Chelsea Misplaced within the Proper Manner in Bogey Fixture at Goodison Park
As defeats go, Chelsea’s 1-0 reverse at Everton on Saturday night was a great one.
‘YOU F***ING WHAT!’ I hear you scream into the void that’s your laptop monitor and the web past.
Bear with me.
Nearly precisely a 12 months in the past, Chelsea went to Goodison Park within the midst of a droop in type and misplaced to fired-up caretaker Duncan Ferguson’s Toffees, badly.
Arguably one of the haphazard defensive shows within the membership’s 115-year historical past inevitably led to a wretched 3-1 defeat, with Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin (twice) capitalising on frankly ridiculous lapses in each focus and total footballing capability from Andreas Christensen, Kurt Zouma and, in fact, agent of chaos Kepa Arrizabalaga.
This a fixture that Chelsea persistently wrestle in, dropping 5 of their final eight visits even earlier than Saturday, with the sport destined to fall on a crisp December day or evening below the lights on Merseyside, contributing to a raucous ambiance. And, as fortune had it, this was the primary recreation with followers again within the Gladys Road Finish.
Certainly, Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton aspect of 2020/21 are a major enchancment on the rudderless Toffees aspect of final season – one which had misplaced three on the bounce and nonetheless had Morgan Schneiderlin beginning within the midfield earlier than Marco Silva was sacked and Ferguson put in in time for Chelsea’s go to.
Nonetheless, apart from Edouard Mendy’s barely extra comprehensible rush of blood to the top that led to the successful penalty, even in defeat, Chelsea had been a lot improved in all departments on this season’s instalment.
12 months in the past, the Blues had been within the midst of a torrid run of type that noticed them gather simply three wins in 9 video games in all competitions, however the nature of the efficiency in opposition to Everton suggests there isn’t any purpose to worry an upcoming repeat.
Whereas Chelsea had greater than 70% possession in defeat for the second consecutive season at Goodison, Frank Lampard’s aspect carried way more of a risk this time round, placing the woodwork 3 times and testing Jordan Pickford frequently. As many a pundit put it after the full-time whistle, the Blues may have been there all week and would’t have scored a objective. It occurs.
The positives are that Chelsea by no means appeared prone to concede in open play, with their well-documented enchancment in defence requiring no point out right here, whereas their build-up play was sharp sufficient to prise open a much less resolute defence on one other day.
Academy merchandise Mason Mount and Reece James personified that drive to do and be higher than final season, with each males grabbing the sport by the scruff of the neck in an try to haul the Blues from the jaws of defeat – to no avail on this event, clearly.
Mount was usually electrical from central midfield, along with his ball-carrying and correct passing retaining Chelsea on the entrance foot all through. In the long run it was outstanding that his identify wasn’t on the scoresheet; his velocity of thought was nearly rewarded when his cheeky lob over a stranded Pickford clipped the bar, earlier than his late, dipping free kick wrong-footed his England teammate, solely to thump the bottom of the put up.
That free kick was received by the equally effervescent James, who popped up within the left half-space from right-back and turned Gylfi Sigurdsson earlier than being downed by Abdoulaye Doucouré. He had already examined Pickford along with his personal set piece within the first half and noticed a rasping drive tipped onto the put up. It was an all-action show that deserved extra.
The pair of 21-year-olds are nicely on their option to having nice private seasons, and so they shows recommend that Chelsea needn’t fear about one other dip in type with the hectic festive schedule now upon us.
If you will lose a recreation – which, regardless of growing expectation and pleasure amid their good type, will occur once more – this was the best way to do it. With battle, urgency, and dominating the ball. A defeat, sure, however finally it was simply a type of video games.
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