one in the dying minute?

But that they did was due more to our complacency, lack of urgency, failure to press home our man advantage, and.... tiredness. Franny received the ball midway through our half, and trying to play his way out of trouble, and start up another attack, sold Barmby short on the right and the pass was intercepted by Hogh who had come on midway through the half as a sub. Hogh however still had a lot to do, and his charge down the Chelsea left was met by Cleland, who did enough to half-win the ball.

What happened next is clearly etched in my mind. Dunney unfortunately, who till then had had a perfect match, came over to help Cleland deal with the bobbling ball (caused by a poor first touch from Cleland) and unwittingly played the ball straight to Hogh down by the touchline who sent it right into the path of the now unmarked Flo. Gerrard had no chance with the finish, and we were shattered. There wasn't even 15 seconds more left after that.

Those who start criticising any of the players involved in the goal, however, should take a good long look at the match. We didn't lose the 2 points because of Franny's mistake, Cleland's poor first touch or Dunney's haste. We lost it because once again, we failed to take advantage of an extra man. The mentality of winners is not there just yet.

In contrast, I notice that Man Utd successfully managed to press home their man advantage against Derby yesterday. Sure we had Chelsea instead, but it has happened far too often for it to be simply that. It was a shame that we didn't win it in the end, but if it marks a step on the learning ladder for Franny, I would be more than happy to accept it.

Match Ratings:

  • Gerrard 7 Not much to do, but didn't let us down when we needed him. Excellent first half save from Flo kept us ahead.
  • Cleland 7 Very impressive return to the first team. His run brought about the goal, and his continued willingness to overlap pinned Chelsea and Babayaro back for most of the game down their left. Mistake for the goal spoiled it.
  • Unsworth 6 Nothing unusual. The same long crosses to nobody in particular still haunts his game, and missed a few tackles which could have proved costly.
  • Gough 6 Handled Flo and Sutton well, but they didn't look much interested in the first place.
  • Dunne 8 MOTM Centre-half certainly seems to suit him. Where's the next Gough? No need to look. Shame about the late shambles, but he'll learn.
  • Hutchison 6 Two shots from outside the box both over, nothing like his best game, and looked tired at the end. Booked, and now has a suspension coming.
  • Pembridge 6 Just realised that I've written nothing about Pembo in the report. But he was highly effective down the left flank. Made several promising runs and breaks when Chelsea were down to 10 men.
  • Barmby 7 Loads of intelligent runs which came to nought because there was no support. Linked well with Cleland whenever the full-back offered it.
  • Xavier 6 Tidy and effective, he hardly gives the ball away save for one pass in the first half. Bit out of sorts in the second half.
  • Jeffers 7 A better than expected return to form. He tired considerably near the end, and should have been replaced. Would be extremely harsh to be blamed for the goal, but must learn how to deal with the ball in those sorts of situations. ie HOOF IT UP.
  • Campbell 6 Goal apart, he had a quiet game, but his ability to have his flick-ons land to the feet of a blue shirt still far outstrips whatever Duncan did.

Right. Christmas party time. But that last minute equaliser put the dampers on it for me. That report will have to wait. All in all though, a thoroughly fascinating day. The Black Watch, the Londoner's great escape, and the Bluenose/Evertonia Christmas party too.


 
 Points squandered infuriatingly
Richard Marland
 
As usual Walter wrong footed me with his team selection even though it wasn't without it's logic. Weir was missing through suspension and Collins was given a rest after his heroics against England, Walter elected to partner Richard Dunne with Richard Gough in the centre of defence, with Cleland given a rare start at right back and Unsworth getting the nod ahead of Ball at left back. The returning Abel Xavier partnered Scotland's goal scoring hero Hutchison in the centre of midfield with Pembridge going wide left and Nick Barmby being asked to play on the right this time. Up front it was back to the Campbell-Jeffers partnership with Jeffers getting a surprisingly early recall to the starting line-up after injury. The bench comprised Simonsen, Ball, Collins, Gemmill and Grant.

The game started with some early sparring. Chelsea had Sutton and Flo up front and relied a lot on the long ball upfield, so much for their vaunted continental style passing game. This was meat and drink to Gough and Dunne at the heart of the defence and seemed to be a strange game plan for Chelsea to adopt.

For our part we were doing OK without exactly setting the world alight. We looked pretty comfortable at the back and always looked dangerous up front when Barmby, Jeffers and Campbell linked up. In midfield, though, we were struggling. Xavier seemed to take an eternity to get to the pace of the game and Hutchison was guilty again of over elaboration.

Despite our shortcomings we still managed to fashion a goal, slick interplay between Barmby and Cleland saw Cleland released down the right, his cross ended up slightly behind Jeffers who did well to get it under control before swivelling and releasing Campbell into the box. Campbell made no mistake with finding the back of the net. A well worked goal and yet more evidence of just what a good partnership Campbell and Jeffers make.

Defensively speaking we had been doing OK but the fact that we were seeing yet another permutation of defenders occasionally came to the fore. This was most notable when Chelsea came desperately close to scoring. We were opened up down the left and with our defence all over the place Flo was given a chance directly in front of goal, he was only denied by a breathtaking save from Paul Gerrard.

Neither side came as close to scoring in the remainder of the half, with both 'keepers having little to do. We had a couple of very good passages of play proving that when things do click we can pass the ball very well indeed.

The second half continued with us largely in control of the game. They changed their game plan slightly by bringing on Zola in the early stages of the second half, but puzzlingly they still persevered with Flo and Sutton up front.

We then got the break that should have seen us go on to take the match. Leboeuf was booked in the first half for a taking out Campbell with a late challenge. In the second he came in with a wild lunge on Barmby - he missed the ball and caught Barmby on the foot. It was a clear bookable offence and I didn't quite understand Desailly's anger at the decision.

As often happens the sending off didn't quite have the anticipated effect. Chelsea reorganised by pulling Sutton back into central defence and playing Flo as a lone striker with Zola supporting from deep. To my eyes this helped their shape and balance no end.

What followed was one of those distressing passages of play where we failed to impose ourselves on the game and make our numerical advantage pay. We failed to control the possession and found ourselves gifting possession to Chelsea again and again. The result was that we were getting pegged further and further back. What we were crying out for was someone like Collins, or even Grant, to come off the bench to try and get some control back into the midfield.

Despite the general poverty of our play Chelsea didn't really look like scoring. OK they were seeing quite a bit of possession and certainly didn't look like a team with a numerical disadvantage, but they weren't putting Gerrard under any kind of pressure.

As 90 minutes arrived and we were told that there were two minutes of added time, it looked like we were going to run out as winners. All we had to do was act professionally and run down the clock. This we failed to do. We had already set the tone with a few panicky clearances when Franny Jeffers gave possession away cheaply, Chelsea advanced down our right and got the ball into the box where Dunne and Cleland got in a bit of a tangle, Cleland took control of the situation and in his efforts to clear the ball and not concede a corner the ball got deflected to Flo who found the back of the net.

It was an absolutely infuriating goal to give away, all we had to do was defend with a bit of conviction - Row Z was needed, if that meant conceding a corner then so be it, we failed to do that and paid a very high price.

That's now 6 games without a victory a run that has seen us slide down the table. It's still much too early to panic and we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that we have improved from this time last year. But, we can't continue to squander points like this, particularly at home.

  • Gerrard 8 Faultless display with one truly exceptional save.
  • Cleland 6 Had his moments but doesn't altogether convince defensively. Badly at fault for their goal and maybe showing why Walter doesn't totally rate him.
  • Unsworth 6 I personally think his inclusion ahead of Ball is justified. Ball's form has gone off the boil again whilst Unsworth has been a consistent performer this season. Having said all that this wasn't one of his better days but still did OK.
  • Dunne 8 His best performance yet for us. On the ground and in the air he was rarely beaten, even when he was beaten he invariably made up for his mistakes. Two absolutely top drawer tackles on Zola in the second half. The boy is coming of age as a premiership defender.
  • Gough 8 Yet another impressive performance, his reading of the game is outstanding.
  • Barmby 7 Not as effective as he has been, but this was still a lively and energetic performance.
  • Hutchison 6 Can't help feeling that he's started believing some of the hype surrounding him. I've always thought that he was a good footballer and he's still playing well it's just that he seems over confident now and keeps playing himself into trouble by over-elaborating.
  • Xavier 6 Seemed to take an eternity to get going. Perhaps understandable after his recent layoff but it did leave us struggling in midfield. Did get better as the game wore on.
  • Pembridge 6 Neat and tidy performer who is impressively strong in the tackle. In attacking terms loses an awful lot through a lack of pace, on several occasions I saw him make space for himself but then lacked the pace to take advantage of it.
  • Campbell 7 When given the opportunity continues to impress. Yet another well taken goal and gave Desailly a very uncomfortable afternoon.
  • Jeffers 7 His awareness really is something special. This wasn't Franny at his best, it'll take another couple of games to see that, but he was still good enough to give a much vaunted defence plenty of problems.

Team 6 Just never really got going today. Defensively fairly solid and on occasion looked dangerous in attack but it was in midfield were we struggled - losing possession too easily and ultimately giving Chelsea a route back into the game that they should never have been allowed.

Man of the match - Richard Dunne.


 
 What do you put this down to?
Steve Milne
 
When you look just how thin our squad is, then look at our visitors' squad, I think it is a bit more than a gulf, it's more like a chasm, but on the balance of today's game you would not think so. Apart from the last 20 seconds of the game, I thought we where the better side.

Dunne & Cleland – one of them should have put the ball into Row X – but Chelsea put it in the back of the net, all the hard work over 89 mins went by the by.

We should have had the second killer goal, but it never came. So after the final whistle it felt like the game was lost rather than the game being drawn.

But what do you put it down to? Walter for not making a change? Jeffers was obviously worn out in the second half (after not playing for 5 weeks). An extra body in midfield for the last 10 mins just to shore things up, even just to have a pair of fresh legs... We had an extra man for over 30 mins, but we totally failed to exploit the fact. We had two clear penalties – a hand ball, and Barmby was clearly pushed to the ground. The ref and his assistants did not have the best of games.

Its all not doom and gloom, we are still undefeated in the league at home. Jeffers & Campbell are back in tandem – they seem to play together as two forwards should do. We are 10th in the league – remember this time last year!

  • Gerrard 8 Played well not that much to do, made two outstanding saves
  • Cleland 6 For 89 mins was solid, the best game this season then one mistake, that will be remembered for a while I think.
  • Gough 7 Dependable as ever, a real war horse
  • Unsworth 5 Seems to have won the battle of the left side of defence with Ball.
  • Dunne 8 (Man of the Match) He may be young in years but has an old head on his shoulders, made 2 goal saving tackles
  • Barmby 7 Had a good game, made some nice touches
  • Xavier 4 Has not done much for me in the way of stamping his mark on the midfield
  • Hutchison 5 Looks to be enjoying his roll as captain. I thought he tired towards the end, played well.
  • Pembridge 5 The Stuart McCall look a like, may have found his place in the team line up at this position
  • Jeffers 5 After 5 weeks lay off, could have done with a place on the bench or only played 45 mins. Nice to see him back
  • Campbell 7 First half, had some nice touches. Seems to have benefited with the return of Jeffers alongside him


 
 We deserved to win this one
Mickey Blue Eyes
 
Anyway....bright, shiny day, pitch in excellent condition, class opposition, good attendance...oh yes, everything going for it.

And we started well and with determination right from the kick off. Funny enough, it was Chelsea who got the first chance when a through-ball to Flo into the Street End had him chasing it with Dunney (playing at centre back) and almost one-on-one with Paul. Dunney got a half tackle in and Paul pulled off his by now usual miracle in this kind of situation. Relief...

But we were spreading it around well and with more certainty than Chelsea. LeBoeuf and Desailly, great players both, looked a bit out of sorts... but then doesn't everybody up against Jeffers-Campbell. Yes, Big Ears was back and played well despite looking slightly off pace. He and Campbell gave the two Chelsea greats a terrible time all afternoon. In the end, LeBoeuf totally lost it... got booked in the first half and then deservedly took an early bath after a badly mistimed dive in on Nicky in front of the Street End in the second half.

We played a lot of good fast stuff in the first half. Big Ear's first effort into the Park End was a classic striker's slight deflection towards the left hand post from between the pen spot and the goal area. With the ground out of it's collective seat the fuckin' thing went the width of a gnat's fart past the post with De Gluey nowhere. Funny keeper, the Cheesehead... glad he's not on our side.

A goal for us always looked likely. Before that, though, Paul made an astounding instinctive save from a close-in header by Flo. A good cross from the right, time to look up and direct it, which he did, like a bullet, and Paul went to his left and beat it out. What a STORMER!

Then we made a neat interpassing move down the right that left the Foreign Legion all over the place and LeBoeuf stranded out on their left. Nicky made a quick cross in to Big Ears in perfect position by the penalty arc. He feinted right and completely unbalanced the entire Chelsea defence around him, including Desailly marking nobody, went left and pushed it to, yoo-hoo guess who!? Unmarked Super Kev and he smacked it home with a half-hit shot. GREAT goal. Jeffers-Campbell back in biz. Tally ho... Then The Don volleyed narrowly over and it looked like we were well on our way to a clear win.

For us, Dunney was having a stormer again and he was everybody's man of the match, no question. The boy MUST stay at centre back. He's a natural. While Unsie was doing his very best impression of a fat lazy bastard at left back who'd been on the ale the night before. Goughie made a good come back and Cleland was OK except for the Big Yeuk at the end. Pembridge made up for a lack of high-level talent with a real fighting display on left midfield. The Don and Abel were generally in charge in midfield without the Don losing it again.

And here a word about big Abel. I think the lad is well-nigh indispensable now. He's the only midfielder we've got who can actually guarantee to pass the ball to a Blue Belly, with the possible exception of John Collins. We've got loads of ball winners... but aaarrrgghhh, without Abel, they promptly give the thing to the opposition. It pisses me off mightily. Whereas, Abel does the simple thing well, and more importantly... immediately... which is: Give it to one of ours. Yes, yes, I know...he's easily knocked off the ball for a big man and he can't head to save his life. But he can PASS the ball. It becomes more obvious by the match that's why Wally bought him. But we don't half miss him when he's not there.

Nicky had a solid, busy day out on the right and now seems to have left his bad streak of form behind. Interestingly, he was recently quoted as saying he preferred playing on the left.

Not too much I can say about Jeffers-Campbell again. Once Big Ears gets his full fitness back, some poor bastards are gonna be taken the cleaners by these two. Next week would be a good start. I doubt if Kevin Campbell has ever played better in his life....it's a long time since I've seen anybody time his headers as well as KC. He made life a total misery for Desailly-LeBoeuf.

Chelsea's best player by a LONG way was young Morris on the right. The kid never stopped all afternoon. And when you ally that to really outstanding close control and passing it looks as though he can't miss an outstanding future. For the rest, Flo was a constant threat...every time I see him he seems to have better ball control....but Chelsea looked unimpressive until LeBoeuf went and they HAD to battle it instead of play pat-a-ball all afternoon.

I got concerned when they brought on Little Genius Zola but Dunney snuffed him with three absolutely superbly timed tackles and he didn't make much of an impression.

We kept moving forward and always looked likely to get a second. In fact we had the clearest pen I've seen in years when Lardarse struck a rising cross over from the left and Desailly elbowed it down just inside the box. Right in front of the Street End. Who immediately went totally BALLISTIC when the soft prat with the whistle waved play on. He musta been the only sod this side of the Urinal Mountains who DIDN'T see it... him and the daft twat with the flag.

You have to be fair to Chelsea, though. They looked ripe for a beating when the Frog took a powder. Instead, they rolled up their sleeves and got themselves back into the game even with only ten men. They just never gave up.

It paid off with just fifteen seconds left when Big Ears made a hash and miscued a clearance half way in our half right side in the Park End. Flo dived in on it, lost it and it bounced toward the goal line with Cleland and Dunney and a Chelsea player in pursuit. Like all good strikers Flo faded back in toward goal. Dunney half knocked it back to Alex – a very bad ball. Alex dithered and then tried to hack it against the Chelsea player and out. Instead it rebounded back in toward goal just right of the goal area to....aaarrggghhh – Who else!?.. Flo... who thudded it first time on the volley from about nine metres. It screamed in at ground level just inside Paul's right-hand post. Then the ref blew his whistle.

I tell you, people, the air was PURPLE in the Street End. The main consensus seemed to be. Frustration's a terrible thing.

I reckon this match confirmed what we've always felt. The sad fact is that we have to play all out right from the beginning. Hustle and hassle. And we have no second gear. It either works and overwhelms the opposition or THEY (particularly the good ones) step up another gear. We have nothing in reserve.

Still, we've come a long way from last season. Then, this would have been a good result. It's a sign of the times that we were all so pissed off about needlessly dropping two valuable points. We deserved to win this one. We didn't because we committed the unforgivable sin of losing concentration right at the end.


 
 Chelsea's industry overcomes Leboeuf ban
Clive White, Electronic Telegraph
 
SO French beef will be subject to a ban in this country after all – or at least Frank Leboeuf will be after being sent off yesterday. Until the 92nd minute that seemed the least of Chelsea's worries and then Tore Andre Flo saved them from a fifth Premiership defeat that might have wrecked their championship ambitions.

Kevin Campbell's 17th goal in 23 Premiership matches looked to have taken Everton past Chelsea both in the match and the table, but the Merseysiders' failure to finish off the 10 men left them vulnerable to a counter which is exactly what Gianluca Vialli's side delivered with the game's last attack. Nevertheless, it still left Chelsea 12 points behind leaders Manchester United and with a lot of work to do.

After Leboeuf was sent off for a second bookable offence, in the 58th minute, after scything down Nick Barmby from behind, Everton enjoyed overwhelming superiority, but they failed to get that vital second goal. One of the reasons they did not was due to the stubborn resistance of a man who had been bought at no small cost to cure their goalscoring deficiency – Chris Sutton, who reverted to his old Norwich habit of central defence when Leboeuf went off.

Chelsea had given no hint of forcing an equaliser when Alex Cleland, the Everton right back, in trying to avoid conceding a corner, instead played the ball straight to Flo and the Norwegian volleyed it first time past Paul Gerrard.[Not correct: in attempting to clear it, Cleland smashed it into a closing chelsea player; the rebound flew straight to Flo...]

The game was only 24 seconds old when Vialli was forced to rotate his side a little more than even he would like when Gabriele Ambrosetti, making a rare start, pulled up short with what looked like a hamstring injury. The Chelsea manager, who had restored Sutton to his starting line-up in place of Gianfranco Zola, brought on Roberto Di Matteo for his fellow Italian.

But it was a change to the Everton side which promised to be the most significant. Everton have not won since Francis Jeffers went into hospital for a hernia operation six weeks ago and it was no coincidence that Everton went ahead within 14 minutes of the young man's return yesterday.

After the depressingly poor performance of England's seniors, it was uplifting to see one of their juniors in such good form and so soon after what used to be an operation requiring lengthy convalescence.

The 19-year-old had come within inches of scoring after eight minutes when he stabbed at a cross from Barmby. The latter, who not so long ago was himself the face of England's future, has clearly established a good rapport on the right flank with Cleland and the pair worked a sort of double one-two before Cleland sent in his cross. Jeffers miscontrolled it at first but still had the composure to recover and set up his sidekick, Campbell, for a simple finish.

Chelsea had the lion's share of possession in the opening 45 minutes, and Flo had had the chance to give Chelsea an even earlier lead, but his effort was saved by Gerrard. Dan Petrescu went close with a header and then a typically gritty run by Albert Ferrer gave the Romanian the chance to whip in an inviting cross only for Gerrard to pull off a marvellous one-handed save from Flo's close-range header.

Don Hutchison, the Everton captain, carrying over his excellence from Wembley, did his best to press home his team's advantage in the absence of his Scotland team-mate, John Collins, who was given a rest after his midweek exertions.

Report The Electronic Telegraph

 
 Flo saves errant Chelsea
by Ron Clarke, The Sunday Times
 
CHELSEA will not get a more fortuitous point all season. Outplayed for much of this game, it took a desperately scrambled effort in the second minute of stoppage time to get a draw.

Their cause was not helped by the second-half sending-off of Frank Leboeuf, adding to another disjointed performance that must surely dissipate any ideas of being serious title contenders.

Everton, by comparison, were a joy to watch. Their rejuvenation is a revelation and they were unlucky not to capitalise on either Kevin Campbell's solitary goal or their numerical superiority.

A dreadful defensive mix-up at the end allowed Tore Andre Flo to prod the ball home for the most unlikely of equalizers.

After the game Everton manager Walter Smith said: "It was very disappointing. We gave a really good performance up until the last 10 minutes. We ended up giving away a bad goal."

His counterpart Gianluca Vialli simply said: "All the players worked really hard trying to make up for the sending-off. Sometimes you get reward when you work really hard."

This was, of course, only a Premiership game, so we had our usual lists of absentees for assorted reasons. Everton were without the injured Dave Watson, suspended David Weir and retiring John Collins, the latter restricted to a place on the substitutes' bench following his Wembley endeavours, his last game in a Scottish shirt. But scoring the winner against the Auld Enemy must help your stamina, as Don Hutchison was fit enough to resume.

Chelsea, looking for their first win since that October demolition of Manchester United, rested Gianfranco Zola on the bench before Wednesday's Champions League clash with Feyenoord, and were also without the suspended Dennis Wise and injured Graeme Le Saux.

All the chopping and changing saw Francis Jeffers return to the Everton attack, with Flo and Chris Sutton united up front for Chelsea. The alterations continued for less than 50 seconds of the game, Gabriele Ambrosetti limping off to be replaced by Roberto Di Matteo.

Domestic football may be only bread and butter in these days of extended European competition, but much of this fare was certainly very appetising. Football as raw as this does guarantee plentiful penalty area action and the most meaningful started in the 14th minute. Alex Cleland raced down the Everton flank to spin the ball across to Jeffers. His first touch was hesitant but he regained control at the second attempt to slide the ball to Campbell. It looked like slow motion as the big man calmly took a couple of strides towards the six-yard line before unleashing a powerful and unstoppable shot past Chelsea goalkeeper Ed de Goey. It was his 17th goal in just 21 games.

Flo nearly equalised six minutes later, but Paul Gerard saved point-blank from a header after a fine cross by Dan Petrescu. The simmering game almost boiled over with the bookings of Sutton and Hutchison in as many minutes midway through the first half.

It did bubble over in the 57th minute, though, with the sending off. Leboeuf, already booked for a challenge on Campbell in the dying moments of the opening half, clattered into Nick Barmby. Even the early second-half introduction of Zola failed to lift Chelsea into any kind of serious momentum until that final moment.

If you put all your eggs in one basket and drop it you are left with nothing. If Chelsea fail in Europe, their season could soon be over and Vialli's policy of resting and rotating players will only leave him with egg on his face.

Report Times Newspapers Ltd

 
 Flo the leveller leaves Everton stunned
by Peter Drury, The Independent
 
Chelsea preparing for another feast around the continental gourmet's table this week, were grateful yesterday for the scrap of a single point, garnered for them in stoppage time at Goodison Park by Tore Andre Flo.

Taking their place, against Feyenoord on Wednesday, among Europe's notional top 16, Gianluca Vialli's side were threatening to slip out of the Premiership's top half. They had fallen behind to Kevin Campbell's first-half goal, seen Franck Leboeuf sent off and were on the verge of a fourth domestic defeat out of five when their Norwegian talisman came to the rescue.

For Everton it was a stunning, silencing disappointment. Walter Smith, who had followed his manager of the month award for September with five winless games, affected some prudent shuffling of his fellow Scots. He permitted John Collins to rest on the bench no doubt drained by his mid-week exertions and his subsequent decision to draw a line under his international career. Richard Gough was recalled to a defence without the suspended David Weir. Don Hutchison, cheered to the rafters for his Wembley contribution, slipped back into midfield behind Campbell and the returning Francis Jeffers.

Quickly, and with haunting familiarity for England followers, Chelsea developed a problem down their left side. Only 30 seconds had elapsed when Gabriele Ambrosetti pulled up lame and although his replacement, Roberto Di Matteo, immediately crafted a chance for Flo, it was down that flank that Chelsea were undone.

Alex Cleland, overlapping from right full-back, engineered sufficient space to locate Jeffers with a low cross. Jeffers juggled adroitly before presenting Campbell with the chance to dispatch his eighth goal of the season as the striker drove home from 10 yards.

Chelsea are becoming increasingly vulnerable to accusations of under-prioritising the domestic league vis--vis Europe: Gianfranco Zola was on the bench; Gustavo Poyet wasn't even there. But, with Jodie Morris buzzing industrially in lieu of the suspended Dennis Wise, they lacked little creatively.

Morris himself had a ferocious drive heroically charged down by Gough. But the best chance, courtesy of Albert Ferrer's deep run and Dan Petrescu's splendid cross, fell to Flo, whose point-blank header drew a marvellous reflex save from Paul Gerrard in the Everton goal.

However, from the visitors' viewpoint, the second half began with an inauspicious lack of forward momentum. Vialli waited just seven minutes before altering his personnel and his formation. Zola was introduced to operate behind Chris Sutton and Flo; Petrescu was withdrawn from a midfield which became three-strong.

Barely settled in their new formation, Chelsea were thrown into confusion when Leboeuf already booked shortly before half-time over-zealously slid into Nick Barmby and was dismissed. This latest turbulence required Sutton to slip into his former role of centre-half. With ironic timing, he came upfield at once and made his most notable attacking contribution, heading a corner from the right narrowly wide.

The extended fallow period that followed seemed destined to lead nowhere for Chelsea. Inventively though they attempted to pass, Everton's man advantage appeared sufficient to keep them at bay.

Then, 80 seconds into the two minutes of additional time indicated by the fourth official, another centre-half played a pivotal part. Dane Jes Hogh darted for the byline and levered back a pass that Flo rifled deliriously into the net.

Report The Independent

 
 Chelsea are playing a risky game
by Matt Dickinson, The Times
 
THE definition of footballing success became blurred the moment Uefa decreed that you did not have to be champions to win the European Cup Champions' League and Chelsea are suffering more than most from the lack of focus. Unless they are careful, they will finish their grope for silverware by walking into a wall.

Progress to the Champions' League quarter-finals, or even beyond, would be an admirable achievement but if it comes at the price of finishing fourth, or below, in the FA Carling Premiership, it will amount to failure.

The problem is that the contradiction of Gianluca Vialli's side establishing themselves among the best four teams in Europe, but not the top four in England, is far from ludicrous. A draw away to Everton was not a bad result, given his team's reduction to ten men, but the worry is that it was the maximum of Chelsea's ambition in the light of their return to European competition on Wednesday. The competitiveness of the English league does not allow such presumption.

Vialli denies that he is prioritising one trophy above the other, but the decision to rest Gianfranco Zola from the starting line-up at Goodison Park was evidence to the contrary. Chelsea are a weakened team for every second that the Italian is not on the field and it showed on Saturday in a display that lacked conviction. Such a failing is hardly surprising when the players take to the field without their likeliest match-winner.

With Zola confined to the bench until after half-time, they began with the combination of Tore Andre Flo and Chris Sutton, who appear Chelsea's most incompatible partnership since Bates and Harding.

Admittedly, Flo was presented with two glorious opportunities in the first 20 minutes but neither move involved his attacking accomplice. Unless his team-mates learn to bring the best out of Chris Sutton instead of bombarding him with long balls, they will remain a very good team who occasionally do a good impression of looking very ordinary.

Reported interest in Benito Carbone would make sense given Zola's advancing years but no new arrivals are expected until the summer and as Pierluigi Casiraghi's return remains a question of whether rather than when, Chelsea will have to soldier on with their three existing forwards and the raw Mikael Forssell. It is not an armoury to match those of Manchester United or Arsenal.

A draw at Goodison Park is no failure given that Everton had not lost at home in the league since April, but two points out of the past 15 have left Chelsea nearer Bradford City than Leeds United. Two games in hand and the two-month break from the Champions' League will enable them to recover ground, but they will not start to climb the league, as Vialli confidently predicted on Saturday, unless they play better than this.

For all his faults, they badly missed Dennis Wise. Jody Morris was Chelsea's best player, strong in the tackle and always willing to seek the ball, but the combination of him and Didier Deschamps is flawed. Neither supports the strikers as well as the Chelsea captain. With Roberto Di Matteo forced into what can now be termed the "Redknapp position" – a right-footed midfield player at left wing – after Gabriele Ambrosetti's hamstring strain in the first minute, Chelsea were unbalanced from the start. Everton, determined and organised, would have been deserved winners.

The movement of Kevin Campbell and Francis Jeffers was excellent, the latter laying off Cleland's cross in the fourteenth minute for Campbell to score his seventeenth goal in 23 Premiership matches since returning from Turkey. With Nick Barmby also looking sprightly, Everton had the stronger momentum for most of the match as Chelsea repeatedly surrendered possession.

Perversely, it was after Frank Leboeuf's dismissal in the 56th minute for a second bookable offence – the second deserved, the first not so – that Chelsea were at their best as Sutton switched to centre half.

His move forced his team-mates to stop whacking balls forward, although it still seemed unlikely that Chelsea would equalise until Cleland's mistake in the last minute. Instead of clearing the ball into touch, the full back's effort struck Dunne, allowing Flo the chance for a fine left-foot finish.

It was a lucky break for Chelsea, who return to the Champions' League on Wednesday to face Feyenoord. After that, they play Bradford City at home. It is not the fault of the Chelsea players that the game next Sunday will feel like an anticlimax. But it is their problem, and a growing one at that.

Report Times Newspapers Ltd

 
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