An unexpected win for most fans. Who would have thought after collapsing under the pressure applied by an average Newcastle United team last week, a 2-0 win would have been possible against an attack-heavy Chelsea team?
If you watched the whole game, the bleak performance from the first half would easily have led you to believe that this team wasn’t going to reach the required performance levels to beat Chelsea. The visitors were straight out the starting blocks, struck the post, and made several attempts on goals in the first 10 minutes.
In the second half, Everton were a different force; a tactical step up the pitch left the players less isolated going forward. Now a more compact team, we won the corner that led to the first goal, giving us a foothold in the game that would go on to be a good win for the Toffees.
What is frustrating about this win is that the performance levels were not as high as in other weeks. The usual suspects were not as sharp as we’ve seen in days gone past, but that gave others a chance to step up.
Here are the three Everton players who we felt were most impressive against Chelsea.
The wide attacking forward contributed in all areas. Although in the first half some would have struggled to note his presence on the pitch, I think it was due to lack of quality service over poor performance.
For his first goal alone, he had to be mentioned as a key player in this game, but as it was his movement in the box that provoked a foul from the Chelsea defender for the penalty, he had a part to play in both goals.
Richarlison is far from the finished article, and I believe it won’t be for a season or two that we see him step up a level. He often makes poor decisions while on the ball, and his vision for a pass seems limited.
The finished article or not, he has, however, contributed mostly to most of Everton’s goals this season. I think he is one to watch, especially if you’re the opposing defenders. I hope the current coaching set-up is good enough to develop him to his full potential.
There were only three players who could walk back on to the pitch their heads held high for their desire, and Bernard was one. As always, the little Brazilian battled for every ball. Small in stature but large in spirit, he oozes Everton’s belief that nothing but the best is good enough.
With Bernard and Andre Gomes the only two Everton players who can withstand the press from the opposition, he is an asset to our play, especially against bigger teams.
His ability on the ball, movement off it, and his passion for doing his best for the club has kept him a regular spot in my Three Stars pieces. After the previous week, where he linked up well with Lucas Digne, I was looking forward to seeing that again, but it seemed like the defender was asked to be more cautious on the overlap, with Chelsea’s ability to counter with pace.
With Bernard and Gomes the other players to have had solid first halves, that should have inspired the other players.
Most forget Calvert-Lewin’s age, as he is well-built and has had a big responsibility leading the Everton attack as a solo striker. He fought a hard battle, often isolated and having to come deep and wide to get involved in the game, as we were pegged back by an attacking Chelsea side.
Often winning the ball back and attacking the Chelsea defence with an energetic press, the young Englishman played more of a defensive forward role, and it was to the benefit of the team.
Winning the ball from the corner, Calvert-Lewin’s work in the box allowed Richarlison the opportunity to score our first goal. Overall, this for me was the most complete performance from any Everton player. The young Toffee has had major critics in the last two seasons, and I’m hoping that this performance has hushed them.
This was a job well done for the lads. A well-deserved victory over a top-six side was long overdue. I won’t pretend that we came up against an amazing Chelsea side or that we were a well-oiled machine but Sunday was about picking up points, and it just so happens that we picked up a notable scalp along the way.