Everton were outstanding for long spells of this game, dominating the first half hour and for 15 minutes of the second half but Chelsea again proved their resilience, Lampard his cleverness and opportunism, to win. If Jelavic had equalised at the death it would have been a fair reflection of the ebb and flow of a most enjoyable game. If I wasn't so tribal I'd pay to watch either side play. Thanks for your emails. Happy new year. Bye … and please join Ian McCourt for QPR v Liverpool if you can.
Full time: Everton 1-2 Chelsea
Benítez's record now: P 11, W 7, D 2, L 2 F 29, A 9.
90 min+ 3: Oh Nikica! Not an easy chance on the half-volley eight yards out on the left of the box from Baines's cross but he air-kicked it, missing completely with his shot but the ball bounced off his standing leg instead.
90 min +1 : Chelsea break to make a three v two, Torres shifting it to the right of the penalty area to shoot and Distin makes a vinatge Radebe sliding tackle to rob him. What a memorable performance he's given today.
90 min: Oviedo's cross from the left beats everyone, including Turnbull, straight across goal and no one is there to finish it.
89 min: Vellios and Barkley work space and roll it to Heitinga joining the attack who clips his intended defence splitting pass straight to Cahill who boots it clear.
87 min: Everton understandably are gambling to protect their unbeaten home record this season, allowing Oscar and Torres to win successive corners, Oscar clipping a curling shot wide from the short corner from the last one.
86 min: Cole is booked for timewasting.
84 min: Mata off, Oscar on. More tiresome Baines v Cole guff," writes Matt Dony. "Although, yes, I would much sooner have Baines than Cole, Gary Naylor's statistics re: assists doesn't take into account the fact that Cole has played in some very creative teams with big flair players, whereas Baines has often been one of the few players Everton have to rely on for creativity. They play in the same position, but with very different responsibilities." OK, Nish v Cooper? Pejic v Lindsay?
83 min: Neat work from Barkley wins the ball in midfield and he turns cleverly away from Luiz and sprays a pass out to the left but Azpilicuta steps up and stifles Baines' progress up that wing.
Oviedo on for Pienaar
80 min: "I can think of more foolish things Chelsea could do than release a 34-year-old on massive wages," writes Ben Stanley. Too true, Ben. But is he worth another year? I think he is. Will you find a replacement for significantly lower wages, I doubt it. Would he improve one of your rivals if he joined them? I think he would.
The Hammer off, replaced by Ross Barkley.
77 min: They look as though they've gone 4-3-3 now Everton with Anichebe still up the left and the Greek fella up the right. Chelsea break quickly from an Everton throw but Distin, as imperious as he has been all game, beats Moses to the pass and shepherds it out.
Naismith off, Vellios on.
75 min: A Chelsea banner in the crowd reads: "Dear Abramovitsch (sic) please don't let him go. Super Frank 8." It would be a foolish thing to do, no?
Eden Hazard off, Victor Moses on.
Right place again after good work from Mata to set up the cross for Hazard to knock back across goal and Lampard seemingly shinned it high into the net.
GOAL!! Everton 1-2 Chelsea
69 min: Wow. Just as Chelsea seem to have wrested the upper hand, Osman wriggles through the middle, spots a gap between Cahill and Cole and spears a low shot that Turnbull parries away. Everton work it back up the left, Baines chipping a glorious near-post cross that Jelavic cranes his neck to head over Turnbull and … flush on the bar.
66 min: Excellent combination from Cole, having intercepted a pass to Naismith, and Hazard lets the Belgian go on a mazy run across and up the field from the left before tapping it to Mata, who pushes it to his left to give him the space to wrap his foot around it but Everton again mass in the middle and block. A few seconds later Torres works an opening on his right with a half-turn and shimmy, clipping a shot the excellent Howard turns away.
64 min: Huge up and under from Everton, which spirals in the wind. As it fell Jelavic rather got in Naismith's way but it would have taken a Berbabtov, or rather the Berbatov, to kill such a swirler on his instep. Turnbull raced out and complicated matters for the two anyway and swiped it away.
62 min: Everton corner after they had a free-kick on the edge of the area, 90 degrees to goal when Baines was fouled. In comes the cross and Turnbull catches the flick, the crowd suggesting that he'd stepped back over the line … but he hadn't.
60 min: Chris Ross asks: "Firstly, can you provide a phonetic spelling of your surname, please? I'd hate to be mispronouncing it in my head." Err. That's the cause of much discussion in West Bengal and West Yorkshire. I go for two syllables Bag and Chi. Say what you see. And "was it just my white with pale blue sash tinted specs, or was Frank Lampard rather good in that first half?" He was rather good, but then he's an outstanding player who deserves a year's extension on his contract.
58 min: Turnbull races out to the 18-yard line to punch away Distin's long, lofted pass to Anichebe, but it comes back towards the Chelsea goal and Jelavic is ruled offside when he looked to have timed his run perfectly to have a one-on-one.
56 min: Now it's Chelsea who look devastating on the counter, Torres being caught offside but demanding a fine save from Howard before the referee spotted the linesman's flag.
54 min: Almost the assist of the season from David Luiz, stroking a chipped pass over the heads of Distin and Heitinga right into the path of Torres's run but the centre-forward couldn't time his volley and connected poorly.
52 min: Ooh, aah. That's the crowd as Pienaar tries to work space on the left before Lampard clears. Anichebe again makes problems for Azpilicueta who bounces off him when the forward spins to cut past him.
50 min: Baines is back on with a new shirt and his pace makes Chelsea hurry their distribution from a free-kick just inside the Everton half. The visitors win a corner but are forced backwards by pressure from Jelavic and Anichebe when trying to rework it from halfway, and Turnbull boots it out of play.
48 min: Cahill clotheslines Baines who had slipped the ball inside him and was motoring infield to link up with Pienaar. When Baines gets up he's got a hole in the back of his shirt and a livid stud scar on his back. Cahill gets a yellow card.
46 min: Anichebe makes 30 yards on a rumbustious dribble up the right-centre of the pitch and goes down in the box when David Luiz and Ivanovic catch up. No penalty.
Ross Turnbull on for Cech, who has an ankle injury.
Ryan Dunne has just anointed me his joint 5th fave MBMer of 2012. I'm not that high on my own list. But am presuming for Ryan it's Scotty/Smyth/Baz/Doyler 1st=, or anyone with a knowledge of the GGR, then everyone else?
Demba Ba is in talks with Chelsea
Didn't see that one coming - but as Butch pointed out: That's basically a proper centre-forward plus £5m for Sturridge. Not saying Sturridge isn't a proper player, or fruitboiler. But he ain't no No9.
Barry Mason mistakes me for a journalist: "Can you clarify what the policy is re players lifting their shirts to reveal a message on their tee shirts.I thought Berbatov was booked for this last week but it doesn't seem as though Pienaar was today. If there is no policy can you check out with the Premier League hierarchy what action they would, or would not, take if a footballer revealed a message: God is Not Great. Or: Keep Religion Out of Football." Sadly, not Barry. I could find out after the game and let you know, but I'll be in the pub by then. But we could ask the audience …
Here's Gary Naylor on the Cole v Baines preference in response to Ryan Dunne: Ah, the mysterious 'Does all his work unnoticed …' line re Ashley Cole. Noplayer's work goes unnoticed these days. Anyway, according to this table - Leighton Baines is 25th in the all-time list of Premier League assists - not bad that for a defender. Invisible Ashley Cole is 142nd."
Half time: The increasingly influential Mata almost set himself up for a shot but Heitinga managed to get a toe in the way of the return pass just as the half ended. What a comeback by Chelsea but Everton have been as impressive as any team I've seen in that first 30 minutes.
44 min: Everton have a free-kick conceded by David Luiz, almost on the whitewash, parallel with the six-yard line. Baines takes it, hard, low and dipping at the near post and Anichebe dives to head it but it's blocked and Chelsea smother the shot from the rebound.
A peach of a goal, made by Torres (who was being booed by the home fans) and his tenacity on the right by the touchline where he chased a seemingly lost cause, stopped the ball going out, tapped it to Ramires who dug out his cross while falling backwards and Lampard leapt to steer it with his forehead past Howard.
GOAL!! Everton 1-1 Chelsea
40 min: Chelsea free-kick from about 35 yards. Lampard tries a shot but doesn't get the power. Even the ricochet doesn't fall too kindly but Torres swivels and hits a left-foot shot which is blocked out for a corner.
38 min: Once again Anichebe, Pienaar and Baines gang up on Azpilicueta, moving the ball around their triangle despite David Luiz sprinting over to help. Anichebe crosses to the right post where Naismith has made a run but he can't control his header and it goes behind.
36 min: Chelsea begin to penetrate by passing the ball around in front of Everton's penalty area through Lampard, David Luiz and Ramires but lose possession when Azpilicueta joins in. Everton break like lightning with Pienaar playing a glorious crossfield 40 yard pass straight into the run of Jelavic. He hits a sharp shot across Cech from left to right, the Czech again finger-tipping it behind.
33 min: Brilliant move from Chelsea with Mata the hub, manipulating space on the right by beating two men with a one-two with David Luiz then slipping it to Torres who turns it round the corner where Mata gets to the right byline and spears his cross right across goal, just eluding Hazard at the near post and Cole at the back stick.
29 min: Jelavic plays in Anichebe down the left with a deft, rolled pass, then sprints into the centre. Anichebe hits the cross too early, so early in fact that Jelavic had no hope of getting there so it might have been a shot. Cech comfortably deals with it. Half a minute later Anichebe again marauds up the left and wins a corner which Chelsea squeeze out. Ace email from Ian Gillies re "footballer v player": "In a census taken back in the 1930s, Matt Busby's occupation was listed as 'fruitboiler' perhaps as a result of his Bellshill accented response to the inquiry."
27 min: Chelsea chance after fine work from Ramires, barnstorming through the centre, leaving Heitinga chasing his shadow. Once beyond the centre-back, he shoots low but Howrad saves it well and while on the ground effectively yet scruffily thwarts Mata's attempt to score from the rebound.
24 min: Chelsea throw after a misplaced pass from Jagielka but such is the tightness of the marking, Chelsea can't advance and give away the throw, from which Pienaar plays a sharp pass into Osman who smashes the ball from the edge of the area low and to Cech's right which the keeper dives and parries away with a strong wrist.
22 min: Sustained possession is the way back in for Chelsea. Let Everton chase a hare for a change. Osman loses the ball in a challenge with Azpilicueta and he passes forward to Torres on the right. The centre-forward chips a cross towards the back post but it's cleared and Everton break like greyhounds, forcing Ivanovic to knock the ball out of play.
20 min: Alan Smith points out on Sky that Chelsea can't cope withe Everton's pace. And he's right, they can't live with the speed of Everton's use of the ball at this time.
19 min: Torres attempts to get on to the end of a pass slid between Baines and his centre-back but Distin quickly recovers and the Spaniard pushes him over to concede a foul.
18 min: Osman is playing very well, picking the ball up when it's played up to Mata or Ramires and fizzing it forward to Baines and Anichebe while holding his won position.
15 min: Chelsea get a breather when Cahill is fouled and build something with some short passing between Mata, Hazard and Ramires. They recycle it back towards their own goal but when Hazard spots Ramires with some space on the right he overhits the pass behind Baines. "As someone who's just started passionately reading the autobiography of the divine, secular BVM, Geordie Princess Di that is Ms Cheryl Cole I'm not the world's most obvious Ashley-defender," writes Ryan Dunne. "But I think Gary N is being a bit harsh. Wasn't Cole excellent in Chelsea's run to European Glory, even if his excellence is of perhaps of a less flashy variety than circa 2006 or so? And hasn't Ashley Cole being one of England's top three players at international tournaments for over a decade now (which is a bit like being one of the best hockey players in Ecuador, true, but still)?
13 min: Cech's goalkick is againa risky short one but Azpilicuta controls it and shuffles the ball forward but it comes straight back at Chelsea with Anichebe giving Pienaar a chance to outpace Ivanovic but he could not catch the pass before it went out.
11 min: Mata robbed by Osman who feeds Naismith down the right. Pienaar, with more freedom given Anichebe's tucking in on the left, double teams Cole down that flank and works an opening for a cross that is blocked out for a corner.
9 min: JR in Illinois tells me Anichebe got away with a foul in the build-up to the goal, holding down Azpilicueta and stopping the right-back from jumping. I'll look out for it on the replay. Everton continue playing with real energy and swagger.
7 min: Awful goalkick from Cech, screwed into touch, on the right 40 yards upfield. Everton are pressing remorselessly and force Cahill into fouling Pienaar on the edge of the box, slightly to the left of the D. Jelavic takes and spins it over the wall and smack bang flush on the post. Baines was the decoy. Speaking of whom, here's Gary Naylor: "Why is Ashley Cole invariably described as the "World's Best Left-Back"? He hasn't played well for club and country for years. Leighton Baines, in contrast,
is brilliant, week-in, week-out. Of course, he doesn't play in London and
doesn't, well... fill in the blanks."
4 min: What a start from Everton, a good run from Anichebe made a space in the centre of the Chelsea defence. he and Jelavic keep switching from outside left to centre-forward.
I'll repaste the bit I cut to make way for the goal
1 min: We're off after a minute's silence for Evertonians who passed away in 2012, including Gary Ablett, Gordon West and Dennis Stevens. Peter Robertson chips in on "footballers": "At least it is better than the tendency of NFL coaches inability to go 15 seconds without reminding us what sport we just watched. In interviews we regularly hear things like, 'we beat a good football team out there today'. True, Peter. Though managers here always say "at our football club" or "this football club". We know it's a football club.
Well, that was quick. After a couple of attempts to find Victor Anichebe with raking crosses, Osman brushes Hazard off the ball, plays it through to Jagielka who went rampaging up the wing, crossing to Anichebe at the back post who clipped the bar with his header and Pienaar smashed his shot past Cech.
GOAL!! Everton 1-0 Chelsea (Pienaar)
He's very focused, and while glad to be back on Merseyside, he's purely focused on Chelsea not the past. Ben Mohammadi has experience of the player/footballer divide: "In my five a side group we are all players, but the phrase footballers is reserved for a special few who have a certain skill set. I felt a little slighted when my team-mate refereed to the other side having a few 'footballers' whereas we were just meandering neanderthals apparently …" Right. In my youth the distinction was between stoppers and players. If you weren't good enough even to be a stopper, you were a useless get or a distinctly non-Guardian term that cast aspersions on your gender.
Ray Wilkins points out that Ramires has been introduced in place of Moses to counter the Baines/Pienaar leftist axis. Incidentally, when did the word "footballer" replace "player". Pundits talk of "good footballers" now rather than good players. Or if they're from the south "footblers". Exceptional rugby league players used to be called "good footballers" by Eddie Waring and then Ray French but in football, players were commonly players, not "footballers".
Official team news
T'was an accurate steer from the Goodison mole.
Everton: Howard, Jagielka, Heitinga, Distin, Baines, Naismith,
Osman, Hitzlsperger, Pienaar, Anichebe, Jelavic.
Subs: Mucha, Oviedo, Gueye, Barkley, Vellios, Duffy, Browning.
Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Cole, Ramires,
Luiz, Lampard, Mata, Torres, Hazard.
Subs: Turnbull, Oscar, Moses, Ferreira, Marin, Piazon, Ake.
Referee: Howard Webb
This season, I think, I've only done about eight MBMs and more than half have been Chelsea games, including last Sunday's 8-0 drubbing of Aston Villa. Switching David Luiz into midfield and Branislav Ivanovic to centre-half have given Chelsea a much more solid platform than they had when I last wrote about them away in Donetsk. Today's match at Goodison pits Rafa Benítez's side against one of the "smaller teams", there I've said it. Most of the previews have been built on the foundations of that quote from 2007 and speculate on the reception the former Liverpool manager will receive. The Sunday Times reckons it'll be more joshing than vituperative, "there will certainly be some rousting of Rafa, but much will be pantomime jeering". He'll cop the usual, I think, and sit there impassively as he has when given the bird by Chelsea fans.
A draw will be good enough for Chelsea to move back into third place, while Everton need to win by two goals to leapfrog Tottenham. This is the 11th Premier League match between the two at Goodison since David Moyes arrived from Deepdale – Chelsea have won five, Everton three and there have been two draws. Yet Everton's three victories have come in the last three meetings here, 2-0 in February with goals from Pienaar and the sub-editor's nightmare Stracqualursi, 1-0 in 2011 when Jermaine Beckford turned Alberto Tomba and 2-1 in 2010 when Lousi Saha scored twice after Florent Malouda had given the visitors the lead.
Moyes's first home match against Chelsea came in his first full season, a 3-1 defeat. These were the starting XIs:
Everton: Wright; Hibbert, Yobo, Stubbs, Unsworth, Naysmith; Carsley, Gravesen, Lie Tie, Radzinski; Campbell.
Chelsea: Cudicini; Melchiot, Desailly, Gallas, Le Saux; Stanic, Lampard, Petit, De Lucas; Zola, Hasselbaink.
John Terry came on as a second-half substitute for De Lucas, so there are two players still at Chelsea 10 years on from that game and one for Everton, in Tony Hibbert.
Early team news:
Everton (not official): Howard; Jagielka, Heitinga, Distin, Baines; Naismith, Hitzlsperger, Osman, Pienaar; Anichebe, Jelavic.
Chelsea (not official): Cech; Azpilicueta Ivanovic, Cahill, Cole; Lampard Luiz; Ramires Mata Hazard; Torres.