In a rare midweek set of Premier League matches, an 89th minute goal from Willian kept Chelsea’s lead at the top of the Premier League at seven points. With Manchester City winning at Stoke 4-1, this was one of those results that wins a club the title.
Without the suspended Diego Costa, Chelsea struggled to break down Everton, and when they did, they found US national team goalkeeper Tim Howard in inspired form who denied Eden Hazard, Nemanja Matic and Willian in the second half.
Everton’s best two chances fell to former Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku, but he was denied on both occasions by Petr Cech. Preferred to Thibaut Courtois, the Czech shot-stopper jutted out a foot to thwart his former team-mate in the first half and then produced a stunning point-blank save to deny the Belgian in the 68th minute.
But Chelsea were not to be denied and Howard punched the ball to Willian, he drilled a controlled shot through a crowd of players and into the bottom-right corner for a huge Blues victory.
Man City ended a run of four games without a win as they beat Stoke at the Britannia Stadium, thanks to two goals from Sergio Aguero.
Elsewhere, Manchester United move back above Southampton and Arsenal into third place after an unconvincing 3-1 win at Old Traffors against second from bottom Burnley. Chris Smalling scored two of United’s goal, but the best player on the pitch was Burnley striker Danny Ings who outshone his more expensive United counterparts. Ings is available on a Bosman transfer at he end of the season and clubs should be queuing up at Turf Moor to sign him, While Harry Kane has got all the attention this season, Ings might be the best English striker in the Premier League this season.
Southampton fell to fourth place below the Red Devils after a 0-0 draw at home to West Ham in which visiting goalkeeper Adrian was sent off in the 61st minute for handling the ball outside his area.
Alan Pardew secured a point against his former side Newcastle United, as Crystal Palace came from behind to draw 1-1 at Selhurst Park. Papiss Cisses had put John Carver’s side into the lead just before the interval, but Fraizer Campbell’s equaliser 20 minutes from time was enough to see the spoils shared.
Brown Ideye continued his recent run of good form with a second goal in as many league games as West Bromwich Albion secured a 2-0 win over Swansea City. Saido Berahino doubled the Baggies’ advantage after Ideye’s opener to secure all three points.