It was quiet week in Europe for Croatians as only the English Premier League was in session. The Bundesliga is on winter break until mid-January while Serie A and La Liga take a one week hiatus to start the new year.
Nikica Jelavić could very well be in a drought, but in no way is to lack of talent or effort. Everton’s Croatian striker hit the post twice versus Chelsea Sunday afternoon in a 2-1 loss, sending the Toffees to sixth place on the table and three points behind a Champions League spot. Everton got on the board quickly, with Steven Pienaar cleaning up a Victor Anichebe header off the post from the center of the box 68 seconds into the match. It was then Jelavić who would start his unlucky day in the 8th minute of play, striking a free kick from 22 yards out through the wall and square off the left post.
In a match between two potentially top-4 clubs in England, a goal by Jelavić that early in the game to make it 2-0 could have been a serious momentum-changer for the rest of the season. Instead, Jelavić’s unluckiness continued in the 36th minute when his shot to the far right corner of the net following a short break was fingered away by Chelsea goalie Petr Cech. Chelsea’s captain, Frank Lampard would equalize for the Blues in the 42nd minute off a header that would freeze Everton keeper Tim Howard. The game would go into the break at 1-1, with Everton dominating the first half.
Jelavić would once again hit the post in the 69th minute, heading a cross from the center of the box from a tough angle off the crossbar. It would have given Everton the lead, but instead, Lampard would clean up a loose ball in front of the net to give Chelsea the game-winning goal three minutes later.
Jelavić was inches away from a hat trick against Chelsea; but will walk away with nothing in a pivotal 2-1 loss.
Mladen Petrić now has not not played in three matches for Fulham as he nurses a mild leg injury. On Saturday, the Cottagers drew newly promoted club Southampton 1-1 which gives Fulham only 21 points through the first 20 matches of the season. They are only four points safe from the relegation zone. Petrić has five Premiership goals for Fulham in 12 games played this season.