There was a lot of scoreboard watching during Sunday's action, as Chelsea was in a battle with Tottenham and Arsenal for the third and fourth spot in the English Premier League. However, the three points give the Blues enough to finish in third and clinch a spot the Champions League next season.
The match itself got off to a frenetic pace with so much on the line. While players usually like to ease into the action, it only took seven minutes for the first goal to take place.
On a counter attack, Demba Ba got a nice pass from Oscar and put the ball right at the goalkeeper, which was saved. Fortunately, Juan Mata was in place for the rebound and put it in the back of the net to give Chelsea a 1-0 advantage. Watch the video courtesy of Fox Sports:
This lead did not last long, however, as Everton was quickly able to get the equalizer.
Steven Naismith received the ball on a deflection off David Luiz and then worked a give-and-go with Victor Anichebe to get an open shot inside the box. He pushed it beyond Petr Cech's reach and tied up the match 1-1 in the 14th minute.
While the rest of the first half featured plenty more attempts from both sides, no one was able to break the tie heading into intermission.
The second half featured much more defense, along with missed opportunities on offense. One major mistake was a missed shot by Branislav Ivanovic in the 73rd minute, which led fans like the popular Frank Lampard parody account to question his motives:
Chelsea HQ @Chelsea_HQ
Ivanovic and Luiz are currently trying to throw away 3rd spot.5/19/2013, 4:32:12 PM
Fortunately, things turned out alright when Fernando Torres scored the go-ahead goal for Chelsea three minutes later. He received a good pass in the air from Victor Moses and was able to get to the ball and finish nicely on the right side of the goal.
Despite a number of great opportunities for the visiting club late, Everton was unable to get that second goal thanks to some good saves by Petr Cech, and the match ended 2-1.
Chelsea's season certainly had some ups and downs, although the past few weeks have featured some very strong play. Not only will the team finish in third place in the EPL, but it also recently won the Europa League title after winning the Champions League a year ago.
Although interim manager Rafael Benitez is unlikely to stay aboard, some fans appreciate the effort (via Telegraph Sport):
Telegraph Sport @TelegraphSport
Rafa Benitez would love a win today but it seems the interim Chelsea manager may have already won over some fans. http://t.co/Uvmdj7wEIY5/19/2013, 3:34:57 PM
Regardless of who is in charge of the program next season, you can be certain that the talented club will be a top contender for the EPL title.
For Everton, this match closes a solid year-long effort to finish in sixth place in the league. While the club battled for one of the top four spots for a long time, it simply could not compete in the final couple of months.
Still, the squad should be proud of a great effort as it looks to improve even more heading into the offseason.
Juan Mata, Chelsea: A
All season long, Juan Mata was simply always around the action. Whenever Chelsea needed a play, the midfielder either scored an important goal or was somehow responsible for it.
Against Everton, he was the one celebrating after tapping in a rebound in the seventh minute. He was clearly the best player on the club all season, and this final match proved it more than ever.
Fernando Torres, Chelsea: A-
There might not be a more divisive player on Chelsea than Fernando Torres. Some fans believe he is a huge part of the club's success, while others feel that he was a waste of money.
In Sunday's match, the forward scored his 23rd goal of the season, although it was only his eighth in league play. Still, he proved his importance in this one and should stick around for at least a little longer at Stamford Bridge.
Steven Naismith, Everton: A
In his first year in the EPL, Steven Naismith spent most of his time as a substitute coming in for offense when needed. Although he has not had much success, Sunday's match should earn him more playing time next season.
The Scottish player showed a great deal of skill in getting an early goal, which helped Everton remain in contention for most of the match. When he came off in the second half, the club lost a great deal of offense.
Tim Howard, Everton: C+
The American goalkeeper has had plenty of great days for Everton. In the last six matches, he has only allowed one goal total. Unfortunately, he was not as sharp in this one, as he allowed an easy shot by Demba Ba to get away from him, leading to a goal.
While the second goal was tougher to defend, this is clearly a match to forget for the talented player.
|M||Juan Mata (Off 83')||A|
|M||Oscar (Off 89')||B+|
|F||Demba Ba (Off 66')||C-|
|M||Victor Moses (On 66') ||A|
|D||César Azpilicueta (On 83') ||B|
|D||Paulo Ferreira (On 89') ||B+|
|G||Tim Howard ||C+|
|M||Steven Naismith (Off 67')||A|
|F||Victor Anichebe (Off 67')||B+|
|D||John Heitinga (On 67') ||C-|
|M||Nikica Jelavic (On 67') ||A-|
Both clubs head into the summer looking to see what they can do to improve their standing for the 2013-14 season. With plenty of transfer opportunities for each side, expect a lot of movement from top players over the next few months.
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