Chelsea’s run of form continues to look woeful as Everton heap more pressure on the champions by forcing a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge. The Toffees first half performance was a bit lacklustre, but Chelsea’s second half performance was just as sloppy and a draw seemed to be a fair result. Didier Drogba opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 41st minute while Jermain Beckford scored a late 86th minute equaliser for Everton.
John Terry returned to captain the Chelsea side, with Michael Essien also returning from suspension, sending Ramires to the bench. Otherwise, the Chelsea team was unchanged from the side that drew last week to Newcastle.
Chelsea started slowly with few chances on goal, but it seemed to be a spirited contest. Florent Malouda drew the attention of the ref after Phil Neville fouled him from behind and the French winger may have possibly attempted to slap the Everton captain. Nothing came of it and the game moved on. Chelsea’s corner taking continued to be woeful, with Malouda failing to beat the first man on many occasions.
A corner was responsible for the opening chance of the first half when Drogba’s corner took a bounce in the box and Terry’s attempt to chip Tim Howard clipped the crossbar. Moments later in the 37th minute, Salomon Kalou found himself free in the box from a corner but could only nod his chance wide of the ball.
The first bit of controversy ensued in the 40th minute as Chelsea were awarded a penalty. Neville’s poor backpass played in Nicolas Anelka and the Frenchman was brought down in the box by a charging Howard. Lee Probert awarded the penalty, however just cautioned Howard when a red card could have been issued for denying a goal scoring opportunity. Drogba dispatched the spot kick with ease and Chelsea went into the break with the lead.
The second half decidedly belonged to Everton as they looked to be the better side. Jack Rodwell nearly equalised in the 60th minute when his diving header met a Leighton Baines cross leaving Petr Cech well beaten. Luckily, the ball struck the inside of the post and bounced clear.
The final bit of controversy ensued when Tim Cahill slid in on a long ball that Cech slid to collect. The Australian appeared to leave a boot in and his stud struck the face of Cech, leaving a cut near the eye. Terry took offence to the challenge and both players went in the book. On another day, it could have resulted in a sending off.
Misery was compounded on the Blues late on as Beckford got the equaliser for the Toffees. Baines tormented Chelsea’s left side, skipping past the challenges of Essien and Paulo Ferreira. His hanging ball found Cahill, who headed across the goal for Beckford to nod for Everton’s equaliser. It was no less than they deserved, but it compounded the recent run of bad results from the Blues.
Things don’t get any easier for Chelsea with a midweek trip to Marseille in the Champions League and a visit to Tottenham on Sunday.