The score line makes it seem like another lacklustre Chelsea performance with yet another new combination of players, but we could have won 6-1 if we had taken just our easy chances and had a dash of luck.
Adrian Mutu, who is going through another woeful spell, had three clear headed chances and took them like a particularly poor Sunday league player. Lampard twice hit the woodwork and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink managed to knee the ball wide of an open goal with minutes left.
Everton were there for the taking, especially after half time when they clearly decided to settle for a draw and failed to mount any attack worthy of the name.
The first half was entertaining with good chances at both ends, the best of which fell to Wayne Rooney who had Ambrosio at his mercy after a free kick pinged around the Chelsea penalty area. With the entire goal to shoot at, he fired the ball too close to Ambrosio who was able to stick out a leg to clear. Ambrosio also had to be quick later when Robert Huth inexplicably allowed a slow through ball to get by him, forcing the keeper to charge down Rooney’s free shot.
Most of the action was at the Everton end where Geremi looked impressive on the right until it came time to cross. But his corners were pinpoint and twice Mutu had free headers from the edge of the six-yard box, the first time heading over, the second weakly into the ground and wide.
One beautiful movement saw Lampard turn on the edge of the area and fire the ball against the bar with Nigel Martyn watching anxiously.
JFH was showing the benefits of missing a game and fired over once and had another long shot pushed away by Martyn.
No goals at the half, but plenty of action, not for William Gallas, however, who was replaced by Melchiot after 25 minutes. He walked off without obvious sign of injury, but with Monaco three days away you have to worry whether he’ll be ready.
The second half was a different story with Everton sitting back and making no pretence of aiming for anything other than a point. For long spells, we lost our way with Geremi now finding yellow shirts with almost every pass and Joe Cole running around to no effect.
For once, the surly crowd was looking for substitutions and Ranieri was holding his fire. Gronkjaer started to warm up and was greeted with loud cheers. He must have wondered if he had the wrong number on.
Finally, with 11 minutes to go, Gronk came on for Cole and Filipe Oliveira replaced Scott Parker to loud boos for the decision to replace the ex-Charlton man. The changes had their effect and blue waves crashed forward on the Everton goal with Oliveria particularly prominent on the right wing. Lampard twisted and turned on the edge of the area and fired a left-foot shot that beat Martin but rebounded from the inside of the right-hand post just past the foot of JFH. Then JFH turned and put over a beautiful short cross to an unmarked Mutu in front of goal. Mutu horribly put his header wide.
There was yet another great chance when Oliveira crossed from the right and the ball bounced off JFH’s left knee and wide of the open goal.
How the game remained scoreless, I don’t know. But it did and it will not help Ranieri’s position, although we all know Monaco on Tuesday is the only game that really counts at the moment. And the watching Didier Deschamps, manager of Monaco, will have got little clues from this game since as many as half the players his team will face were not on the park today.