Torment for Terry as Chelsea fall
Former England captain found wanting as Everton’s Saha scores twice to see off leaders
Thursday 11 February 2010
Chelsea's lead at the top of the Premier League was cut to a single point last night as John Terry showed the first signs of his personal troubles affecting him on a night when Everton's Louis Saha reduced him to a shadow and scored twice.
Carlo Ancelotti did not appear for a post-match press conference but his assistant Ray Wilkins indicated that the Italian will allow Terry to miss Saturday's FA Cup fifth round tie at Cardiff, to rebuild his private life. "Carlo's giving him a bit of time. They've had a little chat, John and Carlo, and decided that will be best for all concerned," Wilkins said.
Ancelotti could at least reflect on Manchester United's failure to move ahead of his side. The champions' 1-1 draw at Villa Park, which came after Nani was sent off in the first half, leaves the title race on a knife edge. But the Chelsea manager will not want to see a repeat performance from his captain. Terry's night reached its nadir when he allowed Sylvain Distin's high 75th-minute ball to sail over his head for Saha to claim his 15th goal of the season. Saha also escaped Terry for his first half goal.
Wilkins rejected suggestions that Terry might have been affected by the events of the past two weeks. "Not at all," he said. "You've got to give Louis Saha a bit of credit there. John got under the ball for the second one and probably thought Saha was going over the top of him to win it. If it's a mistake then I'm sure it's the slightest of blips."
Wilkins acknowledged that Saha's first goal, which cancelled out Florent Malouda's 17th minute strike, bore out Chelsea's struggles to defend setpieces. "It's a shame isn't it?" he said. "A shame – a lack of concentration. It was a good delivery, a good header and from that perspective we are very disappointed. It's a very exciting Premier League. That's what we wanted. And we still find ourselves at the top of it despite what's happened here today."
It was David Moyes first win against Chelsea in 23 games and the Everton manager acknowledged that Saha, who missed a first-half penalty, ought to have left the field with double his goal tally on the night. "He should have got four goals, not two," said the Everton manager. "I gave him a slight pat on the back but not a full one," he added, alluding to the injury-prone nature of a player who was allowed to leave Old Trafford 18 months ago because Manchester United could not rely on the fitness of a player the fanzines came to call "balsa man".
"John Terry is a top central defender," Moyes quickly added, "and if they don't want him we'll have him."
Moyes also had the satisfaction of seeing Landon Donovan frequently get the better of Ashley Cole, who limped off with an ankle injury which Chelsea do not fear is too severe. Moyes does not believe he can keep Donovan beyond his 10-week loan period, the Californian having signed a new contract binding him to LA Galaxy when the Major League Soccer season starts. Everton's success reflects the form of a side who have only lost twice in the league since the 3-2 defeat at Hull in late November.
Sir Alex Ferguson described the tackle by Nani on Stiliyan Petrov that saw the Portuguese winger sent off as "naive". "He has gone in double-footed and you can't do that," the United manager said. "It was a naive tackle. He has left the referee with no other option [but to send him off]." In the title race, however, Ferguson said United had "gained". He said "With Everton winning, we gained one point and one goal. It could be important."
Latest in Sport
WrestleMania 31: What time does it start? Full match card and preview ahead of WWE event
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
Gareth Bale to Chelsea: Real Madrid to be 'tempted by £75m offer' this summer
Manchester United transfer news: Chris Smalling and Phil Jones face uncertain future with contract renewal talks on hold
Malaysia Grand Prix 2015 LIVE: Sebastian Vettel wins in just his second race with Ferrari with Lewis Hamilton second and Nico Rosberg third
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
- 3 Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew