Chelsea maintained their seven point gap at the top of the Premier League, after Willian's last minute, long range blast gave them victory at Stamford Bridge over ten-man Everton.

For most of the game the Blues struggled to find a way to pass brilliant Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard, and it appeared that they were settling to have their lead at the top of the table reduced to five points, after Manchester City's dramatic 4-1 away win at Stoke. The US international goalkeeper Howard, 35, was having an inspired performance, after returning from a calf injury that kept him out since Boxing Day.

He was making a string of outstanding saves from kicks sent by Nemanja Matic, 26, Willian, 26 and Loic Remy, 27.

Overall, it was an unconvincing performance from Mourinho's men, with wingers Willian, 26, and Cuadrado, 26, both squandered chances, before Howard saved Remy's header. Everton also threatened on the counter-attack through Ross Barkley, 20, who provided a cross for Lukaku but his shot was saved by a terrific Petr Cech. The former Czech international made an even more important save from Lukaku second attempt, after a cross along the corridor of death by Costa Rican Bryan Oviedo saw the Belgian striker free in the six-yard box. The 32 year-old goalkeeper was enjoying a rare start ahead of Thibaut Courtois, that would have given Moreno a selection headache.

Time appeared to be running out for Chelsea, when Matic had a late goal disallowed because of a flick off Ivanovic, who was in an offside position. The game looked as though it was going to be a bore draw.

Willian's late goal came moments after former City midfielder Gareth Barry, 33, was sent off for a second booking after a scuffle broke out, and Chelsea used their numerical advantage over ten-man Everton.

The Blues' Branislav Ivanovic appeared lucky not to also see red for his part in the subsequent brawl.

It was a dramatic conclusion to not so convincing performance by the Blues, who, in the end, managed to maintain their seven point gap at the top of the table.