Blues and Toffees in Gridlock
Written By: Robert Halter
Chelsea were unbeaten in twenty three home games against Everton prior to a November early afternoon encounter with the Blues and Toffees at Stamford Bridge. In the third minute, a long pass forward by Antonio Rudiger, went past Alvaro Morata, who was through on goal. In the twelfth minute, from a Lucas Digne corner, a headed clearance by Jorginho, was met with full force by Bernard, who sent the ball over with a powerful strike. The first caution went to Yerry Mina, for bringing down Eden Hazard, and the free kick by Marcos Alonso, was driven past the wall and fractions wide of the left post, midway through the first half. On twenty eight minutes, Jorginho was booked for pulling Gylfi Sigurdsson, who required treatment after falling awkwardly, and the free kick was taken by Digne, as a header from Michael Keane, flew high over the top. N’Golo Kante got the next card for barging over Richarlison. In the thirty ninth minute, after Andre Gomes fouled Hazard, a free kick by Willian went over to the left side of the box and was met first time on the volley by Alonso, which required Jordan Pickford to turn the ball away by flipping over to make a theatrical save. Just before the break, after Rudiger squared up to Bernard in the face, both players were booked. The Blues went flying out of the traps for the second half, as Hazard zipped over a cross from the left, that Morata connected to with his in-step and Pickford dived at full stretch to turn the ball away from the bottom left corner. On fifty six minutes, from Bernard’s pass across, a bending swerving strike from Sigurdsson, was pushed over with the out stretched hand of Kepa Arrizabalaga. The Toffees pressed again within three minutes, when Keane’s forward pass was put over by Sigurdsson, and an unmarked Bernard, lost his footing in sight of the target. But the Blues went back on the offense, as Hazard’s through ball was latched upon by Willian, who drove the ball narrowly past the left post. Willian then turned provider to Hazard, whose strike from outside the box, required a strong reaction stop by Pickford with a full length save. On sixty three minutes, Mateo Kovacic assisted Hazard, whose strike then bobbled off Mina, and it required Pickford to tip the ball over the upright. The Toffees then took off Bernard for Ademola Lookman while the Blues brought on Cesc Fabregas for Jorginho. Chelsea then went close in the sixty fifth minute, when Rudiger’s looping delivery, was touched on by Hazard, and a low strike at distance by Alonso, rattled the far right post. Pedro was next brought on for Willian. When Chelsea finally found the net, as Morata turned in a cross by Cesar Azpilicueta, the Blues could not breach the Everton offside trap, and the goal was ruled out in the seventy first minute. Chelsea threatened again within two minutes, when David Luiz’s incisive pass, was laid off by Kovacic, and an instinctive strike from Hazard brushed past the far right post. Another Toffees change was made as Phil Jagielka replaced Sigurdsson. Later on a Blues switch saw Ross Barkley appear against his former club in favour of Kovacic. Near the end, Richarlison was unable to continue due to injury and Dominic Calvert-Lewin took over but the game remained goalless as Chelsea maintained their unbeaten start to the Premier League season leaving the Blues in third position compared to mid table for the Toffees.