Frank Lampard’s 191st and 192nd goals for Chelsea were enough to clinch a narrow 2-1 victory over Everton in Sunday’s early kick-off.
Lampard served a timely reminder of just why it would be ridiculous to release him and things would have been a whole lot different without Lampard’s brace.
Last season when Chelsea visited Goodison Park, under AVB, Chelsea produced one of their worst performances for a very, very long time. The start of this game seemed to be a hangover from last year’s tie and in all honesty for the first 20 minutes Chelsea looked absolutely clueless, even 5 yard passes were going astray. Steven Pienaar scored Everton’s first last year and he repeated the feat by scoring the opener when Victor Anichebe’s header rebounded from the post after Phil Jagielka’s cross. The move came from Eden Hazard giving away the ball very cheaply, the last few games he really hasn’t justified a £32million price tag.
From then on it was backs against the wall for the next 20 minutes. The resulting freekick from Gary Cahill’s foul on Pienaar saw Jelavic hit the post with Petr Cech well beaten and shortly after Leon Osman went close from just inside the box.
The rest of the half saw Chelsea finally starting to play their own game. Mata, Lampard and David Luiz started to find the bursting runs of Ramires and pressure slowly start to build. Then, just before half time, an in swinging cross from Ramires found the head of Lampard who nodded home and Chelsea were level.
The second half began as a much cagier affair. Both teams looked to have goals in them and when Cech was replaced by Ross Turnbull at halftime due to injury, you would have probably said Everton would be the most likely. Thankfully, Turnbull only seems to make mistakes when he plays 90minutes.
Half way into the second half a great cross from Leighton Baines found Jelavic whose thundering header cannoned off the crossbar, it was one of those where you’re surprised it hasn’t gone in after such a great effort.
A second glance was also needed for Chelsea’s winner after Lampard rifled home from 6 yards, except this look was only to the linesman. A neat chip from Mata resulted in Hazard’s knockdown being only partially cleared and finding the feet of Lampard. Has there ever been any other player who has had ‘sign him up’ sung so passionately about him?
Jelavic missed a golden opportunity in extra time scuffing the ball into the ground from 6 yards but that was only after Sylvian Disitin had stopped Torres putting the game beyond doubt at the other end with a vital block.
Bar the first 20 minutes, it was a good performance. Lampard and Luiz’s contributions were outstanding, constantly winning the ball and finding decent passes into advanced positions. 3 straight wins now and encouraging performances are certainly something to be built on and supported, even if they are under Rafa.