"Frenetic", I suspect, is going to be the eigenword used to report that chaotic, heart-crushing, brilliant bastard of a match. It's not often a dour 0-0 draw like the one we'd been fed at halftime turns into an end-to-end dramatic masterpiece, and although the Blues only emerged with a point after John Terry's so-late-that-we-can't-even-call-it-last-minute equaliser, the outpouring of joy that greeted the sixth goal of the game made it feel like Chelsea had earned more than a point.
Of course, they didn't -- a 3-3 draw against Everton is worth just as much as the disappointing result against West Bromwich Albion -- but there's something to be said for feeling alive, especially feeling alive after what we went through both early and (very) late in the second half. Fighting back from 2-0 and 3-2 down to share the spoils naturally feels much better than coughing up two leads to the Baggies, after all.
If you've been paying attention to Chelsea at all this season -- if not, I don't blame you -- you will probably have noticed a curious fact: the Blues have only looked consistently awake while chasing games. Sometimes that gets us into trouble, since pushing forward in search of an equaliser is a good way to expose your defence, but there's a purposefulness and danger to their play when down that rarely exists with the score level or with a (rare) lead.
That impression was significantly strengthened by today's effort. Chelsea weren't appalling in the first half, but by and large didn't seem very interested in doing anything to their visitors, who were in sit-back-and-counter mode throughout. Willian's angled shot aside, the pre-break highlight was provided by Pedro*, who backtracked well to snuff out a chance and then embarked on a hilarious dribble that ended up with him running the ball out of play to concede a corner.
*Hypothesis: Pedro's starting in order to make Eden Hazard feel better about his form.
There were certainly miscues -- Kurt Zouma and Branislav Ivanovic were both heartily embarrassed by professional sneerer Kevin Mirallas -- but there was little sign of a goal blitz from the Toffees. If at the break you'd tried to put money down on a full time score of 3-3, you'd probably have been stopped for your own good. Nothing was happening and in all probability nothing would happen.
And then, five minutes after the break, things began to happen.
Romelu Lukaku failed to get on the scoresheet, but the former and not-much-loved Blue certainly did his fair share of damage on the opening goal. The 22-year-old bulldozed his way through half a dozen tackles with a thoroughly nonchalant run, then having dispatched the while Chelsea midfield, released Leighton Baines down the right. Not content with merely creating the opening, Lukaku chased the play, putting John Terry under enough pressure that the captain turned the incoming cross past Thibaut Courtois for an own goal.
At this point, Chelsea had one shot on target, so hope of a comeback seemed at best far-fetched. They seemed even more so shortly thereafter, when another cross from the Everton left reached Mirallas, who set himself up for a sweet turn and volley around professional hero John Obi Mikel. Being down 2-0 56 minutes in left plenty of time to turn the game around, but we'd displayed no inclination to do so. A loss felt inevitable, and I'm sure I wasn't the only one retroactively declaring the nothing first half a garden of paradise from which we'd foolishly escaped.
Then the unexpected happened again. Eight minutes after Mirallas had dropped us into that impossible-looking hole, we were handed a lifeline by Toffees skipper Phil Jagielka, who committed the cardinal sin of letting Cesc Fabregas's lofted pass bounce in front of him while Diego Costa was trying to chase it down. Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard tried to retrieve the situation by racing out to claim, but the move was thoroughly futile. Costa had nicked the ball away, his opponents had wiped each other out cartoon-style, and he was left free to blast into an empty net. Chelsea 1-2 Everton.
Hope is nice, but we've been burned too regularly this year to trust in it, and it was therefore a huge surprise to see a second Blues goal follow shortly after the first. While Costa's resulted from a route-one hoof, this time we got some nice buildup play, with the ball worked neatly around the edge of the box before Fabregas gained enough space to get a shot away from just inside the area. Howard, rendered helpless by a nasty deflection, could only watch as the equaliser trundled home.
Chelsea were clearly buoyed by drawing level, but if not for an excellent save from Courtois would have had the wind taken out of their sails soon after. Zouma, whose play was its usual combination of enthusiastic and physical but positionally deficient, got caught up the pitch, allowing Mirallas to break free down the centre. With Terry and Ivanovic in pursuit, Courtois was the only line of defence, and he did his job perfectly, racing out to block his compatriot's attempt and keep the match at 2-2.
Before Mirallas's miss, Everton had been dealt a cruel blow, seeing Bryan Oviedo stretchered off the pitch and replaced by Ramiro Funes Mori. Oviedo has a history of serious injuries, and this one looked bad at first -- fortunately it is apparently not serious. Funes Mori would have his role to play a little later.
The Blues had their chances to take the lead, most notably through Diego Costa, who somehow managed to miss a superb cross from Cesar Azpilicueta with the goal gaping. Perhaps the miss had something to do with the injury that would force him off in the 80th minute, but had it gone in we might well have ended up celebrating all three points rather than the one. Had Mikel's 84th-minute piledriver found the back of the net rather than flying just high and wide, however the universe would probably have ceased to exist, having found perfection, so perhaps it's for the best that we avoided that one.
We entered seven minutes of stoppage time (which was more than fair after six substitutions, four goals and lengthy treatment times for both Oviedo and Costa) at 2-2, and with Everton pushed up the pitch for a corner kick. Gerard Deulofeu's initial delivery wasn't very good, allowing Loïc Rémy to head clear at the far post, but said clearance went straight back to Deulofeu and had the unfortunate side-effect of deactivating both Zouma and Ivanovic, who stood still and watched a far-post cross go to two (completely unmarked!) white shirts. Funes Mori won the aerial battle with Lukaku to tap home what seemed like a sure winner.
Chelsea threw everything forward in the hopes of salvaging their unbeaten record since Jose Mourinho's sacking, but as time bled its way towards a heartbreaking loss the seven minutes were clearly not going to be enough. The clock ticked towards 97:00. Then it ticked beyond it. Well beyond it. And then John Terry scored while obviously offside.
It's easy to excuse the extra extra time as arising from the 90 seconds Everton spent celebrating their 'winner', but the offside call is completely indefensible. A long, hopeful ball was punted forward, helped along by Ivanovic and Oscar and then flicked past Howard with a spinning backheel thing from the captain, who was clearly a yard off when Oscar nodded it on. Not that the linesman noticed, and not that any supporter will care.
Thus ended an extremely silly match.