LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 26: Jan Mucha of Everton watches the lob of Salomon Kalou of Chelsea head for the back of the net for the opening goal during the Carling Cup Fourth Round match between Everton and Chelsea at Goodison Park on October 26, 2011 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Chelsea beat Everton 2-1 after extra time at Goodison Park in a Carling Cup game probably best described as lunatic. By the end of two hours of play, both sides had missed a penalty and seen a man sent off, but by the sound of it (the game wasn't televised, remarkably) the Florent-Malouda-led Blues ended up deserving their win, which was secured by substitute Daniel Sturridge in the 116th minute.
The match started innocuously enough, not punctuated by any sort of excitement until Josh McEachran, starting as one of ten changes Andre Villas-Boas made to the team that that lost to Queens Park Rangers on Sunday*, wandered into the Everton box, had a shot blocked, and then was taken down by Johnny Heitinga for no reason at all. It was the perfect opportunity for Chelsea to go 1-0 up, which was rather wasted when Nicolas Anelka slipped his shot wide of Jan Mucha's goal.
*David Moyes had made some changes too, but his Everton side were still fairly strong.
No worries for Chelsea, though - they'd have the lead before halftime thanks to a dreadful piece of goalkeeping by Tim Howard's backup. The visitors were happily attacking for some time but didn't look like making much progress until a rather hopeful lob attempt by Salomon Kalou sailed hilariously through Mucha's hands, bounced off the goalkeeper, and rolled over the line to make it 1-0. Whoops.
Anelka had a great chance to extend the lead after the break when he sprung clear of the defence, but shot straight at Mucha with Romelu Lukaku free in the centre. Chelsea would end up paying for that mistake when Louis Saha nipped around the back of their lines and was brought down by Ross Turnbull, who was issued a straight red card* for his troubles, with Lee Mason pointing to the spot for good measure. Turnbull had had it coming, with a string of ludicrous decisions rather giving the impression that he'd taken copious amounts of acid during halftime.
*I've heard people say that this might only have been worth a yellow since David Luiz was in a position to cover, which is insane because it's still a DGSO when the goalkeeper is in position to cover.
Losing one's goalkeeper obviously necessitates changes, and Petr Cech was deployed at Romelu Lukaku's expense. Leighton Baines stepped up to take the spot kick, and fired straight down the middle, with Cech only able to parry back into the left back's path. Amazingly, he recovered quickly enough to block the followup effort too, and the ball was finally cleared out of play.
Everton had the advantage now, though, and absolutely ripped into ten-man Chelsea. Just a minute after the penalty attempt Diniyar Bilyaletdinov drew another top-class save from Cech as the Blues were overrun. Here is a paraphrased quote from the radio guys describing the carnage that followed:
Word word word wordwordwordwordSAHA CECH SAVES WHAT A SAVE SAHA AGAIN. Everton corner.
Only that was repeated about ten times.
Anyway, Chelsea obviously had to do something to ensure that they maintained their rather fragile-looking lead. McEachran (who had, prior to the sending off, apparently been quite impressive) was forced off as Andre Villas-Boas tried to stabilise the midfield by injecting John Obi Mikel into the fray, but while it did bring temporary relief a) Everton were fairly hungry for blood and b) Mikel didn't really play that well anyway.
The hosts, of course, would draw level with less than ten minutes to go, when that man Saha nodded in a sweet delivery by Seamus Coleman, whom Moyes had thrown on to try to get something out of the game (good managing there). With the score even, Chelsea made their last throw of the dice, swapping goalscorer Kalou for Sturridge, a move that was to pay off late in extra time.
There was plenty of game to go, and Everton probably should have scored again to put the match away, but they couldn't manage it. In extra-time, Chelsea were still grimly hanging on as the hosts poured bodies forward, but they were offered a rare reprieve when noted professional moron Royston Drenthe was shown his second yellow card of the match for a bad challenge on Ryan Bertrand. At 10 vs. 10, suddenly Chelsea were the far better side.
They should have gone ahead through Anelka (we've heard that before!) only for the French striker to be incredibly unfortunate in seeing his shot saved by some combination of Baines' outstretched leg and the inside of Mucha's post. Then it was the turn of Branislav Ivanovic to get in on the action, the Serbian crashing in a vicious shot that Mucha was forced to tip over the bar.
Florent Malouda tried his luck too, but this time his effort from range was too much for Mucha to handle and Sturridge was there to tap in the rebound. With just four minutes left to play, Everton needed to respond immediately and within seconds of the restart Saha had drawn another save from Cech. Fortunately for Villas-Boas and company, that particular storm soon abated, and Chelsea found themselves through to the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup after an insane match.
Chelsea's man of the match?
Petr Cech (228 votes)
228 total votes