Chelsea beat Everton to strengthen top-four hopes

Ben Godfrey’s own goal was the first time Everton had conceded in four matches

Chelsea scored a goal in each half to see off top-four rivals Everton and maintain Thomas Tuchel’s unbeaten start as Blues boss.

The hosts took the lead when Kai Havertz’s shot took a big deflection off Toffees defender Ben Godfrey.

England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford made a fine save to deny Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso and Havertz thought he had scored, but had handled the ball before finishing.

However, the hosts doubled their lead through a Jorginho penalty after Pickford brought down the impressive Havertz.

With 10 league games of the season left, Chelsea remain fourth and in the last Champions League qualifying spot, only three points behind third-placed Leicester and four adrift of Manchester United in second.

Crucially, this victory takes the Blues four points clear of Everton in fifth and Carlo Ancelotti’s side – who have a game in hand over Chelsea – will drop to sixth if West Ham avoid defeat against Leeds in Monday’s late game.

Chelsea have not been beaten since a 2-0 loss at Leicester in Frank Lampard’s penultimate game as manager on 19 January, with Tuchel yet to suffer defeat in 11 matches in charge.

Chelsea revival continues with routine win

Chelsea have played in the Champions League in 15 of the past 17 campaigns, but were ninth in the Premier League, and five points off the top four, when they sacked Lampard in January.

Tuchel has transformed their fortunes. This victory means they have won six and drawn three of his nine league games in charge, as well as winning games in the FA Cup and Champions League.

The German, who guided Paris St-Germain to the Champions League final in 2019-20, made five changes from the side that won 1-0 at Liverpool on Thursday and saw his team dominate possession.

Jorginho twice volleyed wide from outside the area before they went ahead on 31 minutes.

Alonso fired in a low cross from the left and Havertz flicked the ball on, but it took a big deflection off Godfrey to leave Pickford with no chance.

Havertz thought he had scored only his second Premier League goal since a £71m summer move from Bayer Leverkusen when he collected Callum Hudson-Odoi’s chipped pass and fired past Pickford early in the second half.

However, the goal was ruled out as referee David Coote judged the German had handled the ball, with video assistant referee Michael Oliver confirming the on-field decision.

But it became 2-0 soon after when Jorginho scored his seventh goal of the season with a calmly taken penalty as Chelsea completed a routine win.

Reality check for Ancelotti’s Everton

After Thursday’s 1-0 win at West Brom, Ancelotti, who guided Chelsea to the Premier League and FA Cup double in 2009-10, said he was “dreaming” of taking the Toffees into the Champions League.

But this performance brought them back to reality and showed they will need further improvement if they are to break into the top four.

They had to wait until first-half injury time before they could test home goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, who saved a 25-yard low strike from Andre Gomes – the visitors’ only shot on target.

Richarlison, who had scored in Everton’s past four games, had a good chance but, off balance and from a tight angle, could only shoot wide.

England striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin also had a quiet evening as the Blues kept a clean sheet for the ninth time in 11 matches under Tuchel.

Everton never looked like getting back into the match and only a number of saves from Pickford, to keep out efforts from Timo Werner, Kurt Zouma, N’Golo Kante and Mason Mount, denied Chelsea a wider winning margin.

A rare away loss for Everton this season – the stats

  • Chelsea are unbeaten in their past 26 Premier League home games against Everton (won 15). Only against Spurs have the Blues had a longer unbeaten home run in top-flight history (27 from 1990-2016).
  • Only against Leeds (35 from 1946-2001) have Everton had a longer winless away run in the top flight than they have at Chelsea.
  • Only Maurizio Sarri (12 with Chelsea in 2018-19) and Frank Clark (11 with Nottingham Forest in 1994-95) have begun their Premier League managerial careers with a longer unbeaten run than Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel (currently played nine, won six, drawn three).
  • Everton suffered their first away Premier League defeat since losing at Newcastle in November, ending their nine-game unbeaten run on the road in the competition.
  • Tuchel has become the first manager in Premier League history to see his side keep a clean sheet in each of his first five home games in charge in the competition.
  • Everton have scored 53 own goals in the Premier League, seven more than any other side in the competition’s history.
  • Only Liverpool’s James Milner in 2016-17 (seven out of seven) has scored more goals in a single Premier League season with all of them coming from the penalty spot than Chelsea’s Jorginho this term (six out of six).

‘We controlled it completely’ – what they said

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel, talking to BT Sport, said: “We deserved to win. It was a very difficult first half but we controlled it completely. Second half we increased our level and had a lot of dangerous attacks.

“Very pleased with Kai. It was the trust we gave him and he used the trust we gave him. He is a player who has all the ability to be a dominant figure in [attack] and he stepped up.

“You see the quality of the players and the club. It is a pleasure to be on the sideline and work with the team. Everybody in the club is doing everything to compete at this level.”

Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti, speaking to BT Sport, said: “They played better than us. They deserved to win. We were good defensively for 30 minutes. When they scored, the game became difficult for us. They are a good team.

“Jordan did well. For the penalty he can do better but it doesn’t change the performance. I think it was a penalty.

“The game that we planned was what we got for 30 minutes. But we have to be honest, we are not at the same level. We cannot play an open game against this kind of team. It was the plan to play the same way as we played against Liverpool, but against Liverpool we scored early.

“We are looking to fight for Europe. This is good for us. We will be there until the last game. We are disappointed for this defeat but no tragedy. We look to the next game.”

What’s next?

Chelsea face Leeds away on Saturday (12:30 GMT), then play the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie at home against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday, 17 March (20:00 GMT), followed by a home match versus Sheffield United in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday, 21 March (13:30 GMT).

Everton play Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday (17:30 GMT) before another home game a week later when they entertain Manchester City in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup on Saturday, 20 March (17:30 GMT).

Line-ups

Chelsea

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 16Mendy
  • 28Azpilicueta
  • 4Christensen
  • 15Zouma
  • 24James
  • 5Jorginho
  • 17KovacicSubstituted forKantéat 80′minutes
  • 3Alonso
  • 11WernerSubstituted forPulisicat 90′minutes
  • 20Hudson-OdoiSubstituted forMountat 66′minutes
  • 29Havertz

Substitutes

  • 1Arrizabalaga
  • 2Rüdiger
  • 6Thiago Silva
  • 7Kanté
  • 10Pulisic
  • 18Giroud
  • 19Mount
  • 21Chilwell
  • 22Ziyech

Everton

Formation 3-4-1-2

  • 1Pickford
  • 4HolgateBooked at 17mins
  • 5Keane
  • 22Godfrey
  • 17IwobiSubstituted forDaviesat 56′minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 21André GomesSubstituted forBernardat 76′minutes
  • 6Allan
  • 12DigneBooked at 50mins
  • 10G SigurdssonSubstituted forKingat 70′minutes
  • 9Calvert-Lewin
  • 7Richarlison

Substitutes

  • 11King
  • 18Nkounkou
  • 20Bernard
  • 26Davies
  • 31Neves Virgínia
  • 34Broadhead
  • 48John
  • 53Tyrer
  • 62Onyango

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