Jimmy Downs Everton But Fans Remain
|Hasselbaink 31, 33||Campbell 2|
|FA Carling Premiership|
Scott Barefoot reports
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink cancelled out Kevin Campbell's early strike with two superb goals in two minutes to put Chelsea on the verge of a UEFA Cup place.
The Blues need three points from their last two games to qualify for Europe. But even if they succeed, it won't hide the fact that this has been a season of under-achievement for a side who remain capable of playing fantasy football but have finished well off the pace.
And the Stamford Bridge faithful once again demonstrated that they are yet to be convinced by manager Claudio Ranieri's footballing philosophy, as they roundly mocked his judgement when he decided to take off hero Gianfranco Zola eight minutes from the end.
With Chelsea's nerves being shredded by Walter Smith's plucky Everton side, the fans chanted "Vialli, Vialli" in testament to the man whose Bridge was burnt in September, as the current Blues boss committed his latest public relations blunder by removing the impish Italian.
Zola thrilled his adoring admirers by agreeing a new two-year deal earlier this week when all the odds had pointed to him leaving at the end of the season, and he had given everything to the cause as the Toffees' threatened to leave a bitter taste in the mouths of their hosts.
But the jeers soon turned to cheers as the gifted 34-year-old Sardinian led a parade of his fellow players at the end of the last home game of the campaign. Chelsea should have walked away with the points despite carelessly conceding a second-minute goal to Campbell's header.
Hasselbaink made up for some sloppy finishing as he grabbed the plaudits with two wonder-strikes. Chelsea had dominated but Everton, who had been on the back-foot for nearly 70 minutes, suddenly discovered some late verve to almost wreck the party.
They caught their hosts cold when Gus Poyet needlessly put out Steve Watson's harmless cross for a corner. Idan Tal's flag kick from the left sailed beyond the far post and Watson clipped it back into the goalmouth where the unmarked Campbell headed home.
Chelsea fielded a bold, attacking line-up with Zola supporting strikers Hasselbaink and Eidur Gudjohnsen, but they made little headway against a hard-working Everton defence in the first 10 minutes.
Zola fired a 25-yard free-kick over the top after Tal's late challenge on Jody Morris, but Hasselbaink soon made amends with a lovely piece of work to equalise for Chelsea a minute past the half-hour mark, and an even better finish to grab the lead less than two minutes later.
Poyet's low, diagonal ball in from the left found him on the edge of the area where he turned Michael Ball and ran on to slot past Gerrard for his 22nd goal of the season. And before Everton could regroup, the Dutchman registered his 23rd with a perfect chip after a flowing move between Zola, Poyet and Gudjohnsen.
Poyet almost added a third for rampant Chelsea on 38 minutes when he headed just over from Zola's cross after another smart attack opened up Everton.
Mario Melchiot and Poyet were only just denied by last-ditch tackles before Weir saved Everton in the 62nd minute, heading away from underneath his crossbar when Jesper Gronkjaer, who had replaced Gudjohnsen, put over a teasing cross towards Poyet.
Everton finally roused themselves to force a couple of corners and a superb cross-field ball by Mark Pembridge found Tal who cut in from the right to fire a low drive which extracted Carlo Cudicini's first real save of the match in the 68th minute.
Chelsea may well have made it on to the continent again but their fans - not to mention their chairman Ken Bates - will not tolerate another season of domestic failure.
Man of the match: John Terry (Chelsea)
Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink bagged the crucial goals but this England youngster proved that he is progressing into an accomplished defender with another solid display.
Chelsea: Cudicini, Melchiot, Le
Saux, Desailly, Terry, Wise, Poyet (Babayaro 75), Morris, Hasselbaink, Zola (Jokanovic
84), Gudjohnsen (Gronkjaer 60).
Subs Not Used: de Goey, Dalla Bona.
Everton: Gerrard, Steve Watson,
Weir, Unsworth, Ball, Pembridge (McLeod 82), Campbell, Alexandersson (Naysmith
Gemmill, Moore (Jevons 70), Tal.
Subs Not Used: Simonsen, Hibbert.
Ref: R Harris (Oxford).