Chelsea 1-0 Everton: Match Reaction

Match Summary

Chelsea hold on to top spot of the Premier League for at least another week after a last-gasp John Terry goal secured the Blues all three points.

It was a stoppage-time free-kick by Frank Lampard that unsettled the Everton back-line, and for a man supposedly losing his pace, John Terry reacted admirably to poke the ball home before Tim Howard or any other Everton defender could get there.

The goal was greeted by a huge sense of relief amongst the home faithful, who knew full well that dropped points here would give Arsenal and Manchester City, with their game in hand, the chance to over-take them just a few hours later.

And for large parts of the match, it looked as though Everton would go home with at least a point in the bag.

But that just highlighted the importance of the returning John Terry for Chelsea. The Chelsea captain has missed three games with injury and his authority, leadership and occasional goal-scoring ability was most definitely needed by Chelsea this afternoon.

Osman tested Cech early in the first half, whilst Cahill was in the right place at the right time to deny Mirallas. It was the latter who had perhaps the best chance of the half in a later situation, totally miscuing his shot when in a fantastic position.

The urgency was increased by Mourinho in the second half. Ramires entered the fray, so too Torres, playing alongside Eto’o. The two-striker combination was only a seven-minute test, however, as Mourinho made his third substitution — Schurrle coming on for Eto’o — by the 69th minute.

Matic covered the Chelsea back-line effectively and as the game wore on, so too did Everton sit deeper and deeper into their own half. Ivanovic had an effort, whilst fancy footwork by Hazard saw the ball reach Torres, who returned the favour by planting the ball right into Hazard’s backside. The Spaniard had a later shot which had more chance of hitting Row Z than the back of the net.

But the old guard were on hand to rescue Chelsea once more. The pressure had cranked up a notch and Jagielka’s foul looked ominous for the Toffees. Frank Lampard delivered his free-kick with venom from the left wing, and John Terry was quickest to react to stab it home.

Man of the Match

TerryJOHN TERRY: Not only was he heroic for his stoppage-time winner, the 33-year-old was as solid as a rock at the back, reading the game well and dictating play. In a match where both teams were defensively very resolute — Terry and Cahill for Chelsea and Distin and Jagielka for Everton — it was fine, fine margins that would separate these two sides. The professional relationship between Terry and Lampard clearly is telepathic after all these years, and where most were expecting a John Terry header, he raced to the ball with his feet effectively to knock out Everton. Chelsea have missed him. 8/10

Manager Reaction

Mourinho was relieved to see his side not slip up: “It was a very difficult match. We had a very good start: in the first 20 minutes, we were in control and had a few good chances. For the rest of the first half Everton were in control. I feel sorry for Everton because maybe a point would have been fair.”

Martinez was full of praise for his men: “Today was a big moment for us to understand where we are as a team. We were magnificent. We defended really well but for the goal, John Terry was brave and threw himself at it and got the goal.”

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