Home Soccer News Everton blows away Chelsea’s top 4 finish hopes

Everton blows away Chelsea’s top 4 finish hopes

Chelsea

Maurizio Sarri’s side dominated possession in the first half with Eden Hazard striking the post and Pedro wasting a chance from close range. Chelsea wasted a chance to move closer to their top-four rivals as they were made to pay by a resurgent second half display by Everton.

But their profligacy was punished four minutes after the break as Richarlison headed in following a corner for his 13th goal of the season. And the visitors’ woes increased on 71 minutes when Richarlison was brought down in the penalty box by Marcos Alonso before Gylfi Sigurdsson scored the rebound from his own spot-kick.

As a result, the visitors failed to capitalise on their game in hand, and still sit sixth in the Premier League table, a point behind Manchester United, who they would have leapfrogged had they won. Victory would also have taken them level on points with fourth-placed Arsenal.

For Everton, a first home win since 13 January was a much-needed response following last weekend’s defeat at Newcastle in which Marco Silva’s side lost 3-2 having led by two goals.

In that game, Jordan Pickford was an erratic presence in goal, but this time where there was no dip from Silva’s side and the England goalkeeper made a remarkable save to stop Gonzalo Higuain’s deflected shot shortly after the hosts went ahead.

Everton end struggles at home

Four losses in the last six home games prior to this encounter had made Goodison Park a depressing place for Toffees fans.

Owner Farhad Moshiri has spent more than £300m since he took over the club, but an inconsistent season looked set to continue in a first half where Chelsea were well on top.

Chelsea

Chelsea’s early dominance came despite Silva using his programme notes to ask for a “fantastic” atmosphere similar to the goalless draw in the Merseyside derby two weeks ago and it was only after the break that the hosts came to life.

Andre Gomes followed his first-half shot with another rasping effort in front of the Gwladys Street End to give the home fans hope.

But Goodison erupted with delight when Richarlison headed in after Calvert-Lewin’s effort was saved by Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin came close to making it 2-0 when Bernard’s cross skipped over his sliding lunge but the hosts did go further ahead after 71 minutes as Sigurdsson converted after Chelsea’s goalkeeper had saved his penalty.

“Barkley, Barkley, what’s the score?”

Chelsea will rue this chance to put pressure on their rivals bidding to finish in the top four and secure Champions league football for next season.

They still have the backup of being able to qualify for next season’s competition by winning the Europa League, and on Friday they received a favourable quarter-final draw against Slavia Prague.

But with Tottenham and Manchester United both losing in the Premier League last weekend, and neither of those two or Arsenal in action this weekend, it was an opportunity to make up ground.

They had enough chances in the first half to earn a two-goal lead as Hazard hit the post and Pedro, Higuain and Ross Barkley could not convert from close range.

When they tried to respond in the second half, they were met with stern resistance from the Everton defence who appeared to learn the lessons from their defeat at Newcastle.

Pickford made two fine saves while Yerry Mina, making his first Premier League start since 29 December, was a strong presence in defence.

Chelsea’s day was summed up by former Everton midfielder Barkley, who was booed every time he touched the ball, before he was substituted after the hour.

In the closing stages, the home fans chanted: “Barkley, Barkley, what’s the score?”

That treatment all seemed fair game, but the only sour note was an object thrown towards the England midfielder after seven minutes from the Gwladys Street End which, fortunately, did not hit its target.

Man of the match – Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton)

‘Second half was everything I want’ – what they said…

Everton boss Marco Silva, speaking to BBC Sport: “I said we have to do everything different to the first half. They tried but not in the way we planned. We played forward, tried to create chances and that is our model.

“[The first half was] everything I don’t want and the second half was everything the way I want to play. I could see a desire to win the game and we could challenge a team like Chelsea. I’m very proud of the players because of what they did in the second half.”

Maurizio Sarri speaking to BBC Sport: “We played the first half really, really well. We could have scored in five or six different situations. We stopped playing. We didn’t defend. It is incredible.

“After a first half that was so good, the level of motivation was very high and the level of application was very high then suddenly we stopped. It is very difficult to explain.

“I am not concerned [by a lack of ruthlessness] because in the first half we created a lot of opportunities. Then, sooner or later you are able to score. I am worried about the second half!

“Of course today was important for us so now we have less opportunities. We have to fight and defend our opportunities.”

Only Fulham worse away from home than Chelsea in 2019 – stats

  • Chelsea have suffered defeat at Goodison Park without scoring a goal for the first time since September 2013, when they lost 0-1 under manager Jose Mourinho.
  • Everton have kept back-to-back home clean sheets in the Premier League for the first time since doing so against Fulham and Crystal Palace back in September and October earlier this season.
  • Only Fulham (six) have lost more Premier League games away from home in 2019 than Chelsea (P5 W1 D0 L4).
  • Despite scoring the rebound, Gylfi Sigurdsson has now missed three of his five Premier League penalties for Everton (60%). Indeed, 2018/19 is just the second Premier League season to see two different players miss at least three penalties (Paul Pogba being the other player) after 2003/04 (Alan Shearer and Ruud van Nistelrooy).
  • Chelsea’s Eden Hazard has now failed to score in each of his seven Premier League games at Goodison Park; his most appearances at a single away venue without finding the net in the competition.
  • Richarlison has scored 12 goals in the Premier League this season; only three players have netted more in the competition in their first season at Everton (15 – Kanchelskis, Yakubu and Lukaku).
  • Everton’s Jordan Pickford (25y 10d) became the fifth youngest English goalkeeper to make 100 Premier League appearances after Scott Carson, Joe Hart, Ian Walker and Paul Robinson.

What next?

After the international break, Everton travel to West Ham on Saturday 30 March while Chelsea face Cardiff City a day later.

Source: BBC News