On the final matchday of the 2017/18 season, Everton and just five other clubs played their 1,000th Premier League game, being the only ever-presents since its inception in 1992. Over the summer, evertonfc.com will be looking back at some classic Toffees clashes from the past 26 years. Today, we reflect on a joyous afternoon in September 2015 when Steven Naismith could do no wrong…
Everton 3-1 Chelsea
Saturday, 12 September 2015
Chelsea hadn’t exactly got off to a flier when they visited Goodison Park in mid-September 2015 - and, thanks to an inspired performance from Steven Naismith, the Londoners’ uneasy start to life in the champions’ throne was to continue on the blue half of Merseyside.
Jose Mourinho’s men, who had finished eight points clear of nearest rivals Manchester City the previous campaign, arrived in the north west 13th in the Premier League standings, four places below their hosts.
Toffees boss Roberto Martinez named former Chelsea forward Romelu Lukaku as the focal point of his attack, while Naismith wasn’t even in the starting XI.
However, when Muhamed Besic went off injured with just nine minutes played, the Spaniard took a risk, resisting the temptation to replace like for like and instead throwing on the more attack-minded Scot.
It was to prove a match-winning call.
Within eight minutes Naismith had glanced in with his head from a Brendan Galloway cross; five minutes later he was drilling home a second with his left boot, beating goalkeeper Asmir Begovic from well outside the box.
Chelsea's Nemanja Matic then hit the goal of the game - a stunning, swirling shot from 35 yards out - to peg the Blues back before half-time.
But Naismith raced through on goal with eight minutes remaining to squeeze a right-footed effort under Begovic and complete an exquisite perfect hat-trick.
The victory moved Everton up to joint-fifth in the embryonic Premier League table, while, having lost for the third time in their opening five games, Chelsea returned to the capital having dropped to 16th.
Watch highlights from this game above now or, if you are using the Official Everton App, navigate to the 'Video' section.