Match Report: Chelsea 3 – Everton 1
Daniel Sturridge, John Terry making his 350th appearance for Chelsea and Ramires extended our run of home Premier League victories to four cruising with a 3-1 win over Everton.
With Fernando Torres serving the second of his three-game bans after being sent off against Swansea, Didier Drogba started up-front with Sturridge and Juan Mata on either side of him.
For the visitors, unchanged from their loss to Liverpool, Louis Saha and Jack Rodwell both made appearances for the Toffees, with Phil Jagielka at centre-half.
The first real chance fell to Everton and Saha after 10 minutes. Fed through by a pass from Leon Osman down the left, the striker ducked inside and shot with his less-favoured right foot which took Petr Cech a couple of attempts to gather.
We maintained overwhelming possession and on the half-hour mark got our reward when Mata lifted the ball over Tony Hibbert at right-back, into the path of Ashley Cole, who delivered towards the far post, where the in-form Sturridge ran in to meet it with a simple header.
The opener brought about a slight revival from Everton but neither team was able to trouble a goalkeeper until right at the end of the first half.
Seamus Coleman brought down Ashley Cole on the far left, and Frank Lampard swung in the resultant free-kick deep into the penalty area. John Terry took advantage of Tim Howard’s indecision to nod home the second for us sealing a comfortable lead.
Just seconds after the break Osman came close with a shot that glanced off the outside edge of the post as it flew past Cech. He tried again 10 minutes later, but this time his longer-range shot was too high.
We killed off the match when Mata burst down the left, having been supplied by Didier Drogba, and sliced through a great pinpoint pass into the path of the onrushing Ramires, who made no mistake.
However, only moments after his strike, the Brazilian was forced to limp off with an apparent knee injury.
The third goal appeared to have taken the fight out of David Moyes’ men, with proceedings appearing to completely peter out, until Apostolos Vellios was brought on for Louis Saha with 10 minutes to go.
Immediately, Royston Drenthe found the ball on the left flank and whipped it in, where Vellios slid in to finish with his first touch of the game, having been on the pitch for just 18 seconds.
It proved to be only a consolation for Everton. Frank Lampard might have grabbed a fourth but his rifled injury-time shot from the edge of the area flew straight at Howard.
This was our first home league win at Stamford Bridge against Everton since April 2006 and takes us to third place in the Premiership table one point behind Manchester United and three adrift of Manchester City.
Our next match is against Genk in the Champions League at the Bridge on Wednesday, before a short trip to QPR next weekend.
Gill Reeves – CSG disabled rep.
03 Cole – yellow card
07 Ramires (Malouda 65)
12 Mikel (Romeu 76)
10 Mata (Anelka 76)
23 Sturridge – yellow card
03 Baines – yellow card
23 Coleman (Drenthe 61)
17 Cahill (Neville 72)
25 Fellaini – yellow card
08 Saha (Vellios 80)