Buoyed by the expectedly raucous home crowd, Everton made a spirited start to the game, though it were Chelsea who created the game’s first half-chance. All that initial impetus died out however due to a 10-minute stoppage to treat an unfortunate injury to Everton’s Ben Godfrey.
When play resumed, the game took on a rather familiar pattern, one seen repeatedly in our visits to Goodison. Chelsea had most of the possession, none of it really flowing, but neither side were able to create much of note, which drew the focus on the usual inept level of refereeing, with the home side having much of the advantage in that regard.
Their luck ran out however in the final moments of the half, when Doucouré couldn’t get away with another pullback in the area, this time on Chilwell after an even more obvious foul on Sterling went uncalled earlier. Jorginho made no mistake from the spot.
The second half was more of the same, with a bit more intensity, especially from the home side. Chelsea looked all too ready and willing to waste time and slow things down … but in a game that seemed like it would never end, with a combined 20+ minutes of stoppage time across the two halves, we would actually hang on to the win and all three points! (Sterling was denied a goal that would’ve sealed the deal a bit earlier by a most brilliant block from Mykolenko, it should be added.)
- Starting lineup pretty much as expected, with the usual 3-4-3 and new boys Koulibaly and Sterling slotting in.
- RLC on at right wing-back for the final 25, with James moving to the left. 10 minutes later, James back on the right, in the back-three, with Azpi switching to the left end as Cucurella replaces Koulibaly, who had started cramping.
- Pulisic (for Mount), Broja (for Havertz) in like-for-like changes.
- After going all of the last season undefeated in the first halves of Premier League games, we’re now one for one this season as well.
- First Chelsea win at Goodison in six tries, since 2017, stopping a run of four straight defeats. The last two times we’ve won at Goodison, we won the league (2016-17, 2014-15).
- Next up: Spurs at home next Sunday.