Football: Chelsea need a spell in finishing school

Chelsea 3 Everton 1

"I'M STILL not happy," complained the Chelsea fan on the Underground, having just watched his side run rings around Everton. "Don't get me wrong; it's all good, fancy stuff. It's just that we need to be more ruthless. We never take anyone to Sketchley's, y'know?"

Success may have spoiled some of Chelsea's supporters but if there was a small blot on an otherwise exceptional performance from the home side, it was a reluctance to take their chances. This was a mis-match in which Chelsea might have registered double figures, but in the end were grateful for Gianfranco Zola's superb late free-kick which secured the points.

"It was a very pleasing performance, quite outstanding," Gianluca Vialli, the Chelsea player-manager, said. Despite the mathematical permutations, the title, he agreed, was now off limits. "We will get there next season," he promised, reassuringly.

Zola and Gustavo Poyet were Everton's principal tormentors, with the Uruguayan quick to push forward at any opportunity. Yet Chelsea's approach play was at times as frustrating as it was breathtaking.

To describe Everton as poor in the first half would have been an injustice as they barely touched the ball, let alone had the opportunity to give it away. Often it seemed like their white-shirted players had vanished into the crowd soaking up the afternoon sun and Chelsea accepted the opportunity to create some dazzle of their own.

The visitors had begun with three centre-halves at the heart of a five- man defence. That Zola, at 5ft 6in the joint-smallest player (along with Dennis Wise) on the field, was able to rise unmarked to head home Chelsea's opening goal pretty much summed up the effectiveness of that strategy. It was a beautifully worked move, Poyet's one-two with Graeme Le Saux releasing the Englishman, whose cross dissected Craig Short and David Unsworth as Zola stole in.

Everton reverted to 4-4-2 but could find no antidote to the dominance of Wise and Jody Morris in midfield. That it took Chelsea an hour to score their second goal was the biggest surprise. Franck Leboeuf's drive was parried by Thomas Myhre but the rebound fell straight to Zola, whose centre was met by Dan Petrescu.

It was left to Francis Jeffers, Everton's one bright note on an otherwise grim afternoon, to briefly haul his side back into the match with a powerful low shot which caught everyone off guard, not least Ed De Goey in the Chelsea goal.

Danny Cadamarteri came on to bolster the Everton attack and, with the score at 2-1, the home side had to endure a nervous 10 minutes before Zola's free-kick settled matters.

Goals: Zola (25) 1-0; Petrescu (60) 2-0; Jeffers (69) 2-1; Zola (80) 3-1.

Chelsea (4-4-2): De Goey; Ferrer, Desailly, Leboeuf (Lambourde, 71), Le Saux; Petrescu (Goldbaek, 61), Wise, Morris (Babayaro, 82), Poyet; Zola, Forssell. Substitutes not used: Flo, Hitchcock (gk).

Everton (5-3-2): Myhre; Dunne (Degn, h-t), Weir, Short, Unsworth, Ball; Hutchison, Ward (Cadamarteri, 71) Barmby; Campbell, Jeffers. Substitutes not used: Bakayoko, Phelan, Gerrard (gk).

Referee: D Gallagher (Banbury).

Bookings: Everton: Ward, Short, Hutchison,

Cadamarteri.

Man of the match: Zola.

Attendance: 34,909.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Content and PR

£35000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - Mid / Senior

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing digital agenc...

Recruitment Genius: E-commerce Partnerships Manager

£50000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a newly-created partne...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor