Combatants on both sides will need to focus their attention firmly on the pitch, but if they can go against recent history then Chelsea will aim to prove that their mini-crisis is over. Last season’s player of the year continues to misfire and his decision to blast the penalty kick rather than place the ball either side of the goalkeeper, as is his way, reflects this.
But the visitors showed their resolve thereafter, with Ramires’ wonder strike and Willian’s fortuitous goal ensuring they left the north-east with a point.
But it all could have been so different for the home side on Saturday.
Kurt Zouma and Branislav Ivanovic failed to deal with a long cross in to the box and Perez reacted quickest to fire the ball home from eight yards.
Roberto Martinez has flourished at Goodison Park without the burden of Europa League football hanging over him and his side. You might not agree (in which case let us know why) – but that’s half the fun.
Begovic was called into action on the half-hour mark as Perez combined with Daryl Janmaat and the Dutchman forced a reaction save out of the former Stoke City stopper at close range.
Tonight, they were applauded off at half time after earning a slender, but deserved, 1-0 half-time lead over the champions, with the noise from St James’ Park likely being heard on Wearside.
However, Mourinho quickly shuffled his pack and two of his substitutes did the trick when Ramires reduced the deficit with a 79th-minute piledriver and Willian levelled direct from a free-kick with just four minutes remaining. At the start of last season the Premier League was in front of the Bundesliga but the very bad displays of Liverpool in the Champions League group stages cost us.
Three consecutive Chelsea victories in little more than a week has given the club a much-needed fillip ahead of the arduous trek from the capital to play Newcastle United in the Premier League on Saturday.
And when asked about the pressure now on Newcastle Untied manager Steve McClaren, Mourinho couldn’t resist bringing the subject back to the match with Arsenal and, even without mentioning him by name, his ongoing feud with their manager, Arsene Wenger. They’re going to take a good hard look at themselves and somehow end up better…at least so we’re told. The second half was really good. I think everybody, certainly from the outside looking in, everyone was clamoring for change at Newcastle United from the top right the way through.