Draw Hits Chelsea Title Bid  (Sky Sports)

Chelsea 0 Everton 0

Lampard and Neville in actionChelsea's outside chance of lifting the Premier League title took a hammer blow after the Blues were held to a goalless stalemate by Everton at Stamford Bridge.

In a dress rehearsal of next month's FA Cup final, Guus Hiddink's side dominated play but could not break down the resolute Toffees.

David Moyes' side had the best chances, while Alex brought down Leighton Baines in the box but the ref waved play on.

Didier Drogba could then have won it for Chelsea in injury-time but his powerful effort from close range hit the bar and bounced away.

Coupled with Manchester United's victory at Old Trafford, Chelsea are now six points behind the Red Devils, having played a game more.

Chelsea's Petr Cech and Everton's Tim Howard took the plaudits on a night when both sides failed to make the most of their chances.

Cech was the first goalkeeper forced into action when a left-wing cross from Joleon Lescott was glanced into the arms of the Czech Republic international by Jo in the second minute.

Cech came to Chelsea's rescue in the sixth minute when Tim Cahill put Jo through with a neat pass but the Everton striker was unable to beat the home goalkeeper who kept out his shot from close range.

Moments later Chelsea responded with a long-range effort from Michael Ballack smothered by Howard who dived low to his left to ensure the ball did not creep inside the post.

Everton captain Phil Neville was shown the yellow card for a foul on Drogba in the 13th minute.

Three minutes later Frank Lampard, playing his 50th game of the season, sent a 25-yard shot just over Howard's crossbar.

Michael Essien tried to go one better than Lampard in the 19th minute but his effort was well off target.


Chelsea were now dominating the game but Everton still had their moments. In the 22nd minute Steven Pienaar tried to curl a 25-yard shot into the top corner but unfortunately his accuracy let him down and the ball went the wrong side of Cech's left-hand upright.

Cech then had to back-pedal frantically to ensure that a long-range free-kick from Baines did not creep in underneath the crossbar.

But Everton's spell of pressure ended when Joseph Yobo had to intercept a Lampard pass to keep out the lurking Drogba.

Chelsea continued to press for an opening goal but Everton's defence remained resolute.

Baines then went down in the box and replays showed Alex caught him with his leg but the referee waved play on.

The Toffees then almost opened the scoring in the 33rd minute when Jo broke down the left-flank and crossed low for Cahill.

The Australian midfielder turned cleverly before drilling a low shot towards the bottom corner of the net but for the third time in the game, Cech pulled off a superb save to deny Everton the lead.

Then a lightning counter-attack from Chelsea in the 42nd minute almost brought reward for the home side.

Nicolas Anelka led the charge as he burst down the right flank but with Florent Malouda completely unmarked in the penalty area, the France international's cross was easily intercepted by Howard.

Two minutes before the break Cech raced out of his goal to beat Baines to the ball as Everton threatened to open-up the home side once more.

Second half

Cech rescued Chelsea again two minutes after the interval when a cross from Leon Osman was met by the head of Cahill.

The Everton midfielder's glancing effort was well held by Cech who was looking unbeatable in the home goal.

The Toffees continued to press forward but Pienaar was again off target when he tried his luck from 25 yards.

Chelsea managed to wrestle back the initiative from the visitors but despite some intricate approach play, there was little invention in their attack.

The best they could muster was a clever flick from Drogba that set Anelka racing into the penalty area but his shot flew across the six-yard box without troubling Howard.

Chelsea made a double change on the hour when Essien was replaced by John Obi Mikel and Anelka made way for Salomon Kalou.

A minute later John Terry almost broke the deadlock for the home side when he let fly from fully 30 yards only for Howard to leap spectacularly to his left to deny the captain an opening goal.

Kalou then squandered a clear opportunity when he fired high over the bar from a corner by Malouda.

Jo wasted a chance to pinch the points for Everton when he fired high and wide from 18 yards in the 73rd minute.

Chelsea's Kalou did likewise at the opposite end when he headed a cross from Malouda over the bar from six yards.

Everton goalkeeper Howard then saved superbly to deny Kalou in the 79th minute after Lampard's corner found him unmarked.

Pienaar and Cahill both wasted late chances for Everton while Drogba hit the crossbar - a miss that almost certainly ended Chelsea's interest in the title race.


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Chelsea  Cech, Ivanovic, A. Cole, Terry, Alex, Ballack, Lampard, Essien (Mikel 60), Anelka (Kalou 60), Drogba, Malouda (Di Santo 77)
Subs Not Used  Hilario, Mancienne, Belletti, Mellis

Everton  Howard, Jacobsen (Jagielka 87), Lescott, Yobo, Baines, Osman (Rodwell 89), Castillo, Neville, Pienaar, Jo (Saha 90), Cahill
Subs Not Used Nash, Hibbert, Vaughan, Gosling
Booked  Neville

Attendance 41,556

Referee M. Halsey

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