Chelsea struggled at times to deal with the physical challenge they were posed by Everton, long before Jonny Heitinga’s shoulder barge on Ashley Cole as he walked up to take his spot kick in the critical penalty shoot out.
The barge itself shouldn‘t be made a meal of, but the match as a whole needs certainly to be added to the growing list of Chelsea matches where chances and time have just seemed to pass them by. Despite more attempts on goal than in recent games, it was if anything Everton who looked more clinical in front of goal; considering this Everton side have been misfiring terribly this season and the unreliable James Beckford was leading the line, that‘s not a good comparison for Chelsea fans.
To all intents and purposes it was a third consecutive match where the club had failed to score in the 90 minutes of normal time. This despite playing three strikers in each of those games, as well as having regular scorer Frank Lampard, albeit that he still doesn’t look back to full fitness, as one of the three in midfield.
Chelsea seem to have made the transition from last season being the dominating bullies of English football, to looking so much easier to put off their stride so far this campaign. Chelsea’s 13 fouls was dwarfed by the 32 committed by David Moyes’ combative side.
Of course, fouling people doesn’t make you a good team or even one that’s tough to face, but you only have to watch Chelsea at the moment for your eyes to tell you that the power and confidence of last season, isn’t there anymore.
Unlike Arsenal and United fans, there wasn’t even the consolation of having played a weakened team. Ancelotti picked most of his stars, apart from the unavailable David Luiz and Fernando Torres. Essien and Anelka both improve the side after coming off the bench too, but clearly a lot of work still needs to be done even to make sure of a top 4 Premier League finish.