JOSE Mourinho's Chelsea slumped to their first defeat in the league this season, with a crazy and often clueless performance at Goodison Park.
An opening 45 minutes was characterised by a performance that offered too little; a following 45 by a performance that often seemed to offer too much.
Either way – the goal failed to come. Romelu Lukaku was paraded on the Goodison pitch pre-match: holding aloft an Everton shirt, to a standing ovation from both home fans and visitors. Look at what you could have won, Chelsea.
Once things were under-way, the man who replaced Lukaku in the Chelsea packing order, for now at least, was to have the first chance. Four minutes in, a Ramires cross found the head of the Samuel Eto'o (pictured) in the box – his glancing nod sending it over the bar.
Minutes later, it was an Everton head that almost broke the deadlock: Nikica Jelavic beating David Luiz to send an angled effort low – Petr Cech diving to save.
The half rumbled on – with little to report from the pitch, and Chelsea's travelling support making up most of the entertainment value.
Half an hour in Tm Howard dropped a proper clanger in the back-pass department. The ball was somehow squared for Eto'o – who found himself with an open goal. But Gareth Barry, not henceforth known for his lightning reflexes, dived in to make a superlative defensive recovery.
Everton had their best chance so far moments later: Kevin Mirallas skinning Ashley Cole to square for a shot Steven Naismith inexplicably failed to put away.
The game continued in the same vein – Chelsea, in particular, squandering chances. The fourth official put up the board for one minute added time and Chelsea seemed to mentally step down the tunnel. One or two of them, Eden Hazard we're looking at you, seemed keen to be as close as they could get to the technical area to have first dibs on the orange segments.
Everton slid through the hapless Blues, like a hot knife through butter: taking Chelsea's vulnerable left flank by surprise. Jelavic nodded the cross on from the far post, and Naismith put it away.
Mourinho made no changes at half time, and Chelsea came out with what looked like more fight. But they still lacked the final connection needed to equalise – often over-cooking the pudding.
Just before the hour, Mourinho shuffled the pack: switching Juan Mata and Andre Schurrle for fresh legs, in Oscar and Frank Lampard.
The first thing the Brazilian did was to bustle into the box – being closed down from both sides and hitting the deck. Many thought it a penalty – crucially, Howard Webb did not.
Chelsea continued to up the pressure. Branislav Ivanovic tried to head in a corner, but only succeeded in handling it – getting a yellow card in the process.
Mourinho gave the dice another roll. This time Fernando Torres came on for Ashley Cole. And there followed a period that can only be described as Crazy Football. Up one end, up the other – back and forward like a playground match. Anything might happen.
Everton didn't look certain whether to consolidate or pounce. Chelsea knew what they had to do – but didn't seem able. The chaos endured to the final seconds. As did Chelsea's profligacy up front.
A first defeat in the league for Mourinho Mark 2. The Champions League beckons on Wednesday.