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Venue: Goodison Park, Liverpool
FA Cup
 Saturday 12 March 2015; 5:30pm
2 0
 Lukaku 78', 82'
Half Time: 0 - 0
Attendance: 37,283
Referee: Michael Oliver

Matchday Updates

Everton in the shape of sharp-shooting Romelu Lukaku drove a massive stake into the poor season Chelsea are having with a tremendous pair of goals to win this FA Cup Quarter-Final tie, and secure a visit to Wembley.

Ramiro Funes Mori was selected ahead of John Stones as a key part of the impregnable Everton defence that has been the object of intense scrutiny from opposition sides, pundits and fans alike. Tom Cleverley also returned with the ever-lively Aaron Lennon making his seventh successive start in a run that has seen him score four excellent goals.

Leighton Baines started despite claims from Martinez that his game is suffering from a chronic ankle problem. Mo Besic had to kick his heels on the bench alongside John Stones, where the enigmatic genius of Gerard Deulofeu remained unused again in this season's campaign to put Everton's name on the famous old trophy.

Chelsea, wearing white yet anything but pure, kicked off but Everton went forward, Baines firing in on Courtois. Everton then broke well down the right as Barry picked out Lukaku but it came to nought. Matic and Kenedy then combined to fashion a chance that was lashed well over the Gwladys Street goal.

Michael Oliver did well to play advantage as Lukaku was fouled, and then brought play back but the Blues did little with the free-kick, although there had been good forward impetus when they did get possession, until they reverted to "pass the parcel" back to Robles. Azpilicueta then fouled Baines but another free-kick was wasted, Barry then catching Diego Costa, who reacted later by clattering Barry and playacting pathetically before jumping up in aggression... A very sensible yellow card from Oliver.

Funes Mori was next to inhibit the hugely unpopular striker as Everton looked to play hard-ball. Lukaku fired a cross a little too hard at Lennon who could not control his shot. Barry was then called for a foul but Chelsea failed to use the chance and Everton were attacking with some intent down the right Coleman going in strong on Pedro. Great to see the Blues showing some much needed feistiness to spice up the contest!

Kenedy then went in on Coleman and that riled the crowd again as the game kept getting broken up by stoppages that helped neither side. Chelsea started to string their play together with more cohesion, Costa collapsing in the Everton area under gentle pressure from Jagielka. Everton attacked through the middle, but were lacking ideas against a well-formed Chelsea defence that kept them well away from the Chelsea area despite some sustained pressure.

Again and again, the Blues player was forced to turn back, as Kenedy got a good talking to for his third infraction; should have been another card. From the free-kick, Cleverley made himself a chance to turn and shoot but well off target. Everton almost got behind Chelsea's solid defence down the right and earned a corner that was delivered well by Baines but headed away. Coleman then crossed a little too deep for Lukaku at the far post.

Kenedy stole the ball easily off Lennon and ran at Jagielka who was solid in defence. Coleman almost got done, passing the parcel rather than clearing it upfield, as the Blues expected to get more space to play their passing game, but the pressing was relentless. Pedro almost made something, running in ahead of Robles but playing it behind.

Lennon looked to run down the right but again, the ball was lost, and then Lennon called offside. Chelsea continued to probe dangerously but the Everton defence was doing its job effectively enough; however, the visitors were looking the brighter as they turned the screw a little, with Everton largely pinned back, Barkley almost invisible.

Jagielka was then card after fouling Fabregas. Willian set himself behind the set-piece and fired in a tremendous shot that Robles did well to divert over the bar. The Chelsea corner was punched away convincingly by Robles.

Everton finally attacked, Baines running forward and cutting back to Cleverley who did not hit it hard enough. A somewhat fractious a disjointed half came to an end with few real chance to write home about as both sides had pretty evenly cancelled each-other out.

No changes for the second half, as Everton kicked off but Chelsea were strong in their midfield possession. When the Blues did get the ball, again it was more "pass the parcel" back to Robles and they were lucky to get a free-kick, maddeningly played backwards... but somehow they got a corner and Funes Mori met it perfectly but headed just over whn he perhaps should have scored.

The game finally livened up a little as Robles could only flap at a cross, but the Blues played it out of defence and Barkley almost set Lukaku free but fro an excellent sliding tackle. A free kick a little far out was curled in by Baines to Funes Mori, maddeningly declared offside.

Lennon did well to win a corner that Baines put in too low but it ran through everyone and harmlessly away. Costa got sandwiched between Baines and Barry, landing heavily on Baines. Costa broke through on a good ball from Fabregas and ran in well, rounded Robles but fired right along the byeline with the goal gaping.

Everton were in danger of being too cautious as the need to defend was perhaps being overly indulged at the expense of attacking initiative, and it was drawing Chelsea to be more and more attacking... perhaps a cunning tactic to create space behind... but it felt increasingly risky. Fabregas was booked for catching Barry.

Coleman and Lukaku combined to win another corner that Baines curled deep but Courtois did his job well. Chelsea attacked but Everton broke with better pace, McCarthy unable to pick out Lukaku and Costa was running at Jagielka. Everton kept attacking as the tension reached new levels, but could not get a sight of goal. But from an Everton corner., it seemed to fall perfectly but could not be converted at short range.

Then Coleman created another chance, but Lennon's cut back was loose and Baines running in for a rocket was denied by Barry, Barkley lashing one from a wide angle high over the bar. With time now ticking away, Martinez was content to watch rather than intervene, the players showing more inventiveness but still failing to produce the right final ball.

Again, Lennon got forward and played the inviting low cross, and again, no-one wanted the responsibility of firing at the Chelsea goal. Lukaku failed to take the ball around Courtois, as they felt the urgency for more pressure, while Oscar replaced Willian with 17 minutes left. Chelsea attacked and Coleman was forced to put it behind for a corner, headed away strongly by Barkley in defence. Lennon again got forward well but this time overhit his cross when better as required.

Finally a change looked to be coming from Martinez, and it was to be Gerard Deulofeu finally being given a very limited chance to get in the game and show his magic. But before it could happen, Barkley picked out Lukaku, pushing him wide left with a very intelligent ball and, almost from the touchline, Lukaku produced a slalom a skier would have been proud of, dancing through four bemused defenders to fire low past Courtois, a truly outstanding effort after tremendous close control. Goodison went wild in recognition of an excellent moment.

From a Chelsea throw-in minutes later, Barkley again laid the ball perfectly through to Lukaku who was not offside and again the Big Man advanced and fired low in the other direction, with the other foot, to give Everton a fantastic 2-0 lead.

With Goodison rampant, Diego Costa reacted to a challenge from Barry and saw a second yellow... Barry niggled him with a bad tackle, at which point Costa got straight up and ran at Barry. First he stuck his head into Barry, then he seemed to be about to bite Barrys neck, with Barry being booked for the original foul. This surreal moment was quickly followed by the same fate befalling Gareth Barry after he needlessly clipped Fabregas. John Terry came on for Chelsea, while Stones then replaced Lennon to see out the game. With Besic then replacing Barkley, whose two brilliant plays had changed this game.

In added time, to a tremendous ovation, Lukaku walked off milking the crescendo, Oumar Niasse coming on for the final minute or two.

A tremendous performance and result in the end the perfect antedote to last weekend's dreadful denouement. Everton are on their way to Wembley for an FA Cup semi-final.

Everton: Robles; Coleman, Funes Mori, Jagielka [Y:43'], Baines; McCarthy, Barry [Y:84' YR:86'] Lennon (88' Stones), Cleverley, Barkley (90+2' Besic); Lukaku (90+4' Niasse).
Subs not Used: Howard, Osman, Deulofeu, Kone.

Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic, Kenedy (85' Terry); Mikel, Matic (82' Remy); Willian (73' Oscar), Fabregas [Y:62'], Pedro; Diego Costa [Y:11' YR:84'].
Subs not Used: Begovic, Baba Rahman, Loftus-Cheek, Traore.

Referee: Michael Oliver

Michael Kenrick

Match Preview

Everton go head-to-head with Chelsea this weekend in an FA Cup Quarter Final tie that has taken on massive importance for both teams.

With the reigning Champions well out of the title race and now out of Europe, this particular road to Wembley represents the last chance for either side to land a trophy this season as they have struggled through their respective difficulties on the pitch.

Since sacking Jose Mourinho, Chelsea under Guus Hiddink have been on an impressive run of form. A 13-match unbeaten run in the Premier League has lifted them above the Toffees and into contention for a Europa League qualification place.

Everton, meanwhile, have dropped back into the bottom half of the table and with no sign that they are capable of stringing together a sequence of wins down the final stretch that could push them into the top six, the cup feels like the best route into Europe for Roberto Martinezs side.

With that in mind, while Martinez could never admit it indeed, he has denied it as would be expected Evertons season effectively rests on the outcome of this tie. Win and the Blues are a step closer to the Final and have a date at Wembley in the last four the plan for. Lose and it probably is curtains for 2015-16 with two months of the campaign still to go. The Catalan has time and un unpredictable Premier League on his side but even though he insists his team is well-positioned heading into the final 10 games, the form book suggests all his eggs should be in an FA Cup-sized basket.

Martinez will be forced into at least one change to the team that started against West Ham. Kevin Mirallas serves the first match of a two-game ban for his second red card of the season, creating a vacancy on the left side of midfield that could be filled by Tom Cleverley or Muhamed Besic.

Both are fully fit now following illness and a hamstring injury respectively which, when combined with Gareth Barrys return to full availability following the chest infection that also sidelined Cleverley, it poses a selection dilemma for Martinez. Cleverley has been deployed on the left on a number of occasions already this season while Besic was named in that position against Chelsea in the League back in September but succumbed to an early injury.

Meanwhile, Aaron Lennon has been listed by the club as doubtful because of a hamstring complaint and Bryan Oviedos hospitalisation with bronchitis in midweek means he is in the same boat as the manager prepares for tomorrows late-afternoon kick-off. The former is, perhaps, the more likely of the two to play this weekend and assuming the Costa Rican misses out, Leighton Baines could start despite the reported discomfort he has been experiencing in his ankle. Gerard Deulofeu could get the nod after weeks of inacitivity if Lennon doesn't make it.

Then there is the question of central defence where John Stones's return to fitness has presented a selection problem that the manager attempted to deal with by fielding a back three last weekend, Stones was sacrificed at half-time following Mirallas's first-half dismissal but there is speculation that Ramiro Funes Mori's central involvement in all three of the Hammers' goals might push Martinez to pull him out of the starting XI after an extended run of impressive form in the side.

Chelsea, meanwhile, didnt come out of their Champions League Round of 16 second leg against Paris St Germain without picking up a couple of injury doubts of their own.

Diego Costa was forced off in the second half of that game with a thigh tendon problem and he was followed soon afterwards by Eden Hazard whose ongoing groin issues have prompted talk in the press from his father who claims that Chelsea are forcing him to play through pain this season.

Hazard, last years Player of the Year, has echoed the Londoners general form this term and been below par for much of the campaign, and while the noises out of Stamford Bridge today have suggested the Belgian will be available, its hard to imagine he will be firing on all cylinders.

Costa, however, has shown a propensity to recover quickly from knocks of his own in the past and could pass a late fitness test. John Terry, returning from a hamstring strain, will all be assessed late before Hiddink makes any final decisions.

As they showed in September albeit thanks to the now-departed Steven Naismiths goals when they beat Mourinhos men handily and in January at Stamford Bridge in that infamous 3-3 draw, Everton can more than match Chelsea when theyre in the mood. They also demonstrated in the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg against Manchester City that they can thrive in a raucous cup-tie atmosphere under the Goodison lights and overcome a top team.

The Blues will have to draw on all of their collective spirit and determination for this one to ensure that 2015-16 does not fizzle out into nothing more than weeks of recriminations and regret. For Martinez, personally, the result of the tie is likely to dictate how much pressure he will be under in the coming weeks amid increasing restlessness and concern among the fanbase.

Kick-off: 5.30pm
Michael Oliver
Predicted Line-up:
Robles, Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Baines, Barry, McCarthy, Besic, Lennon, Barkley, Lukaku

Lyndon Lloyd

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Match Preview
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 Match reports
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  Funes Mori
  Lennon (Stones 88')
  Barkley (Besic 90+2')
  Lukaku (Niasse 90')
  Subs not used
  Oviedo (ill)
  Browning (injured)
  Mirallas (suspended)
  Ledson (loan)
  McAleny (loan)
  McGeady (loan)
  Kenedy (Terry 85')
  Matic (Remy 82')
  Willian (Oscar 73')
  Subs not used

Cup Scores
Reading 0-2 C Palace
Everton 2-0 Chelsea
Arsenal - Watford
Man United - West Ham


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