The Chelsea captain must be given a contract extension, the best Diego Costa is an angry one and other things we learned from Chelsea 3 Everton 3
By Coral Barry
Terry still has much to offer
It was eight minutes into added time when John Terry made a last-ditch dash into the penalty and reverse flicked in the equaliser with the most sublime of finishes. This demonstrated not only a superb technique but the captain’s desire and never-say-die spirit. The celebration was perhaps overblown but no one could say Terry’s enthusiasm has waned. The 35-year-old still has much to offer as an example and inspiration, and should be awarded a contract extension at the end of the season.
Costa at his best at boiling point
Whatever people think of the Brazilian bull, Costa’s game almost relies upon the volcano continually simmering. The striker’s attitude and aggression was the catalyst for the Chelsea revival. With his team 2-0 down and facing their ninth Premier League defeat of the season, he got the first goal after bullying Phil Jagielka off a ball played over the top. He then provided a beautiful back-heel assist for Cesc Fabregas’ equaliser. Many now regard him as a problem child, but it was noticeable that when he was withdrawn at the 80-minute mark, much of Chelsea’s intensity departed with him.
Lukuku the one that got away
The Belgian has hit 15 league goals already this season and, although he did not add to his outstanding tally today, his former employers were reminded that Everton got the better of the £22million deal that took him away from Stamford Bridge in 2014. Romelu Lukaku’s combination of strength, tenacity and awareness created Everton’s opener as he bulldozed his way past half the Chelsea team on his way to releasing Ross Barkley, who, in turn, set Leighton Baines free. Lukaku then caused all sorts of problems in the box in the lead up to Everton’s third goal. With Costa singlehandedly carrying Chelsea’s attack on his broad shoulders, Lukaku is the one who got away.
Willian is the priority
If Chelsea finish in the bottom half of the table, get knocked out by Paris Saint Germain in the Champions League in February and fail to make the most of their FA Cup opportunity, then signing Willain to a new long-term contract at the club will one of the highlights of a wretched season. The Brazilian is on the brink of securing a new £120,000 a week five-year contract, as revealed by Football Insider, after months of negotiations and it will be a relief to everyone at the club. The intelligent winger was again on form today as he and Costa led the Blues’ fightback and was one of the few scrappers in a blue jersey left when Costa went off. His renewal of commitment to the club in such a dismal season will be crucial to Chelsea reversing their drastic decline.
Relegation not a fear for Chelsea
Guus Hiddink may not be able to make up his mind whether he is fighting for top four or survival, but for the rest of us, Chelsea are far too good to get mixed up in a relegation battle. The presence of Willian and Costa’s renaissance means Chelsea simply have too much quality to go down. Coming back from 2-0 down is no small feat, but getting an equalising goal in the 98th minute shows Chelsea have plenty of fight still in them. The Londoners will not break into the top four, that is for sure, but a season ticket to the Championship? No chance.