By Paul Lagan at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea 2 v Everton 2
Chelsea suffered the heartache of conceding a late equaliser after they twice took the lead against relegation-haunted Everton but ended up with just a point in a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.
A game of Chelsea attack versus Everton defence was the story of the first half as defence proved the superior.
The second half proved to be more entertaining and complex
But when Joao Felix snatched the lead on t2 minutes, it looked like the Blues were heading to a fourth straight win.
However Abdoulaye Doucoure had other ideas and nodded the visitors level on 69 minutes before a Kai Havertz penalty restored the lead. But on 88 minutes substitute Ellis Simms powered is way through the Chelsea defence before slotting home the leveller.
Briefly Chelsea ached the dizzy heights of ninth, but ended up back at 10th.
A pile-driver from Mateo Kovacic from just at the edge of the Everton penalty area, which inched just wide on five minutes, signified Chelsea’s opening dominance of the game, where they were looking for an early goal, to kill any possible development in confidence from the opposition.
A wayward header by Kai Havertz on 11 minutes from a Ben Chilwell corner, that again went just wide of goal emphasised the control the home side had of the game.
Everton ventured once into enemy territory during this period and was offside as a result.
A speculative long-range effort from Dwight McNeil relieved the pressure at the other end for the for a short period, but it was soon resumed.
But the end result was much the same attack v defence with defence coming out on top.
Neither side made a half-time change.
A powerful header by Havertz from a Chilwell byline cross was well saved by Jordan Pickford three minutes after the restart.
But eventually the west Londoners broke the dogged resistance of Everton.
A long cross-field ball by Enzo was volleyed into the area by Chilwell. Michael Keane got a touch to it and the ball fell to Felix who, on the edge of the area, on the left, whipped in a a low, left-footer across the path of Pickford and the ball nestled into the back of the net.
The first change by Graham Potter saw Conor Gallagher replace Pulisic on 61 minutes.
It changed the game, but not to the betterment of Chelsea.
The visitors decided they had to change tactics and show greater desire to attack, and they were duly rewarded.
Everton had a series of corners and eventually Doucoure, on 69 minutes, nodded the ball goal wards.
It was hacked off the line, but referee Darren England’s watch buzzed, signalling the ball had gone over the line.
This forced the Blues forward and James Tarkowski upended in-running Reece James in the penalty area on 73 minutes.
Up stepped Havertz who sent Pickford the wrong way to restore the one-goal lead.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek entered the fray in 81 minutes with Kovacic making way.
To kill the game off, Potter fought on Trevoh Chalobah and Carney Chukwuemeka – off went Felix and Wesley Forfana.
Once again it failed as Chelsea were mugged with a minute left on the clock.
Everton substitute Simms crashed through the Chelsea rearguard on the left and attempted to caress the ball across Kepa.
But the Spain stopper dived to his left, got a finger-tip the ball but could not prevent it from following into the far corner of the net to level the scores once again.
Chelsea forced a series of corners in a desperate attempt to snatch a winner but they failed and the visitors’ fans celebrated the point as if it was one to win them the league title rather than a point which they hope will go to keeping them in the league.
Teams: Chelsea, Kepa, Noni, Enzo, Pulisic, Felix, Chilwell, James, Koulibaly, Havertz,, Forfana
Subs: Bettinelli, Kante, Loftus-Cheek, Chalobah, Mudryk, Gallagher, Chukwuemeka, Madueke, Cucurella.
Everton: Pickford, Tarkowski, Keane, McNeil, Onana, Gray, Doucoure, Iwobi, Godfrey, Coleman, Gueye
Subs: Begovic, Holgate, Mina, Mykolenko, Maupay, Davies, Coady, Garner, Simms
Referee: Darren England
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