Chelsea’s defense let it down for a change, as the Blues momentum was slowed by Everton in a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Ellis Simms cooked veteran defender Kalidou Koulibaly to score his first Premier League on the edge of stoppage time to give Sean Dyche’s men another valuable point In their fight for PL safety.
Joao Felix gave Chelsea a lead and Kai Havertz restored it after Abdoulaye Doucoure brought Everton level in the 69th minute.
Chelsea had been eyeing a return to the Europa League places and maybe, just maybe, a surprising surge into the top four discussion by season’s end. Instead, it’s 38 points and 10th place ahead of Aston Villa on goal differential.
Everton remains 15th on the Premier League table. Even though that’s just two points off 18th and three points off the PL cellar, Sean Dyche will know that consistent performances like this are the key to more belief.
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Dyche’s disagreeable Toffees expose Chelsea attitude
It’s not that Chelsea’s men didn’t work, or that Graham Potter didn’t tell them to fight for their points at Stamford Bridge.
Rather, this is all about Sean Dyche’s men showing up ready to work harder than their foes even when trailing, and to never say die on the occasion.
And that would’ve been apparent to anyone even if Everton didn’t manage their second equalizer, which was as feel-good as it gets considering it was (mostly) homegrown Ellis Simms just taking a world-class defender in Kalidou Koulibaly to mat.
If there’s anything more Sean Dyche than coming back from down twice thanks to two big, ornery scorers bulling their way to goals, we’re not sure what it is.
As for Chelsea, Graham Potter now has a couple of weeks to make sure there’s nothing less Graham Potter than throwing up two leads at home.
Chelsea vs Everton player ratings: Stars of the Show
Joao Felix: His pairing with Kai Havertz up top -- Christian Pulisic was slotted to play on the left but ended up doing the dirty work deeper in the pitch -- yielded plenty of chances. There’s naivete there, but it’s working.
Abdoulaye Doucoure: Frank Lampard didn’t want anything to do with the midfielder, and that’s proving to look downright silly. A goal and an assist amidst less than 30 touches.
Michael Keane: This was a Sean Dyche center back performances. Keane had 11 clearances, eight by header, to go with nine recoveries.
Everton has to love this point, which comes before meeting Tottenham (April 3) and Manchester United (April 8) in a six-day span.
Chelsea has a tricky four days ahead of it after the international break, with surging Aston Vila (April 1) and wounded and theoretically ornery Liverpool (April 4).
Joao Felix goal video: Chelsea takes second-half lead
Abdoulaye Doucoure goal video: GDS sees header over the line
Kai Havertz goal video: German slots penalty to restore lead
Ellis Simms goal video: Academy phenom gets first PL goal
How to watch Chelsea vs Everton live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 11am ET SaturdayTV Channel: USA NetworkOnline: Stream via NBCSports.com
Key storylines & star players
Might we see more of Christian Pulisic? The American playmaker looked bright in a cameo against old club Borussia Dortmund following a long spell out but did not play against Leicester City. Kai Havertz has scored in consecutive games and is rewarding Graham Potter for faith as the Chelsea boss continued to start the ex-Bayer Leverkusen man despite a run of ineffective play.
Everton has wins over Leeds and Brentford in recent weeks but has had trouble with Big Six teams including shutouts at the hands of Liverpool and Arsenal. Dyche won’t have to look too far back to see a 1-0 win over Arsenal, a day which saw Jordan Pickford star between the sticks. Pickford has been instrumental in Everton’s last three wins but has also allowed multiple goals in the other four matches since the start of December. He must show up at Stamford.
Chelsea team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Thiago Silva (knee), Cesar Azpilicueta (head), Armando Broja (knee), Raheem Sterling (hamstring), Mason Mount (abdominal), Edouard Mendy (shoulder), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (back)
Everton team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Andros Townsend (knee), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (thigh), Nathan Patterson (fitness)