In yesterday’s Premier League games Chelsea won 2-1 at Everton’s Goodison Park. The home side made a strong start and were in the lead after less than two minutes.
Victor Anichebe’s powerful header struck the crossbar and South African midfielder Steven Pienaar was on hand to fire past Petr Cech in the Blues goal.
The Toffee’s were unlucky not to double their lead soon afterwards. Croatian striker Nikica Jelavic curled a superb free-kick over the Chelsea wall, only to see the ball strike the post and bounce clear.
Everton dominated the early exchanges and Petr Cech superbly denied Jelavic a second goal for the home side.
Chelsea slowly came back into the game and got their reward in the 42nd minute. Fernando Torres found Ramires, who fired in an excellent cross that found Frank Lampard, and the England international headed past Tim Howard in the Everton goal.
Everton nearly regained the lead in the second half, as Jelavic was unlucky yet again, hitting the crossbar with a powerful header from Leighton Baines. Chelsea managed to keep the home side out and in the 72nd minute struck at the other end.
Juan Mata’s initial effort was kept out by Howard, only for Lampard to follow up from close-range to fire home. Everton pushed forward and gave the visitors a few scares, but Rafa Benitez’s side held on to become the first opposition team to win at Goodison since March.
The victory moved Chelsea up to third place in the Premier League. Everton are still sixth in the league just three points behind fourth place Tottenham.
As so many times in his Chelsea career Frank Lampard was hero yesterday. Despite his brace, the England international’s future at the club is in doubt. The 34 year-old is expected to leave this summer, with his contract expiring and the Blues not offering him fresh terms.
The Chelsea fans at Goodison yesterday made their feelings clear about what they thought of the club legend. They want the veteran to stay, but it looks unlikely that the Blues fans will get their wish.
Yesterday’s defeat was only Everton’s third loss in 29 Premier League matches. Everton boss David Moyes must be satisfied with the first half of his team’s season. The Toffee’s are still well placed to challenge for the Champions League places and playing some really good football.
Elsewhere yesterday Liverpool claimed a comfortable 3-0 victory at struggling QPR. The visitors were two goals ahead within 16 minutes, with Luis Suarez grabbing a brace. The Uruguayan opened the scoring on ten minutes, running at Clint Hill before firing past Julio Cesar in the Hoops goal.
The striker doubled his tally on 16 minutes, scoring from close-range after Rangers defender Nedum Onuoha had blocked his initial effort. The scoring was completed in the 28th minute. Steven Gerrard’s cross was headed home by centre-back Daniel Agger.
Gerrard was also denied a goal by a desperate goal line clearance by a combination of QPR defenders. The home side got slightly better in the second half, but Liverpool took their foot off the pedal and settled for three goals.
This defeat put QPR eights points away from safety. Boss Harry Redknapp was brought in to save the club from relegation, but looks to have a struggle on his hands. A lot will depend on which players Harry Redknapp came bring in the upcoming transfer window.
The win at QPR doesn’t paint over the cracks at Liverpool. The Reds have been inconsistent this season and Brendan Rodgers will also be looking to strengthen his squad in the transfer window.
The imminent arrival of Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge will give Rodgers an extra attacking option, but Rodgers definitely needs to add extra quality in other positions. Liverpool are a work in progress and Reds fans will be hoping for better Premier League results in 2013, than in 2012.
Can Harry Redknapp save QPR from relegation this season?