Premier League - Chelsea fall to defeat at Everton

Sat, 11 Feb 16:55:00 2012

Chelsea dropped to fifth in the Premier League table after they suffered a 2-0 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park.

Everton 2 Chelsea 0

Steven Pienaar scored on his second appearance back in Everton colours to give the Toffees an early lead and Denis Stracqualursi doubled the homes side's lead with 20 minutes remaining.

It is the first time Everton have won back-to-back league games at home since May when, just like now, they beat Manchester City and Chelsea in successive games on Merseyside.

The win sends Everton back into the top half of the table, while Chelsea have been usurped for fourth place by Arsenal on goals scored. Newcastle United will overtake both clubs if they beat Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane later on Saturday.

Everton were without January deadline-day signing Nikica Jelavic after the Croatia striker strained a stomach muscle. Stracqualursi started up front in his stead.

The home side began the game with real intensity, refusing to let Chelsea settle into any kind of rhythm or let Raul Meireles and Juan Mata have any time on the ball.

The high-pressure start paid off when, with just five minutes on the clock, Chelsea were boxed in at a throw-in in their first half. The ball ricocheted into the box and fell kindly for Pienaar to fire into the roof of the net. The goal was the South African's first in the Premier League since September 2010, when he scored the opener in a 3-3 draw with Manchester United, and it was also Everton's 150th in the league against Chelsea at Goodison Park.

Everton could have been two goals to the good as the 20-minute mark approached thanks to a gift from Petr Cech. The Chelsea goalkeeper's short pass out from the back went past his own player and right to the feet of Landon Donovan. The American attacker - who is coming to the end of his loan spell at Everton - reacted quickly, but his strike from range was right back at the keeper.

Chelsea began to find ways to make the most of their superior possession as the half progressed. Michael Essien and Jose Bosingwa both had volleys blocked at a corner as the Blues started to find their way through a resolute Everton back line.

Mata in particular came to the fore, with one incisive square pass from the right teeing up Daniel Sturridge for an effort which was deflected over the bar and another fired wide by Frank Lampard when the Chelsea captain for the day should have tested Tim Howard.

The second half began in much the same vein, although both Pienaar and Stracqualursi provided excellent outlets for Everton. Pienaar drew fouls that saw bookings for Bosingwa and Fernando Torres while Stracqualursi held the ball up superbly in several different positions.

The big forward, who also out in a shift in the aforementioned win over Manchester City, was rewarded for his tireless efforts with his first ever Premier League goal on 71 minutes.

Phil Neville made a solid tackle on Ashley Cole on the halfway line that set Donovan away down the left. The American fed the ball into Stracqualursi's path inside the box and Cech was unable to keep the Argentine's shot out despite getting a hand to it.

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas had brought on Florent Malouda just before that goal, and soon afterwards he introduced young striker Romelu Lukaku in place of Mata and Ryan Bertrand for Cole, who was still struggling following the hard but fair tackle from Neville.

Lukaku had one close-range effort smothered by Howard soon after coming on, but Everton never looked like relinquishing their lead as they claimed a third home win over Chelsea in four games.

Tony Mabert - @tony_mabert / Eurosport

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