Encouraged by the expected raucous home crowd, Everton got off to a lively start, although it was Chelsea who created the first half. However, all that initial impulse died down with a 10-minute hiatus to deal with an unfortunate injury to Everton’s Ben Godfrey.
When the game resumed, the game took on a pretty familiar pattern, a pattern we’ve seen repeatedly during our visits to Goodison. Chelsea had most of the ball, not really fluid, but neither side were able to create much of the attention, emphasizing the usual inept level of arbitration, with the home side having much of the advantage in that respect.
Their luck ran out in the closing moments of halftime, however, when Doucouré couldn’t get away with another pullback in the area, this time on Chilwell after an even more obvious foul on Sterling was previously disallowed. Jorginho made no mistake from the spot.
The second half was more of the same, with a bit more intensity, especially from the home side. Chelsea seemed all too ready and willing to waste time and slow things down… but in a game that seemed like it was never going to end, with 20+ minutes of stoppage time combined over the two halves, we would actually hold on to win and all three points! (Sterling was denied a goal that would have sealed the deal a little earlier by a brilliant block from Mykolenko, it should be added.)
- Starting grid pretty much as expected, with the usual 3-4-3 and new lads Koulibaly and Sterling coming in.
- RLC at right back for the last 25, with James to the left. 10 minutes later, James back on the right, in the back three, with Azpi switching to the left while Cucurella replaces Koulibaly, who started to have cramps.
- Pulisic (for Mount), Broja (for Havertz) in like-for-like changes.
- Having been unbeaten in the first half of Premier League matches last season, we are now one by one this season as well.
- Chelsea’s first win over Goodison in six attempts since 2017 ended a run of four consecutive defeats. The last two times we won at Goodison, we won the league (2016-17, 2014-15).
- Next up: Spurs at home next Sunday.