Chelsea 3-1 Everton

By Arindam RejBBC Sport
John Terry
Chelsea skipper John Terry gave his team a 2-0 lead before half-time

First-half headers by Daniel Sturridge and John Terry, followed by a Ramires tap-in after the break, earned Chelsea a comfortable victory over Everton.

Ashley Cole crossed for Sturridge to head in Chelsea's first on 30 minutes.

The hosts went 2-0 up in first-half injury time when Terry nodded home after Tim Howard failed to collect a Frank Lampard free-kick.

Ramires added a third from Juan Mata's cross, before Everton substitute Apostolos Vellios scored a consolation.

Mata was the orchestrator of both the first and third goals and, although Chelsea were nowhere near their best, his moments of ingenuity helped them ease to victory against opponents who traditionally perform well at Stamford Bridge.

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The Spaniard's vision and touch led him to pick out Cole with a lofted, long-range pass, and the England left-back delivered for Sturridge to open the scoring.

Mata was again to the fore for the third goal, bursting forward and exchanging passes with Didier Drogba before crossing perfectly for the Brazilian Ramires.

The downside for Chelsea was that Ramires was injured in scoring and had to be substituted.

Chelsea, who went into the game with a disappointing recent record against Everton, having won just one of their last nine Premier League meetings against the visitors, introduced Branislav Ivanovic alongside Terry in central defence as David Luiz was rested.

Jon Obi Mikel started in midfield, while up front they were again without the suspended Fernando Torres.

Everton, who have drawn on their last five league visits to Stamford Bridge, were unchanged from the Merseyside derby, Jack Rodwell's red card in that game having been overturned.

The Toffees created the early openings but Tim Cahill's tame header drifted wide following Leon Osman's cross from the left, before Louis Saha had a long-range strike gathered by Petr Cech at the second attempt.

Ramires struck a shot over the bar from 20 yards midway through the first half, but Chelsea were struggling to impose themselves.

The home team finally broke through in the 31st minute when Mata picked out Cole on the left-hand edge of the six-yard box. The Chelsea left-back clipped the ball across for Sturridge to head in.

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The hosts started using the ball more assertively from that point and were gifted a second by Everton keeper Howard just before half-time. Lampard curled in a left-sided free-kick and Howard's flap at the ball allowed Terry to head home.

Everton started the second half well as Osman's curling, 25-yard shot struck a post. But Chelsea ended any hopes of a comeback when Mata played his one-two with Drogba then crossed for Ramires to tap in the third.

Chelsea were in cruise control as the half continued, but again failed to hold on to a clean sheet. Everton gained their consolation goal when Vellios scored with his first touch - just eight seconds after coming on - as he slid in to meet Royston Drenthe's cross.

Afterwards, goalscorer Sturridge said: "It was important for us to move the ball quickly. It takes time to get used to how the manager likes football to be played but we've got used to it quickly.

"Ever since then, we've played attractive, attacking football."

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