Chelsea battle to critical 1-0 win at Everton

Chelsea boss Avram Grant made five changes from the side held at home by Wigan on Monday for this crunch Barclays Premier League clash.

Returning were Ashley Cole, Ricardo Carvalho, Joe Cole, Paulo Ferreira and Shaun Wright-Phillips.

Wayne Bridge, Alex, Florent Malouda, Michael Ballack and Juliano Belletti dropped out in what could have been Chelsea's last stand in the title race.

Everton also needed the points in their struggle to catch Liverpool in fourth, and they brought back Joseph Yobo, who made his 200th appearance for the club, for Leighton Baines.

In a scrappy game of few chances, Ghana international Essien produced a moment of class to separate the two teams five minutes before halftime.

Neat passing involving Salomon Kalou, Essien and Shaun Wright-Phillips ended with the ball deflecting off Phil Jagielka, straight into the path of Essien.

The Ghanaian kept running and lifted the ball into the top corner of Howard's goal with clinical ease.

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