Three things we learned from Chelsea - Everton
Billed as a top four clash, Chelsea - Everton proved that the Blues of west London are in a much better place than the Blues of Merseyside.
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A Ben Godfrey own goal in the first half set Chelsea on their way, while Jorginho’s penalty kick sealed the win as Everton never really got going at Stamford Bridge.
With the win Chelsea sit in fourth place on 50 points and remain unbeaten under Thomas Tuchel, while Everton have 46 points.
Three things we learned
1. Havertz happy in the hole: The German playmaker has had far from an ideal first season in England (a COVID-19 positive test hit his fitness and injuries have popped up) but this performance was his best yet. His shot deflected in for Chelsea’s first, he had a goal ruled out for a borderline handball and he won a penalty kick for their second goal. Havertz, 21, looked happy in the hole as he made leggy runs behind the Everton defense and found gaps just in front of it. One of the main reasons Tuchel was given the Chelsea job was to get the best out of Timo Werner and Havertz. The latter has a long way to go, but he is looking more like the young star who broke through at Bayer Leverkusen.
2. Defense first for Chelsea: Andreas Christensen, Cesar Azpilicueta and Kurt Zouma were dominant at center back and aside from the personnel in defense for Chelsea, their 3-4-2-1 shape is the key behind this newfound solidity. Tuchel demands intensity but he also seems to allow his Chelsea players to sit back and take a breather when they can, and the experience of Alonso, Rudiger, Azpilicueta, Jorginho and others is key to their game management. When Chelsea go in front at the moment, they don’t look like losing. That is a great trait to have and this success is built on defense.
3. Everton never got going: For a team who had won three games on the spin heading into this one, Everton never got going in attack and just couldn’t impose themselves on this game. Aside from the first 20 minutes, Ancelotti’s boys were overrun and in midfield they looked sluggish and couldn’t stop Chelsea from finding gaps to build attacks. This has been a great season for Everton but this was an off night.
Man of the Match: Kai Havertz - Deflected effort for the first goal, won the penalty for the second and made great runs in-behind throughout.
A tight, tense start saw Chelsea create chances from set pieces, while Everton chucked a few crosses into the box but started slowly.
Chelsea then took the lead as Callum Hudson-Odoi superbly picked out Marcos Alonso and his cross found Havertz as his shot went in via a deflection from Ben Godfrey.
Right before the break Alonso was played in but a combination of a block from Michael Keane and a great save from Jordan Pickford denied him as Chelsea pinned Everton back.
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Havertz thought he had doubled Chelsea’s lead early in the second half as he controlled and finished, but the referee ruled it out for handball and VAR agreed.
At the other end, a rare Everton counter picked out Richarlison but he was off balance at the crucial moment and sent his effort wide.
Hudson-Odoi curled a shot towards goal which Pickford had to push over, as Chelsea continued to dominate.
Pickford then made a rash challenge as he took out Havertz in the box to give away a penalty kick.
Jorginho slotted home the penalty to seal Chelsea’s win, as Pickford denied Werner and substitutes N’Golo Kante and Mason Mount late on.