Premier League - Chelsea beat Everton to stay third

Sat, 15 Oct 19:28:00 2011

Chelsea stayed in touch with the two Manchester clubs at the top of the Premier League table with a 3-1 win over Everton at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea 3 Everton 1

First-half goals from Daniel Sturridge and John Terry, plus another from Ramires after the break, sealed a first win in seven against Everton for the Blues. Apostolos Vellios came off the bench to put Everton on the board with his very first touch of the game to give the match a fairer scoreline.

The victory put them within a point of second-placed Manchester United and three of leaders Manchester City, and they will finish the weekend in third place regardless of the weekend's other Premier League results.

A run of four defeats in their last five league games leaves Everton in the bottom half of the table. How far they drop down the table depends on the results of Sunday's matches.

Given the respective performances of the two sides in the first half, Everton were left scratching their heads as to how they went into the break two goals down.

With the hosts starting off in sluggish fashion it was Louis Saha who had the games first clear chance when he showed great pace to power into the box, but his shot was saved by Petr Cech.

However, the Blues finally began to click into gear, and scored with their first attempt on goal on the half-hour mark. Juan Mata dinked the ball forward into the path of Ashley Cole, who get to it ahead of Seamus Coleman and crossed well for Sturridge to head home his fourth goal of the season.

Right on the stroke of half-time it was 2-0 when Frank Lampard's quality free-kick delivery from the left was met by Terry. With Tim Howard in no man's land, Terry headed past him to mark his 350th Chelsea appearances with a goal.

Leon Osman almost halved the deficit right from the kick-off to start the second half, with his strike beating Cech but clipping the outside of the post.

On the hour it was all over when Drogba pitched the wall out wide for Mata, who surged into the box and hit a low ball across the six-yard area that Ramires simply could not miss.

However, moments after the Brazilian scored his fifth Chelsea goal on his 50th appearance for the club, he had to be carried off the pitch with an injury and was replaced by Florent Malouda.

The one ray of light for Everton came in the form of striker Vellios. The 19-year-old Greek came off the bench with nine minutes remaining and, 18 seconds later, slid in to turn in the low ball supplied by fellow substitute Royston Drenthe.

Everton will return to west London next weekend when they face Fulham at craven cottage, while Chelsea will be in action just a few miles down the road at local rivals Queens Park Rangers.

Tony Mabert - on Twitter @tony_mabert / Eurosport

Not already a Yahoo! user ? to get a free Yahoo! Account