Grant silence speaks volumes as Mikel gets marching orders

Chelsea's manager Avram Grant, determined to make no comment about the 54th minute sending-off of Jon Obi Mikel which threatened to tip last night's Carling Cup semi-final first leg in Everton's favour, nevertheless managed to clearly convey his opinion. Which was that Mikel should not have been sent off.

The precocious and powerful young Nigerian has now seen a red card four times in the last 16 months, but Grant was certainly not in the mood to acknowledge any lingering flaw in the make-up of the player that Chelsea managed to grab from the eager clutches of Manchester United. The challenge on Phil Neville which prompted referee Peter Walton to despatch Mikel to the sidelines was certainly wild, and the upturned foot which connected glancingly with the defender's shin was clearly not on a parabola to intercept the ball. But it was not that dread aberration of the moment, a two-footed tackle. And Grant, through gritted teeth, swiftly set it in context.

"I will not speak of the red card," Grant spoke. "But if it was a red card, many players who were given yellow cards should have had a red card too. I will not speak about it. I don't say that I have nothing to say about it. I have a lot of things to say about it."

The point, however, was already made. That said, some of the worst challenges elsewhere in a hectic and fractious affair were inflicted by men in the blue of Chelsea, notably Jose Carvalho, sent off against Aston Villa for a two-footed tackle, who attempted to cut James McFadden in half with a scissor tackle that was still insufficient to prevent the Scotsman rampaging through for a shot that skimmed the wrong side of the post rather than putting the visitors 2-1 up.

Steve Sidwell, brought on for the enterprising Joe Cole soon after Mikel's dismissal, also put himself on the role of dishonour with what looked like an attempt at arthroscopic surgery on Lee Carsley's knee.

For a manager who had just seen his 10-man team resist Everton's urgent efforts to profit before claiming victory with an unlikely header by Sean Wright-Phillips in injury time, Grant seemed unduly fractious. His mood did not improve when he was asked about his left back Ashley Cole, replaced as captain midway through Saturday's laboured FA Cup win over QPR, who was passed over in favour of fellow international Wayne Bridge for the third time in four matches. Cole, apparently, is fit. Who knows what all that betokens in the January transfer window.

Meanwhile Grant reiterated the club's continuing interest in signing Nicolas Anelka from Bolton despite having had their first bid of 11m turned down. The Frenchman is doing all he can to oil the wheels, re-stating his desire to move to Stamford Bridge yesterday. "We wanted to get Nicolas for this match," Grant said. "I hope it will be for Saturday's match against Tottenham. If not we will continue to do what we are doing with the players we have."

With Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou already on duty in preparation for the African Nations Cup, and with Andrei Shevchenko injured again, Chelsea looked clearly lacking up front last night as they put their limited faith in Claudio Pizzaro.

Two words came to mind while watching the Peruvian gangling, and nearly. He missed what would have been a dramatic opportunity to claim the match for Chelsea when Wright-Phillips sent him clean through just four minutes after Mikel had been sent off, producing a weak shot that was easily held by Tim Howard. In the end it fell to the indefatigable Wright-Phillips to deliver the result that most of a raucous full house desired.

Everton's manager, David Moyes, felt afterwards that the tiny winger might have used a little illegal assistance to beat Joleon Lescott, switched from central defence to left back, at the far post for the winning goal. "We just thought there might have been a case that Wright-Phillips was holding Joleon down for the goal," Moyes said.

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
News
Robyn Lawley
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Arts and Entertainment
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint)
newsBloomsbury unveils new covers for JK Rowling's wizarding series
News
scienceScientists try to explain the moon's funny shape
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
As Loki in The Avengers (2012)
filmRead Tom Hiddleston's email to Joss Whedon on prospect of playing Loki
Voices
voices In defence of the charcoal-furred feline, by Felicity Morse
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star