An injury hit Everton left Stamford Bridge on Thursday with a more than well deserved point. Chelsea went ahead just after the halfway point in the second half through Mason Mount’s fourth goal in four Premier League games. However, an equaliser from Jarrad Branthwaite compounded Chelsea’s recent poor form further.
Chelsea were forced into two changes in their starting XI due to a Covid outbreak in their squad. Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech came in for Kai Havertz and Timo Werner respectively, whilst both Romelu Lukaku and Callum Hudson-Odoi were also ruled out due to Covid. This left Ross Barkley as the only attacking option off the bench. However, the other eight players who started Saturday’s win against Leeds remained the same.
Meanwhile, the visitors to Stamford Bridge came in a worse state. Already struggling with injuries, all of Richarlison, Andros Townsend and Seamus Coleman dropped out of the starting XI after picking up injuries in the Crystal Palace defeat. Demarai Gray and Fabian Delph were also ruled out with Branthwaite, Anthony Gordon, Jonjoe Kenny, Alex Iwobi and Ellis Simms coming in to the team.
Surprisingly Everton started the better of the two sides with a clear intensity in their pressing and off the ball work. However, things started to trend in the way most expected pre game through the ever influential Reece James.
He was played in behind by Jorginho but as the goal beckoned, he somehow put his effort wide. Moments later he would become the creator as his driving run and pass found Mount in behind, who flashed a right footed effort right across the face of goal.
The Blues dominance continued as the half progressed without Jordan Pickford in goal being properly tested. Ziyech’s skilful dummy led to Pulisic attempting a backheel straight at Pickford before the Moroccan had a chance himself routinely saved. Minutes later this was followed up by James forcing the English goalkeeper into an easy save from a free kick.
The action rather calmed down as a very disciplined Everton side frustrated the home side and reduced them to limited opportunities. Ziyech continued his bright performance as Mount couldn’t steer one in from a few years out before being played in on goal after a one two with Antonio Rüdiger and just when you thought Chelsea would take the lead, Pickford stuck out a leg to deny Mount.
That latest flurry from Chelsea sparked Everton into life again as a Gordon shot from long range was comfortably saved. A minute later Abdoulaye Doucoure broke away with Iwobi in acres of space to his right, but he was smartly brought down by Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
HT: Chelsea 0-0 Everton
Everton, maybe inspired by some strong words from Rafa Benitez at half time, started the stronger of the two sides yet again and arguably should’ve taken the lead. They sprung a counter attack and Doucoure, untracked, was clear in on goal only if Iwobi had spotted the run and made the pass.
Chances were few and far between in the first half of the second period as Rüdiger headed wide from a free kick but that was until the 70th minute when Chelsea’s Mr Dependable delivered once again. James picked out Mount on the right edge of the penalty box who drove into the area and his low fired shot left Pickford with no chance at his near post.
However, the lead was only to last for four minutes as Chelsea made it six games without a clean sheet. A deep free kick from Gordon made its way to the back post and found a stretching Branthwaite who poked it in to equalise.
There was an immediate retaliation from Chelsea as a Thiago Silva downward header from a corner was superbly tipped round the post by Pickford. Then from the resulting corner Pickford was called into action again, this time by Rüdiger and he pulled off a more routine save.
As the clock turned red, it was Everton applying the pressure and despite Chelsea spending the next five minutes in the opposition half, they couldn’t create a clear cut chance and the poor run of form continues whilst Everton leave with an unexpected point.
FT: Chelsea 1-1 Everton
Written by Harrison Burridge (@indepthfandc)
Edited by Tom Coley (@tomcoley49)
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