Football: Zola's showing offers hope

Chelsea 3 Everton 1 Zola 25, 81, Petrescu 60 Jeffers 69 Half-time: 1-0 Attendance: 34,909

CHELSEA kept alive their faint hopes of Premiership glory, thanks mainly to Gianfranco Zola, whose two goals merely underlined their supremacy.

Reports of Everton's better health seem exaggerated. They rarely threatened and are still not mathematically clear of the threat of relegation.

Following three successive draws which, according to their manager Gianluca Vialli, had put them out of the running for the title, Chelsea were due a crowd-lifting performance. Using their "terrier squad" of the diminutive Zola, Dennis Wise and Jody Morris as the fulcrum, Chelsea dominated the midfield and overran the Everton defence in a one-sided opening 45 minutes.

With Tore Andre Flo given a place on the bench after his midweek two- goal performance for Norway, the red-headed Mikael Forssell was given a chance up front and he profited from the stream of openings provided by his midfield.

Forssell caught Craig Short in possession early on to put Everton in deep trouble but Zola overran the ball as he closed in for a shot. Within a minute the Italian conjured a Wise pass on to his left foot and bent it just wide. With all the space he needed, Graeme Le Saux was foraging away down the left to get in crosses, though he tended to put too much welly into the efforts. But one run, set in motion by Zola's canny ball, saw Le Saux's centre reach Wise, whose shot was deflected by an Everton boot out of the reach of Thomas Mhyre but over the bar.

Then, with Everton pulling everybody back to the barricades, Zola netted but the linesman's flag was raised for offside. Then Gustavo Poyet's header glanced wide from an Albert Ferrer cross as Chelsea gained a succession of corners.

The inevitable goal arrived in the 25th minute, started by Le Saux's rampaging. The full-back exchanged passes with Forssell before making ground down the left. This time the cross was perfectly flighted for Zola to lift his total of goals for the season to 14 with a downward header.

It should have been 2-0 a couple of minutes later. Great work by Morris allowed Wise to slide a glorious through-ball to Dan Petrescu who delayed his effort long enough to permit Mhyre to make a smothering save.

Everton belatedly cheered their raucous following when the captain, Don Hutchison, found Francis Jeffers but the cross-shot was poorly directed.

However, Everton ended the half under siege, with Richard Dunne's crucial intervention blocking Zola and then David Weir heading away from his own line.

Chelsea picked up after the interval where they had left off and Petrescu was guilty of another miss when Zola's cross found him alone in front of goal but his attempt at a header failed to connect. Proof that Chelsea, despite their domination, could not afford to cast away chances was forthcoming when Jeffers found space for a shot which flew narrowly wide of De Goey's right-hand upright.

But the security Chelsea sought became available just after the hour. Franck Leboeuf strode through from the midfield and let fly with a drive so powerful Mhyre was glad to beat it away.

Unfortunately for the Everton keeper the ball rolled only as far as Zola. The Italian returned it into the goal area where Petrescu, at full stretch, this time managed to make a connection. In fact, Petrescu overstretched, and was withdrawn at once with what looked like a groin strain, to be replaced by Bjarne Goldbaek.

With 20 minutes left Jeffers lifted his side's hopes of the point. He was allowed to run through from virtually the halfway line and drove a left-foot shot low which left De Goey stranded.

Chelsea moved up a gear. Forssell allowed Myhre time to block after an enterprising run had carried him clear, then Unsworth saved Everton with a fine blocking tackle as the substitute Bernard Lambourde came storming through.

But there was no halting Chelsea. Another free-kick was won and this time Zola took it, striking it sweetly into the top left-hand corner of Mhyre's net.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Recruitment Genius: Business Support Administrator - Part Time

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the South West'...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - OTE £40,000

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An expanding business based in ...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales - Business Broker - Scotland

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As an award winning and leading...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales - Business Broker - North East Region

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As an award winning and leading...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas