Chelsea ran out comfortable 3-1 winners over Everton at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Daniel Sturridge, John Terry and Ramires scored for Chelsea, while Apostos Vellios scored a late consolation goal for the Toffees.
Everton acquitted themselves well in the early stages, but the match turned on two soft Chelsea goals before half-time. Daniel Sturridge and John Terry were the benefactors for Chelsea as they were left to head home after bad defending. Ramires’ 61st minute goal killed the match as a contest, while Vellios’ instant impact as a substitution only offered Everton brief respite.
The opening half an hour was evenly contested, but neither side managed to create a meaningful opportunity. Chelsea had some decent interplay outside the box, but the Blues lacked any penetration to their play for the majority of the first half.
Meanwhile, Drogba could have been more alert when he turned his marker in the box, but Jagielka responded well and dispossessed the Ivorian. Ramires also shot well over after Frank Lampard had won the ball on the edge of the Everton box.
Everton did a good job of closing down Chelsea players and limiting their attacking options in the opening half an hour. The Toffees also had a couple of chances. Luis Saha turned inside on the left edge of the Chelsea box, but his shot went straight at Petr Cech.
Leighton Baines then found Marouane Fellaini alone in the box in the 21st minute. Mikel did well to tackle the Belgian and force the ball out for a corner.
Daniel Sturridge opened the scoring for Chelsea in the 31st minute after a lapse in concentration from the whole Everton defence. Juan Mata played a beautiful chipped pass over the top of the Everton defence to Ashley Cole. The left back hurriedly crossed to the back post and Sturridge headed into an empty net.
Chelsea delivered a hammer blow to Everton as John Terry made it 2-0 just before half-time after some questionable goalkeeping from Tim Howard. Frank Lampard took a free kick from the left wing. Howard came out and tries to collect the ball but got lost in the crowd and could only flap at the ball. Terry rose above his marker and headed home from six yards.
Everton came out in the second half with renewed vigour and almost got a goal back within 20 seconds. The ball was worked to Leon Osman at the edge of the Chelsea box. The Everton midfielder hit a beautiful first time shot, which curled before striking the outside of the right hand post and going wide. Osman also shot wide from distance 12 minutes after the interval.
Chelsea quickly regained control of the match, however, and the Pensioners moved into a 3-0 lead in the 61st minute. Didier Drogba played in Juan Mata, who had run behind the Everton defence. The Spaniard squared to Ramires, who slid in between two defenders and finished into an empty net.
Ramires’ day ended disappointingly as he was forced off through injury in the 65th minute. It was a shame as Ramires was one of Chelsea’s best performers, alongside the sublime Juan Mata, on the day.
Chelsea were in exhibition mode from that point and played some skilful football, although the moves rarely paid off.
It was Everton who scored the final goal of the match, however. Apostos Vellios replaced Luis Saha and scored within a minute. A long pass was headed on by Marouane Fellaini and landed at the feet of another substitute, Royston Drenthe. The winger crossed along the ground and a sliding Vellios finished past Petr Cech.
The last chance of the game fell to Lampard in injury time. The ball was hit forward to Didier Drogba after good build-up play from Chelsea. The Ivorian chested the ball down to Frank Lampard on the edge of the box. The English midfielder struck a shot on the half-volley, which went straight at Tim Howard, who made a decent save.
The win leaves Chelsea in third place, three points behind Manchester City and a mere point behind Manchester united. Everton fall to 15th and are only two points above the relegation places.