10/12/2023 0comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 2 - 0 Chelsea

Everton registered a third successive Premier League win for the first time in almost three years as they ground out another impressive result, this time conquering Chelsea with Lewis Dobbin striking his first goal for the club.

The Blues were attempting to see out a lead given to them by Abdoulaye Doucouré earlier in the first half through seven minutes of time added on by referee Michael Oliver when they won a corner and Dobbin fired home to secure the points.

Operating on a day’s less rest than their West London opponents, Everton looked understandably tired in the closing stages but their ceaseless work-rate had kept Chelsea at bay in a tightly-contested first half that yielded precious few chances for either side.

Jordan Pickford was called upon to make two parrying saves to deny Enzo Fernandez and Cole Palmer as the visitors dominated possession and carried the greater threat while the hosts went close when Jack Harrison’s terrific volley flashed a yard wide of Robert Sanchez’s post.

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Palmer had another dangerous effort deflected behind later in the half but the two sides went into the break goalless, although both managers had been prompted by injury into making early changes.

Reece James had to be replaced by Levi Colwill with an apparent recurrence of his hamstring problem while Ashley Young was forced off with an unspecified knock and was deputised by Nathan Patterson. Jarrad Branthwaite, who appeared to injure his knee and was close to being substituted himself, ended up finishing the game.

With Idrissa Gueye already on a harshly-given yellow card, Dyche made one more change at half-time, introducing Amadou Onana for the second period and this time it was Everton who produced the early chances.

First, Dwight McNeil tested Sanchez with a fine low shot in the 50th minute that the keeper palmed behind for a corner but four minutes later, the in-form winger played a vital role in the opening goal.

Sent forward into the Chelsea half by the excellent Vitalii Mykolenko, McNeil shrugged off an illegal challenge from Conor Gallagher before threading an excellent ball into the box for Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The striker was denied well by Sanchez who raced out to block but the rebound fell invitingly to Doucouré who drilled it back across goal and into the far corner of the goal.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the balance of play for the remainder of the regulation 90 minutes was with Mauricio Pochettino’s men as they searched vainly for an equaliser.

Branthwaite’s clumsy foul on Armando Broja gave Palmer an opportunity from a direct free-kick but he went low rather than aiming for the top corner and Pickford made a comfortable save.

Mikhailo Mudryk, getting much less change from Patterson than he had from Young, sped in behind the full-back for the only time off Colwill’s ball down the channel but Fernandez was denied in front of goal by a superb covering block from Mykolenko, Marc Cucurella’s daisy-cutter was easily gathered, substitute Raheem Sterling was foiled by another crucial challenge from the Ukrainian full-back, while James Tarkowski deflected a Mudruk shot over as the Londoners continued to be frustrated.

Beto had come on for the tired Calvert-Lewin but couldn’t unduly test Sanchez with a header from Harrison’s cross but the Chelsea keeper soon had to come off himself because of a knock which would be a factor in Everton’s decisive second goal two minutes into stoppage time.

McNeil allowed the ball to run behind for a corner on the Blues’ left and when substitute goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic could only get a weak punch on James Garner’s delivery, it fell to another sub, Dobbin who made sure to put his tidy first-time shot on target, sweeping it with power beyond the keeper to wrap up the points.

Coming on the heels of fine victories over Nottingham Forest and Newcastle United, the victory lifts the Toffees four points clear of the bottom three and to within just a point of Forest in 16th place but ruing the fact that without the 10-point deduction, they would be in 10th and just four points off 6th place.

 


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