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Everton 1-0 Chelsea | Match Report By Sam Quine

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Everton held on to come out with 1-0 victory over Chelsea in a home setting which was a partial return to normality as 2000 fans were allowed into Goodison. The Everton faithful were very much the twelfth man when it came to their passionate support.

The Toffees went into the game on a run of poor form, winning only one of their last seven games and in direct opposition, Chelsea were 17 games unbeaten and look like real title contenders. This paired with the fact that Everton had key players missing through injury such as Lucas Digne, Seamus Coleman and James Rodriguez made the late Saturday kick off look a tough task for Carlo’s men.

Injuries forced the Italian manager to put together a makeshift back four with Mason Holgate taking up the right back role and Ben Godrey on the left which left fans bemused as to why bright youngster Niels Nkounkou continues to be left out of the squad entirely. The other change saw Gylfi Sigurdsson return to the starting lineup in order to add an extra man to a midfield that has struggled over recent weeks as well as adding creativity in the absence of James.

The game itself was nothing short of a defensive masterclass from Everton who, after taking the lead through a Sigurdsson penalty in the 22nd minute, limited Chelsea to crosses which hardly threatened the backline led by an unstoppable Michael Keane. Whilst the Toffees rode their luck at times with Reece James and Mason Mount seeing strikes hit the post, fans can come away saying they deserved all three points with confidence.

Despite the makeshift element surrounding the team, every single player put in a performance of passion, aggression and determination, fighting for every ball and the eventual clean sheet which is only the Blues’ second of the season. The player that epitomises this performance the most has to be Allan who was a rock in midfield, reminiscent of Idrissa Gana Gueye as well as the performances he was consistently showing for Napoli.

Other standout performers include; Godfrey who made the same amount of interceptions [5] as the entire Chelsea starting 11. Sigurdsson created six chances, the most by an Everton player in a single PL game in over two years. Finally Jordan Pickford deserves some plaudits who pulled off an array of fantastic saves to preserve the clean sheet and who looks to be on the way back to his best.

Despite the many positives that can be taken out of the game, Richarlison remains a player bereft of confidence when in front of goal. After being rejected to take the penalty by several players, the Brazilian’s head dropped, proceeding to miss two clear cut chances as well as lose the ball in dangerous positions. Every Everton fan knows the quality of the winger who, on his day, is one of the team’s most important players with his direct running, defensive work-rate and quick feet. However he needs to show a level of maturity sooner rather than later as his attitude is affecting his potential greatly.

Everton must push on from here as this result turns a difficult looking fixture list into one where points can be picked up at Leicester and Arsenal with more ease. This well-fought win must also signal the end of the three back formation as the pacey centre backs of Holgate and Godfrey have shown their capabilities out wide when facing a possession dominating opposition.

Player Ratings:
Jordan Pickford – 7
Ben Godfrey – 8
Michael Keane – 8
Yerry Mina – 7
Mason Holgate – 7
Allan – 9 (MOTM)
Abdoulaye Doucouré – 6
Gylfi Sigurdsson – 8
Alexander Iwobi – 7
Richarlison – 5
Dominic Calvert-Lewin – 7

Andre Gomes – 6
Tom Davies – N/A
Jonjoe Kenny – N/A