Ruthless Chelsea see off Everton

Chelsea 3 Everton 1

Goals from Daniel Sturridge, John Terry and Ramires gave Chelsea their third consecutive league victory.

Sturridge set the Blues on their way, heading home Ashley Cole’s 31st-minute cross, before Terry headed in the second after a mistake by goalkeeper Tim Howard.

The impressive Juan Mata crossed for Ramires to score midway through the second half, meaning Apostolos Vellios’ late tap-in – the substitute’s first touch of the ball – was no more than a consolation for Everton.

The Merseysiders worked hard but lacked a cutting edge – as shown when Maroune Fellaini’s hesitation after being picked out by Leighton Baines’ cross allowed John Obi Mikel to make a fine last-ditch challenge.

Everton were punished for that, finding themselves behind after Chelsea’s first significant effort on goal.

Sturridge’s diving header was his eighth goal in nine matches – justifying his pre-season confidence that he could establish himself as a first-team regular at Stamford Bridge.

And Chelsea doubled their lead just before the interval courtesy of Howard, who failed to claim Frank Lampard’s free-kick, enabling Terry to bundle the ball in.

The visitors improved after the break and went close to pulling a goal back when Leon Osman’s shot struck the outside of the post.

But Chelsea are so often effective on the counter-attack and proved it once again when Didier Drogba and Mata combined to set up Ramires, who had the simple task of netting from a yard out.

Ramires then limped off, seemingly with a knee problem, which will be of some concern to manager Andre Villas-Boas.

So too may be Chelsea’s defending for Everton’s goal, which came when Vellios tucked away Royston Drenthe’s cross.

But the game was won by that stage, and Howard kept out Lampard’s late drive to deny Chelsea a fourth.