Chelsea’s first task today was to not let Everton turn the new manager bounce into an early goal, a buoyant home support, and increased confidence and energy for the game ahead.
We failed miserably at that, as Richarlison headed Everton into the lead inside of 5 minutes. No one picked up his run and Christensen was left to content with both of the two big men up top for the home side.
Duncan Ferguson’s back-to-Sunday-League-basics gameplan was hilarious, yet effective. Lump it forward to the big men, knock it down, play it towards goal. Direct as you like, but Chelsea were repeatedly exposed by it.
At the other end, Chelsea looked dangerous enough on the back of 70, at times even 80 per cent possession, but were repeatedly guilty of overplaying chances. Both teams finished with 4 shots in the first-half, despite a 25-75 possession split.
Chelsea’s second task today was to not repeat the mistakes of the first half, but some clownshoes defending on a simple clearance gifted a chance to Calvert-Lewin, who made no mistake and doubled Everton’s lead.
Kovačić pulled one back for Chelsea almost immediately with a fantastic guided finish from 25 yards out, but Chelsea struggled to build on that potential momentum swing. In fact, it took us until well into the final 10 minutes of the game to even find the next shot on target.
And then, instead of a goal to draw level, Chelsea managed to create a goal for Everton. A disaster, really.
- Chelsea unchanged from Wednesday. In fact, the only change to the matchday 18 was Barkley on the bench instead of Giroud.
- Like-for-like in Hudson-Odoi for Willian on 70 minutes. Then 3-4-1-2 for the final 10 or so with Batshuayi and Abraham both on.
- Chelsea dominate possession, but cannot turn it into an advantage on the scoreboard.
- Kovačić hadn’t scored in over 3 years. Now he has two goals in about 3 weeks.
- Next up: a must-win against Lille on Tuesday