EPL Results: Last-Gasp Own Goal Gives Chelsea Dramatic Victory over Everton
By Deepak Vikraman | February 23, 2014 2:01 AM EST
A draw it seemed like for 92 minutes, with Arsenal and Manchester City purring in delight at the potential to go above Chelsea when they kick off later on.
However, a freekick from Frank Lampard was swung in right at the death, with John Terry making a move for the ball and catching Tim Howard off guard, with the ball deciding to deflect off the Everton goalkeeper and nestle into the back of the net.
A 1-0 victory in the English Premier League was sealed with that goal, wiping the smiles off Everton, Arsenal, City and Liverpool in one fell swoop, and keeping Chelsea top of the table, with an extended lead of four points from their London rivals.
Lacina Traore picked up an injury during the warm-up, forcing Roberto Martinez to draft in Steven Naismith up front, with Romelu Lukaku ineligible to take part against his parent club.
The match took a while to ignite - 45 minutes and the halftime break to be exact - with Chelsea pressing, probing, forcing, and pushing to get that elusive goal.
Prior to that, Everton were the better side in the first half, with a few cute one-touch moves opening up a couple of opportunities for the away side.
Leon Osman tested Petr Cech with a strike from distance, while Eden Hazard and Samuel Eto'o did the same from the other end.
Everton had the majority of the possession, but when it came to creating and indeed putting the chances away, they kept falling short.
Knowing his side needed to improve in the second half if Chelsea were to extend their lead at the top, Jose Mourinho brought on Ramires for fellow Brazilian Oscar in the second half, and the home side cranked up a gear right from the off.
Frank Lampard would feel he should have scored, when he was put through on goal, with the England midfielder forcing a decent save from Howard, before the rebound was blocked well by Phil Jagielka, who along with Sylvain Distin shut out Chelsea for pretty much the entire game, barring the goal.
Osman, try as he might, just could not get his goal, as a low strike, which took a deflection of his own player - Kevin Mirallas - on the way was brilliantly kept out by Petr Cech.
Both sides pressed forward, with Everton looking good in possession, while Chelsea seemed like the more likely team to score.
Having said that, however, it did seem like the match was petering out to a draw, before with a little over five minutes remaining, Everton, now happy to take home a point, kept pushing back allowing Chelsea to pile on the pressure.
Ramires whistled a fantastic long-ranger inches wide, before the Brazilian won a soft freekick off Jagielka.
Lampard is one of the best deliverers of the ball, and the midfielder swung in a wicked cross, with Howard, under pressure from John Terry, deflecting the ball with his hands into his own goal.
The stoppage time goal was a massive one for Chelsea, and could yet prove to be decisive in the title chase. All the pressure is on Arsenal and Manchester City now to ensure they come away from their respective home games with nothing less than three points.
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