If you didn't watch it happen, words won't even come close to conveying how absurd and utterly frustrating today's match between Everton and Chelsea was. For the neutral, it was a thrilling 3-3 draw. For the Toffees among us, it was yet another example of our still-beating hearts being torn out of our chests and being stomped on. I really don't even want to talk about it, but here we go.
The first half was a snooze-fest for the most part. It was full of John Stones and Phil Jagielka dribbling and passing around the ball in their own end of the pitch. Each side had one real chance.
Chelsea's opportunity came in the 16th minute, when Willian entered the right side of the box and put a shot on goal, but Tim Howard was able to get his hands on it and keep it out of the goal. Near the end of the first half, Kevin Mirallas did a brilliant job to turn Kurt Zouma and put a sizzling shot on goal, but Thibaut Courtois fully extended to parry the ball away.
It was the second half where this match may go down as one of the better fixtures of the entire season, although if I had my way, we would burn all evidence that the game even happened and then use the Men in Black red-light, memory-wipe thing on myself.
Things began well enough as Everton went up 2-0 about 10 minutes into the half. First, Leighton Baines put a ball, intended for Romelu Lukaku, into the box. John Terry jumped ahead of him and knocked it into his own goal. A few minutes later, Mirallas showed some class skill. He brought down a cross from Baines, turned with it and struck a beautiful ball into the right side of the Chelsea goal.
But of course, things cannot be so simple. The team then seemed to let their foot off the gas. They sat back and allowed Chelsea to come at them and within minutes it was tied 2-2.
The first came from Diego Costa. It was a long ball and Everton captain Phi Jagielka had the better position, but just did nothing with it. There could have been a header or a pass to Howard, but nope. Costa outran and outmuscled Jags to the ball. Then, Howard came out of his goal and whiffed as he tried to swipe the ball away, leaving Costa to dribbling into an empty net. Moments later, Cesc Fabregas leveled things with a shot that deflected off of Mo Besic and weakly trickled by Howard, who had dove the opposite way. My heart!
Things did improve a bit about 25 minutes later. Everton regained control of the game and bringing on Gerard Deulofeu certainly helped with their pace, width and service into the box. Then, in the 90th minute, Geri but a pretty ball in, over the 6-foot-6 frame of Courtois and found Ramiro Funes Mori, who put a foot to it and gave Everton a lead once again, 3-2.
Almost immediately, word came down that there was going to be seven added minutes. SEVEN! The reason for the high number was that Bryan Oviedo had gone down injured and had to be taken off on a back board with an air cast around his leg. Ok, no complaints. In fact, Funes Mori is the one who replaced Oviedo, so maybe Everton doesn't score without all of that.
Seven minutes came and went. Everton cleared the ball. But there was no whistle. We kept waiting, but nothing happened. You know what comes next.
Chelsea put the ball into the box a couple times and in the 98th minute, it falls to Terry, in an offside position, and he puts a flick on it to get it past Howard and give Chelsea the point at the death. The linesman just stood there with his flag down. Absolutely ridiculous!
Sure, there were a lot of things Everton could have done earlier in the game to stop something like this from deciding the difference between three points and one point, but they cannot control what happens in a referee's brain. He said seven minutes. Where did the eighth minute come from? There were no injuries or stoppages. What happened? I won't speculate on that, that is what the comments are for, but I am fuming with the rest of you.
What I took from the game:
-The refereeing in the Premier League still stinks.
-Mirallas has been and is still the best option to start on the left
-Barkley needs to figure it out. It looked like he asked to come off, which is fine. But he didn't have a good day and hasn't been in his best form recently.
-The defense continues to be an issue. Stones has not been his dominate self lately and, as a whole, they are messing around far too much with the ball. There has to be some kind of change. I don't think it will be new players, but perhaps a different philosophy. It's not work right now.
-Howard was OK. The only goal that I think can be partially his fault is the Costa one.
The Toffees get a full week of rest until their next game, when they host Swansea on Sunday. Here is to hoping they actually beat a team that they are better than.
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