Madness? This is Everton!
The recap after the jump.
20 days after the 1-1 draw in Goodison, Everton and Chelsea met in West London for a rematch of the FA Cup's 4th round. The winner of this match will play against Reading in the next round, a team that should be beaten by any Premier League squad.
Jermaine Beckford was the only striker, the England international defender Phil Jagielka replaced Johnny Heitinga and Leon Osman covered the left wing. Chelsea had to do without winter signing Fernando Torres, Ramires and Salomon Kalou played instead of Michael Essien and Nicolas Anelka.
Everton started better than last week against Bolton (anything else would've been a huge disappointment) but the Toffees couldn't create any significant scoring chances, neither could Chelsea. 20 minutes were played when Phil Jagielka's head redirected a Chelsea cross but, fortunenately, Tim Howard and the post prevented an own goal. It was obvious that neither team was willed to take a risk, it was safety first for both Blues.
Chelsea's shots were all saved by Howard, Everton's shots were all (?) blocked by John Terry. Just when everybody was ready for half time it was Ramires who appeared in front of Howard. Both went for the ball, Ramires fell over and Phil Dowd thought it was a dive. No penalty kick for Chelsea, instead a booking for the Brazilian. The replays didn't help, it's impossible to say for sure whether that was a foul or a dive.
Michael Essien replaced John Mikel Obi for the second half that almost started with a Chelsea goal but Tim Howard stopped the ball. Even the slightest redirection would've led to a goal but all blue shirts missed the ball. Chelsea now dominated the match, Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman's yellow cards both were a result of that. Ten minutes into the second half, a Frank Lampard header missed the net. It only seemed to be a matter of time before the hosts score a goal. Everton on the other hand still couldn't create anything, Jermaine Beckford once again looked lost. Time to add another chapter to the book "Beckford needs a second striker".
A terrible Lampard turnover almost resulted in a surprising goal but Beckford's shot wasn't accurate enough (he can't be blamed for that, it was a difficult one). Again Lampard, this time his shot from short distance was somehow saved by Howard. The following corner couldn't be converted by Ivanovic. If Everton survive those 90 minutes, it's mainly Tim Howard who made it happen.
After 70 minutes, Tim Cahill was subbed off for Diniyar Bilyaletdinov. The Russian moved to the left wing, Leon Osman replaced Cahill behind the lonely striker. When Anichebe joined the game for Beckford, you'd expect a left wing overload. But that wasn't the case, Anichebe almost scored seconds into the match but missed the ball.
If that sounds like Everton were the better team now, that was not the case at all. Everybody was still waiting for Chelsea to finally score the deserved goal.
Then the inevitable happened: the weaker team scored. Baines' shot was blocked by Cech but Fellaini converted the rebound. Insanity? Enthusiasm? No, offside. Still 0-0, extra time.
It took Moyes 5 minutes to realize that a goal is unlikely so he brought on Johnny Heitinga for Leon Osman. That defensive approach worked for 10 minutes, then Nicolas Anelka (who was brought on for Malouda) passed the ball to Frank Lampard who easily scored the goal everybody has been waiting for.
NOTE: I was writing this recap while watching the match so mistakes can happen. I almost forgot to delete this part:
You can stop reading now because from then on, nothing happened. I don't wanna say that Everton didn't try to equalize but those tries were as successful as Stoke playing one-touch football.
DO NOT STOP READING.
One last chance for Everton with just a minute to go. A free kick taken by Leighton Baines...AND HE SCORES!! 1-1!
Take a deep breath, it's time for some good old penalty kicks.
- Chelsea starts, Frank Lampard against Tim Howard...great shot, 2-1 Chelsea.
- Leighton Baines is the first for Everton...and Cech saves the weak try.
- Didier Drogba...waits for Howard to make a decision and scores easily, 3-1.
- Phil Jagielka, Everton needs one...scores, 3-2.
- Nicolas Anelka is next, he's too lazy to run before shooting...AND HOWARD WITH THE SAVE!
- Mikel Arteta can tie the game again...and does exactly that, 3-3.
- Michael Essien for Chelsea...no chance for Howard, 4-3 Chelsea.
- Johnny Heitinga, I don't like that decision...but he scores, 4-4.
- Ashley Cole with Chelsea's 5th attempt...MISSES THE NET!
- Phil Neville, the captain, can make it happen...AND SCORES! EVERTON WINS!!!
I give up, this is as crazy as it gets. Everton wins, I still don't know how it happened. Watch the highlights if you missed the match, that's all I have to say.