Chelsea fail to counter Saha’s strength as striker runs riot

Everton 2 Chelsea 1

As the tidal flood of abuse against him gave way to intermittent waves, the best crack Merseyside could dredge up for John Terry last night was "same old Terry, always cheating."

By the end of the night that is precisely what he was reduced to – desperately blocking Louis Saha from racing into a counter attack which would have sealed his misery and Chelsea's. Not for the first time in the past two weeks, it was a French connection which proved his ruination.

Chelsea always knew they had something to fear in Saha, a player who now has two more goals against Chelsea to go with the fastest strike in an FA Cup final last summer and the finish which ruined Carlo Ancelotti's 100 per cent home record in December – a game in which his contribution was immense. But rarely in the course of his Chelsea career has Terry been pulled this way and that quite like this.

The winning goal was only a part of it – Terry misjudging the flight of Sylvain Distin's left-footed strike out of defence which sailed over his head. One neat piece of chest control later the Frenchman was crashing a swerving shot just beyond Cech's right hand. There was also the ghostly omen of all this, a mirror image first-half miscalculation which set Saha free in the box and required Ricardo Carvalho to tidy up. And then the vacant air which allowed Saha to step up ahead of him and calmly head home Landon Donovan's first half corner. By the end of the night Terry wore the same red face you feel has accompanied him through some of his recent private reflections, only this time it was the one pinched by the bitter cold and the sheer, relentless effort of chasing shadows.

In fairness, he was only part of Chelsea's struggles. The side really do not care much for North-west England – their season's two league defeats have occurred here – and the same malaise which affected them at Wigan and Manchester City contributed to the sense that they really are fallible outside of west London. Ancelotti's side have won only once away from home since November in the league but this failure was the most curious of all, considering the smooth sublimity of the first 20 minutes in which they looked on a different level. The 33rd minute goal was one of basic ingredients; a long punt from Petr Cech which Drogba escaped Mike Arteta to nod on for Florent Malouda who raced ahead of Phil Neville to finish impressively and left footed to Tim Howard's left. But the general impression Chelsea offered was of a side capable of the neat and "positive philosophy" in their football which Arsène Wenger has suggested is Arsenal's preserve.

Predictability was the attribute Michael Ballack found in Arsenal last Sunday, much to Wenger's indignation, but it is a pejorative term equally appropriate for Chelsea's record at set pieces and Saha's first goal bore that out. As the goal punctured Chelsea, so it inflated Everton. Or as Moyes so memorably put it later: "When we got to one-each everybody in the ground grew."

The analysis applied most to Donovan. With his side level, he immediately clipped in a ball which Saha might have buried had not his heavy first touch allowed Cech to save with his left foot. Carvalho's own left foot was less trusty as the Californian took a Tim Cahill pass and cut inside him seconds later, inviting the faintest clip. Saha's left footed penalty was at a comfortable height for Cech.

Moyes admitted later that there was a slighted haunted air on the Everton bench as they mused on what the opportunity the might have spurned but his analysis of that late first half period was accurate, too. "We smothered them."

Chelsea's haunted look was never to leave them in the face of Everton's invention after the interval. Cech touched over the bar a ball Diniyar Bilyaletdinov floated from the left and the sense of siege intensified when Terry appeared to have handled a ball Donovan lifted towards the Chelsea box on the counter attack. It actually hit the defender's face. Desperate for more momentum, Ancelotti threw on Ballack, rather than a defender, when Cole injured his ankle in a challenge with Donovan and limped off.

Chelsea responded immediately after the decisive second goal came – Lampard's corner reached Drogba who thumped a header against the bar – but Terry placed the rebound high and wide, which seemed to be a metaphor for his night. The welcome Everton had for him here included a prescient advert in the match programme for local sexual health clinics ("love is infectious") which many fans chuckled over last night. There was no fun for Terry. He needs that weekend off and has another good reason to put France from his mind.

Everton (4-4-1-1): Howard; Neville, Heitinga, Distin, Baines; Donovan, Arteta (Rodwell, 74), Osman, Bilyaletdinov (Gosling, 86); Cahill; Saha (Senderos, 90). Substitutes not used: Nash (gk), Vaughan, Yakubu, Coleman

Chelsea (4-1-3-2) Cech; Ivanovic, Carvalho, Terry, A Cole (Ballack, 57); Mikel; Lampard, Malouda, Zhirkov; Anelka (Kalou, 67), Drogba. Substitutes not used: Hilario, Ferreira, Sturridge, Matic, Bruma

Referee: A Wiley (Staffordshire)

Booked: Everton Donovan; Chelsea Mikel, Malouda.

Man of the match: Donovan.

Attendance: 36,411.

Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Sport
world cup 2014
Sport
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
Sport
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
News
business
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice