Goalscorers: Mikel Arteta 38 PEN, Tim Howard 49 OG, Joseph Yobo 64, Frank Lampard 81, Didier Drogba 87
Everton: Tim Howard, Joleon Lescott, Phil Neville, Alan Stubbs, Joseph Yobo, Lee Carsley (James Beattie 90), Mikel Arteta, Leon Osman, Simon Davies, Victor Anichebe (James McFadden 90), Andy Johnson
Chelsea: Hilario, Geremi (Salomon Kalou 46), Ricardo Carvalho, Khalid Boulahrouz (Wayne Bridge 73), Ashley Cole, Claude Makelele, Michael Ballack, Michael Essien, Frank Lampard, Arjen Robben (Andriy Shevchenko 73), Didier Drogba
Referee: Mark Halsey, Attendance: 33,970
Reigning champions Chelsea knew they were going to be in for a tricky test away at Everton eight days before Christmas in 2006. The Blues had lost ground on Manchester United recently after drawing at home to Arsenal, whilst Everton had dropped to 10th after a 2-0 loss a week earlier away at Portsmouth.
Jose Mourinho had to cope without his leader and captain John Terry for this trip to Merseyside. Terry had sustained a back injury in training and his presence was missed in a first half which the home side largely controlled. Mikel Arteta was dominating the midfield and Andy Johnson was denied an early penalty when Terry’s replacement, Khalid Boulahrouz looked to have fouled the Everton frontman. Referee Mark Halsey wasn’t in the best position and rejected the claims after some advice from his better-placed officials.
Everton did get their spot-kick though on 38 minutes. The clumsy Boulahrouz wrestled Victor Anichebe to the ground. This time, there were no doubts. Arteta scored past Hilario, who was having an extended run in the side with Petr Cech out following his depressed skull fracture two months earlier.
Chelsea needed another attacking outlay and they brought on Salomon Kalou for the second half. Within five minutes, the west Londoners were level. Lee Carsley conceded an unnecessary free-kick and Michael Ballack made him pay. The German’s shot went in off the back of goalkeeper Tim Howard. Ballack would claim but it rightfully went down as an own goal against the luckless American.
Kalou then hit the post as Mourinho’s men started to take charge but against the run of play, Everton went back ahead. Joseph Yobo headed home from a set-piece for his first goal since November 2005. Heading into the last 10 minutes and it looked like Chelsea might be tasting defeat for only the second time in the season but their big-game players had other ideas.
First, Lampard was given too much time on the edge of the area and produced another of his trademark efforts from distance that flew past Howard. Three minutes from time, Drogba chested down a flick-on from substitute Andriy Shevchenko. He turned and struck a cracking long-range drive which convincingly beat Howard. He ran to the Chelsea fans, doing an iconic knee-slide on the turf on his way. This was a game that Chelsea had stolen without playing anywhere near their best.
Mourinho’s side won both domestic cups but ultimately had to play second-fiddle to Manchester United in the title race. Everton recovered from this late blow to finish an excellent sixth and qualify for the UEFA Cup.