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Venue: Stamford Bridge, London
Premier League
 Sunday 27 August 2017; 1:30pm
2 0
Fabregas 27'
Morata 40'
Half Time: 2-0
Attendance: 41,382
Fixture 3
Referee: Jonathan Moss

Match Report

It wasn’t too long ago that £140m could buy you an entirely new team. Nowadays, of course, you can barely buy three top players for that outlay, unless you are especially canny in your recruitment and buying mostly from the Continent.

Everton have spent big this summer in upgrading the spine of a side that was comfortably the best of the rest in the Premier League last season but just as plainly short of the level achieved by the top six with their resources and spending power.

After years of punching above their weight and having to make do, the Blues have finally had the financial muscle to compete with that elite group above them in the market this summer but you’d be hard-pressed to come up with a performance over the past decade in which they looked so far behind than the one served up today.

Admittedly this trip to Stamford Bridge which has been almost ritual defeat for 23 years was a big ask. The third difficult game in the space of six days and an earlier kick-off following the journey back from Croatia, they were playing the Champions who were on their own turf and playing with the advantage of a week’s rest.

This wasn’t just a case of a tired team not having enough in the tank and being edged by a superior team, though; depressingly, there was almost nothing to this Everton performance at all.

Indeed, the particulars of the result are largely unimportant because Chelsea just had to score once to win. They did that in the 27th minute having controlled the game to that point and had chances to open their account through Pedro, who fired a couple of low efforts at Jordan Pickford and missed with an attempted overhead kick, David Luiz and Willian.

The ball was worked inside following a throw-in on the Chelsea right, Cesc Fabregas exchanged passes with Alvaro Morata, albeit with a fortitous bounce of the ball that allowed the striker to nod it back into his compatriot’s path and the midfielder stabbed it into the far corner.

The second goal five minutes before half-time also came from the home side’s right flank after they had teased the ball along the edge of the visitors’ penalty area. The move ended with Cesar Azpilicueta swinging a pin-point cross to the marginally level Morata who headed home unchallenged as Michael Keane appealed vainly for offside.

2-0 down at the break and with nothing to lose, Koeman merely opted for more of the same, withdrawing Tom Davies and introducing Muhamed Besic who had taken his place in the squad despite the news that his father had been wounded by gunfire in his native Bosnia overnight.

Predictably, the pattern of the game didn’t change, although Everton did manage to carve out their first chance five minutes into the second half when Wayne Rooney played Sandro Ramirez in behind the defence but his scuffed effort was blocked by Antonio Rudiger.

Generally, there was no build-up play from Koeman’s team, very little passing through the midfield and far too many direct balls from Pickford aimed at the right flank where Sandro was hopelessly outmatched in the air. It was a tactic that while agricultural had worked well at Manchester City with Dominic Calvert Lewin up front but it had little effect today. Sandro ran himself ragged but without a strike partner for him there was no focal point up front.

Without Morgan Schneiderlin, there was no vision or composure on the ball in central midfield — indeed, there was precious little moving the ball forward on the deck at all as Chelsea appeared to easily choke off all apparent passing lanes and out-balls from the back.

With no wingers in the team, there was no one to run at their defence and take on a man on, no width as the Blues were stifled down the flanks by Chelsea’s formation. Even then, there was no one to aim at in the area on the rare occasions the mostly anonymous Gylfi Sigurdsson or Leighton Baines had a chance to put a cross in from wide areas until Ashley Williams of all players popped up late on but glanced a gilt-edged chance to reduce the deficit wide.

It took until five minutes into the second half before an Everton player touched the ball in the opposition box, a symptom of too many defenders and almost zero cohesion through the middle of the park, and Tibault Courtois had to wait until the 87th minute to make his first save.

That had come from a side-foot shot by Idrissa Gueye and a sporadic late flurry from the Blues after Calvert-Lewin had replaced Sandro just past the hour mark, Aaron Lennon had come on for Phil Jagielka and Williams had dropped a half-volley over the bar and missed that late header which was perhaps the best chance of the day. All in all, it was pretty weak fare from Everton and, like last season, hopefully the trip to this part of London marks the nadir of the campaign, at least in terms of performance.

With just six shots on target in the opening three games, the problems that were laid bare today can’t be explained away by mere fatigue alone, even if it was undoubtedly a factor for those who did play in all three matches in just six days. The same nagging deficiencies remain despite massive expenditure on upgrading the team.

Everton haven’t won an away game since January. The club have spent a fortune over the summer but still travel to the homes of the top clubs with an inferiority complex, an approach and formations to match. Unlike on Monday at the Etihad where spirit and energy more than class narrowed the gap, on this evidence Everton are as far away from where they want to be as ever.

Pace, creativity and strong centre-forward remain urgent needs before the transfer window closes but time is running out and, again, it doesn’t appear as though the shopping list includes addressing all of the team’s most glaring shortcomings. Koeman says he needs two more players but three or four would be more accurate, particularly with Kevin Mirallas seemingly ostracised, James McCarthy regularly crocked and Gareth Barry already out the door.

Lyndon Lloyd

Matchday Updates

Everton are in the Capital for a third successive away game, taking their five-match unbeaten run to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea in a Sunday lunchtime kickoff.

Schneiderlin is suspended but Sigurdsson is named for his second start, with Sandro fit again and coming back in for Calvert-Lewin, who drops to the bench. Maybe three at the back with Holgate and Baines as wingbacks.

Everton kicked off in the sunshine wearing their washed out grey kit, Rooney in on Kante and winning a free kick. Holgate needing to be alert to Alonso coming down the ring. Morata three himself down as Keane patrolled, no contact.

A poor free-kick from Sigurdsson saw Baines stop a Chelsea surge. Sigurdsson got past his man on the left wing but his cross was ahead oof everyone. Gueyeu came in on Fabregas's ankle and got booked very early on. Willan skipped through and set up and acrobatic attempt for Pedro.

Chelsea were turning the screw, running through Everton with ease, Pedro next to fire at Pickford as the Greys showed zero forward intent. In possession, Everton had simply no idea how to advance, relying far too much on balls back to Pickford that are punted forward.

Handball by Marcos Alonso saw the free-kick played backward and Rooney getting caught by Alonso. Sando beat Alonso but lost the ball to David Luiz and Chelsea came forward again.

A rare spell in Chelsea's half ended with an awful touch from Davies, Everton relying entirely on defence to preserve the point they arrived with. A Fabregas corner was sent sort along the byeline and smashed away smartly by Baines.

The first goal duly arrived, Morata nodding the ball to Fabregas who slotted home with ease. Absolutely dire football from Everton, setting themselves for another 5-0 slaughter.

Finally, a bit more football played in the Chelsea half, but not in their area until Sigurdsson tried a weak shot from distance. Sandro tried to doo a little too much but was fouled and won a free-kick that Sigurdsson floated into the crowd. Willian and Gueye collided heavily.

Pretty terrible defending saw Gueye dispossessed, Moss playing advantage, Asp firing in a good cross that Morata could nod in with ease. for goal number two. Fabregas allowed to run in and shoot at Pickford.

In possession, Everton were utterly bereft of effort, idea or intent, trying to pass the ball around and deny the home side a chance for more embarrassment. Everton's best move came before the break when they almost furnished a shot on goal.A terrible, terrible first half from Everton, with Rooney become as frustrated as any Evertonian witnessing this.

Besic replaced Davies, who had been very poor, after the break but Chelsea still waltzed up to the Everton area for pot-shot practise at will, Pedro firing wide. Sigurdsson blocked a ball in midfield and set Rooney free, Sandro making an attempt but easily thwarted, albeit for Everton's first corner.

Gueye was next to waste an opportunity to launch an Everton attack, passing the ball past Rooney to a Chelsea player... and Chelsea restarted their training level efforts, Williams and Pickford almost contriving to allow a free goal before Pedro got lose and drove wide.

Everton finally worked a half-decent cross but there was no-one to convert it, and Calvert-Lewin replaced the rather ineffective if ever illing Sandro.

A little break from Calvert-Lewin saw Sigurdsson with a chance to shoot but he passed it along the line and eventually Rooney had a difficult chance that he could not direct on goal. Rooney was then booked.

Baines was chopped down, Moses booked, and Sigurdsson swung in a superb free-kick but a Chelsea head got underneath it.

Jagielka gave away a horrible ball and Chelsea looked nailed on for their third goal but their attempts were blocked. Calvert-Lewin won a free-kick that Rooney powered in and Williams hooked Everton's closest attempt on goal just over the bar.

Jagielka was subbed by Lennon who set up Holgate for a good cross that won Everton's second corner. Baines, crossed, then Sigurdsson and William's glancing header flew inches wide. Another more adventurous attack, albeit from a long ball, saw Rooney and Lennon battle well before Gueye fired just over.

Calvert-Lewin then tried to beat three men rather than passing but at least Everton were moving the ball forward at long last... with 3 minutes of added time. Besic put in a well-timed challenge on Kante.

No doubt the excuses of a difficult week for Everton with the Europa League but there were no excuses for the truly abysmal first half.

Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta [Y:88'], Luiz, Rüdiger, Moses (89' Christensen) [Y:76'], Fàbregas, Kanté, Alonso, Willian, Pedro (75' Bakayoko), Morata (78' Batshuayi).
Subs not Used: Caballero, Kenedy, Musonda, Tomori.

Everton: Pickford, Holgate, Keane, A Williams, Jagielka (83' Lennon), Baines, Gueye [Y:8'], Davies (46' Besic), Sigurdsson, Rooney, [Y:71'] Sandro (62' Calvert-Lewin).
Subs not Used:Stekelenburg, Martina, Lookman, Kenny.

Referee: Jonathan Moss

Attendance: 41,382

Michael Kenrick

Match Preview

Everton are in the Capital for a third successive away game, taking their five-match unbeaten run to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea in a Sunday lunchtime kickoff.

For Ronald Koeman, it's a return to the scene of his worst result as Everton manager so far, a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of a team that opened the floodgates once it had capitalised on the Dutchman's unfamiliar five-man defence.

That same formation formed the bedrock of last Monday's strong defensive performance at Manchester City, one that almost held Pep Guardiola's much-vaunted attack at bay, and it could be employed again at Stamford Bridge this weekend now that it's a more tried and trusted system.

Indeed, it would be no surprise to see Koeman try to counter Antonio Conte's three-man central defence in this way with the same back five that started at the Etihad Stadium. That could mean a return to the starting XI for Mason Holgate — that would be harsh on Cuco Martina who had a good game in Europe on Thursday — and Phil Jagielka, both of whom sat out the Europa League qualifier in Split.

It's a defensively-minded setup that, if used, will potentially offer protection in the absences of the injured Davy Klaassen and Morgan Schneiderlin who serves a one-game suspension and the latter especially will be a big miss in front of the defence.

Even bigger still given his industry and tenacity would be Idrissa Gueye who didn't travel to Croatia as a precaution over a minor hamstring complaint after the draw at City. With scans on the muscle revealing no damage, there's a good chance the Senegalese will play; if not, it leaves the manager with just Tom Davies and Muhamed Besic as fit options in the middle of the park as James McCarthy and Ross Barkley remain absentees through injuries of their own and Gareth Barry has departed for West Brom.

There is scope, of course to play Wayne Rooney or Gylfi Sigurdsson in more withdrawn roles to cover but it would deprive Koeman of the counter-attacking options he will no doubt be relying on as he plots Chelsea's downfall.

“It's tough playing Monday, Thursday, Sunday and we had to travel,” Koeman said in his pre-match press conference yesterday. “We've been a little bit unlucky with some injuries and that makes it even more difficult but we'll do a session tomorrow to see which players are the most fresh to start.

“I don't like to make changes but maybe it's about freshness for Sunday.

Regardless of freshness concerns, the likes of Rooney, Leighton Baines and Dominic Calvert-Lewin will be asked to play a third game in the space of six days. The international break will afford two of the three a two-week break but Calvert-Lewin will have to draw on youth to power him through these early weeks of the campaign given that he has been called up by England U21s.

The 20-year-old was a revelation against City and Koeman will send him out at Stamford Bridge to unsettle a Chelsea defence that will be missing Gary Cahill and is still bedding in new signing Antonio Rüdiger. And as Burnley showed on the opening day, the Londoners' defence is one that can be ruffled by energy and power in the front line.

The other weapon that Everton will be hoping can make the difference is Sigurdsson who announced himself as a Blues player in the best way possible against Hajduk Split on Thursday and whose set-piece deliveries and crosses could provide the key to the visitors' chances.

Although they will be missing Eden Hazard and top goal poacher Diego Costa is on his way out, the reigning Champions have plenty of threats all over the pitch. And while it's too early to draw conclusions, unlike the implosion in Jose Mourinho's last season at their helm, last weekend's win over Tottenham at Wembley appeared to have nipped any collapse in the bud after that shock at Burnley's hands.

As such, the obstacles in Everton's way as they bid to win on this ground for the first time since 1994 are as significant as ever but with some help on the injury front, some run of the green and a successfully implemented game plan they also stand as good a chance as they have for most of those 23 years.

Kick-off: 1.30pm, Sunday 27 August, 2017
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Last Time: Chelsea 5-0 Everton

Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Holgate, Keane, A. Williams, Jagielka, Baines, Gueye, Davies, Sigurdsson, Rooney, Calvert-Lewin

Lyndon Lloyd

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Match Preview
Match Summary
Match Report
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2017-18 Reports Index
« Hajduk (A) Spurs (H) »
 Everton fans' reports
 Lyndon Lloyd Report
 Paul Traill Report
  Azpilicueta booked
  Moses booked (Christensen 89')
  Pedro (Bakayoko 75')
  Morata (Batshuayi 78')
  Subs not used

  Jagielka (Lennon 83')
  Gueye booked
  Davies (Besic 46')
  Rooney booked
  Sandro (Calvert-Lewin 62')
  Subs not used
  Schneiderlin (suspended)
  Barkley (injured)
  Bolasie (injured)
  Coleman (injured)
  Klaassen (injured)
  McCarthy (injured)
  Tarashaj (injured)
  Browning (loan)
  Dowell (loan)
  Galloway (loan)
  Onyekuru (loan)
  Pennington (loan)
  J. Williams (loan)

Match Stats

Shots on target

Premier League Scores
Bournemouth 1-2 Man City
C Palace 0-2 Swansea
Huddersfield 0-0 Southampton
Man United 2-0 Leicester
Newcastle 3-0 West Ham
Watford 0-0 Brighton
Chelsea 2-0 Everton
Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal
Tottenham 1-1 Burnley
West Brom 1-1 Stoke City

Team Pts
1 Manchester United 9
2 Liverpool 7
3 Huddersfield Town 7
4 Manchester City 7
5 West Bromwich Albion 7
6 Chelsea 6
7 Watford 5
8 Southampton 5
9 Tottenham Hotspur 4
10 Burnley 4
11 Stoke City 4
12 Everton 4
13 Swansea City 4
14 Newcastle United 3
15 Leicester City 3
16 Arsenal 3
17 Brighton & Hove Albion 1
18 AFC Bournemouth 0
19 Crystal Palace 0
20 West Ham United 0


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