Chelsea vs. Everton: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction

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Chelsea vs. Everton: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction
Lefteris Pitarakis/Associated Press

Chelsea 1-0 Everton

John Terry returned to the Chelsea team to ensure the Blues would remain at the top of the Premier League this weekend.

The Stamford Bridge captain was on hand to poke home a Frank Lampard free-kick in the 93rd minute to extend the Blues' lead at the top of the table to four points, albeit for a few hours.

Immediately after the game, the strike was awarded as an own goal by Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard, before being given back to Terry.

Both Petr Cech and Howard in the Chelsea and Everton goals had produced fine saves earlier in the game to keep the match goal-less.

Terry returned to the Chelsea team after a muscle problem, while Lampard and Oscar also started for the home side.

With Romelu Lukaku ineligible to play for Everton against his parent club, Lacina Traore was set to keep his place in the team, but the on-loan Monaco forward pulled a hamstring in the warm-up, and Steven Naismith stepped up from the bench.

Howard returned in goal for Everton, and Leon Osman took over from Ross Barkley in midfield.

Willian was first to try his luck in the game after cutting inside from the left, but his fourth-minute effort flew wide of goal.

Moments later, Leighton Baines provided a dangerous ball from the left, which Terry eventually cleared after a block from Cesar Azpilicueta.

Oscar was shown a yellow card in the ninth minute for a high challenge on Naismith.

A blistering drive from Osman after a neat Naismith lay-off produced a great diving save from Cech in the 12th minute.

Gary Cahill did well to block a Kevin Mirallas strike in the 17th minute after further good play from Naismith.

Everton dominated the game as the first half progressed, but the Chelsea defence held firm to reduce any chances on goal.

Chelsea found their feet again with a spell of pressure, which saw Azpilicueta force a solid save from Howard.

But Phil Jagielka then glanced a header wide of goal from a Mirallas cross in the 34th minute as the visitors threatened again.

Samuel Eto'o finally found some space in the Everton area in the 37th minute, but Howard was equal to his shot.

Naismith was again a focal point of an Everton counter-attack in the 44th minute when James McCarthy broke clear before sending the ball out wide to the Scot, whose cross almost set up Mirallas.

A scuffed Mirallas effort struck Naismith inside the Chelsea penalty area, with the Everton striker seemingly unaware that he could turn it home.

Gareth Barry and McCarthy had been tremendous in their central midfield roles, and Jose Mourinho will have welcomed the half-time interval after Everton threatened to overrun his team.

Mourinho needed to make a change, and he brought on Ramires for the ineffective Oscar for the second period.

Lampard raised the noise from the home fans when he forced a good save from Howard at an angle before Sylvain Distin blocked his second attempt.

Eto'o claimed a handball against Jagielka, which was dismissed by referee Lee Probert, while Naismith needed to be alert to clear the danger in the 50th minute as Chelsea rediscovered the energy which had been missing in the opening 45 minutes.

Cech pulled off an excellent diving save in the 58th minute when Osman's shot took a deflection off Mirallas.

At the other end, Howard proved his worth to Everton with a phenomenal stop to deny Branislav Ivanovic from point-blank range after initially stopping an Eden Hazard strike.

Mourinho made a second switch in the 62nd minute with Willian being replaced by striker Fernando Torres.

Two minutes later, Martinez brought on Ross Barkley for Osman as he chased the three points for Everton.

Chelsea made their final substitution in the 69th minute as Andre Schurrle came on for Eto'o.

Mirallas was brought off by Martinez in the 75th minute in favour of Gerard Deulofeu. There was no doubting the Everton manager's intentions of gaining the three points now with the on-loan Barcelona man and Barkley brought into the action.

Hazard broke into the box moments later, but when the ball dropped for Torres, his snapshot was well wide of goal.

The final swap of the day came with 10 minutes remaining as Aiden McGeady came on for Steven Pienaar.

Barry was booked in the 82nd minute for a block on Ivanovic as the Chelsea man threatened to start an attack for the home side.

Schurrle had time at the back post to collect an Ivanovic cross in the 85th minute, but he snatched at the chance, and the ball flew over the crossbar.

Ramires almost claimed the points for Chelsea in the 90th minute, but his drive flashed across the Everton goal and inches wide.

In the 93rd minute, though, Chelsea sealed the points when a Lampard free-kick beat the Everton defence. Terry appeared to have poked the ball past Howard, although there was controversy at the award of the set-piece after Ramires fell under a Jagielka challenge.

It was cruel luck on Everton, who were beaten in similar fashion at Tottenham two weeks ago despite dominating the game.

But the Chelsea captain showed the desire to challenge Howard and ensure his team would remain at the top of the table this weekend.

Scott Heavey/Getty Images

 

Selected Player Ratings

John Terry: A

Chelsea needed the experience of the returning captain in the first half, with Everton dominating the game. Terry marshalled the defence well amid the pressure from the visitors and showed desire to grab the late winner for his team.

 

Steven Naismith: A

Drafted in as a very late replacement for Traore, Naismith ploughed a lone furrow up front with Everton packing their midfield. He produced a lot of excellent hold-up play and neat lay-offs for team-mates.

 

Eden Hazard: B

Hazard combined well with Willian on the left-hand side in the early stages of the game but could not get into the game for the remainder of the first half.

 

Phil Jagielka: A-

He produced some tremendous defending for Everton and almost gave his team the lead with a glancing header in the 34th minute.

 

Gareth Barry: A+

Excellent display from the Everton midfielder. Barry was an integral player in the first period. Making his loan from Manchester City permanent will be a priority for Roberto Martinez in the summer.

 

What's Ahead

Chelsea travel to Turkey for their Champions League last-16 first-leg clash with Galatasaray, where former striker Didier Drogba will be among the opposition ranks on Wednesday.

Everton play host to West Ham United in the Premier League next Saturday.

 

Post-Match Reaction

Everton manager Roberto Martinez:

 

 

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho:  

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