We wanted John Terry back, we got it; we wanted Michael Essien back, we got it. Yet sadly the thing that we wanted the most, three points, eluded us on a day when a win would have taken us to the top of the league.
Everton hadn’t beaten us at Stamford Bridge for 16 years, but this didn’t highlight the fact that we haven’t got three points against them on the past five occasions, and sadly this was the case again as Jermaine Beckford’s late equaliser left us winless in 4, a run which has seen us collect only 2 points out of possible 12.
Chelsea welcomed back Terry and Essien to their starting line-up, but Lampard missed out again, as Carlo Ancelotti made two changes, with Alex out with injury and Ramires dropping to the bench.
We had been guilty of slow starts in the past which gave the opposition early momentum, thereby making it difficult for us, but we started brightly today and looked up to the task, although still missing that early season swagger.
Chelsea dominated the possession early on, but failed to create any clear cut chances, with John Terry going the closest after his strike hit the bar. Everton were holding their own even with the lack of possession.
However, this was soon to change when the experience Phil Neville, who was booked for tackle from behind on Malouda earlier, played in a loose back pass which allowed Nicolas Anelka to get in. The Frenchmen was one-on-one with Tim Howard and was brought down.
A penalty was given but Howard wasn’t sent-off. Drogba stepped up and scored his first goal since scoring against Arsenal.
Chelsea went into the half-time with a one goal lead and feeling confident. It was also a half in which John Terry showed what we were missing when he was out with his brilliant performance.
The second-half begin with Chelsea expected to press on and close the game out; instead we decided to sit back and invited pressure from the Blue boys from Merseyside. It was typical of the team which had just one win in previous five league games.
Everton started to have more of the possession as the game went on, with Baines causing trouble with his play on the left. First, Rodwell went close when his header hit the post, with Cech beaten. Then, Coleman hit his header straight down Cech’s throat on the back post.
The Big Czech goalkeeper then had a scare when Cahill left his foot while going for the ball. His stud caught Cech above his left eye, but luckily he wasn’t hurt. However, the Australian wasn’t punished for his dangerous play.
Chelsea then tried to have more control of the game and brought on Ferreira for Bosingwa, possibly to shore up the left hand side where Baines was causing all sorts of trouble, and Ramires in place of Anelka.
We made a little effort to get the second and decisive goal, when it was apparent that one isn’t going to be enough today and then Cole could have had it in the bag but he missed his chance under pressure from Coleman, after nice work from Essien and Ferreira created the opening. But in the end it would prove to be false dawn.
Everton were rewarded for their efforts in the second-half when a cross from the left by Baines found Cahill in the box and he nodded it down to Beckford to head it home. With this, the former Chelsea trainee laid a hammer blow on Chelsea’s confidence and earned Everton their sixth draw in as many games at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea were made to pay for stepping off the gas in the second-half and now sit in third place, behind Manchester United, who have a game in hand, and Arsenal. Still the boos coming in from Stamford Bridge at the end were totally uncalled for.
The Blues face all their title rivals in the coming games and have a chance to reclaim lost ground. Frank Lampard is expected to be restored to the starting line-up soon and Drogba, who is still recovering from Malaria, will only get better with time.
Carlo Ancelotti was also left disappointed with his team’s second half performance, he added; “It was not good. We didn’t win, we weren’t able to play our football. The first half was good, we went 1-0 up, but the second half was poor. We didn’t play our football we just played long ball and that isn’t our aim.”
“Sometimes we control the game but we have to make sure we don’t lose our way. We have to play always to the best level. It is difficult to understand why this happened in the second half, but it did and we have to try and find out why.”
Chelsea (4-3-3):Cech; Bosingwa (Ferreira 64), Ivanovic, Terry (c), Cole; Essien, Mikel (Sturridge 87), Malouda; Kalou, Drogba, Anelka (Ramires 77).
Scorers Drogba (pen) 41
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