Dogged Everton Down Chelsea

Everton capped off an impressive week of Premier League action by battling to a determined 2-0 victory over Chelsea at Goodison Park. 

Abdoulaye Doucoure's goal - his second in as many matches - eight minutes into the second half set the Toffees on their way before second-half substitute Lewis Dobbin smashed home his first senior Everton goal in the second half to seal the win and help Everton extend the gap between them and the relegation zone to four points. 

James Garner returned to Sean Dyche's starting XI for the contest having recovered from the illness that saw him miss Thursday night's comprehensive 3-0 win against Newcastle United. Amadou Onana also returned from the calf injury that had kept him sidelined to take a place on the Blues' bench, with Seamus Coleman dropping out through the minor injury sustained in midweek. 

It was the visitors who had the first chance of note when Mykhailo Mudryk received a ball in behind the Everton defence, he found Enzo Fernandez on the edge of the Blues' penalty area but the midfielder's low shot was palmed away well by Pickford. 

Dyche's men responded with some good early pressure on the Chelsea backline, yet, they failed to convert it into any tangible efforts of note. 

Chelsea again threatened Pickford's goal as the game approached the quarter-hour mark when Cole Palmer struck a vicious shot from 25 yards out that Everton's No.1 managed to tip away at full stretch. 

Mykolenko had his pocket picked by Palmer before the Chelsea man hit the floor following what looked to be a loose tackle from the Everton left-back. Thankfully, however, referee Michael Oliver blew his whistle and awarded the hosts a free-kick with the Chelsea man booked for simulation. 

Despite a bright start from the away side, it was Everton who went closest to breaking the deadlock. A clever lobbed pass from Doucoure released Calvert-Lewin who played the ball off to McNeil on the edge of the Chelsea box. His deflected cross found Jack Harrison who smashed a sweet volley from the edge of the penalty area which just flashed wide of Robert Sanchez's post. 

In what was a half of very few chances, the Blues were nearly dealt a huge blow when Jarrad Branthwaite went down just inside the Everton half holding his left knee after tangling with Palmer. 

After receiving treatment the defender was okay to continue, but Ashley Young also looked to be struggling as the game approached the break, and his endeavours weren't helped by Mudryk who was proving a tricky competitor as the the game went on. 

The Chelsea man got the better of the Blues' left-back before cutting a low cross into the path of Armando Broja whose poked effort flew over the bar. Shortly after, Young was forced to leave the field and was replaced by Nathan Patterson. 

At the break, Onana replaced Gana who picked up a yellow card during the first period. His introduction helped bring more intensity to Everton's play at the beginning of the second half, and within five minutes Dyche's men were nearly ahead, denied only by a fine Sanchez save. 

McNeil received a pass on the edge of the penalty area and turned superbly before unleashing a powerful low shot towards the bottom corner, however, the Chelsea goalkeeper got down superbly to tip the ball wide for a corner. 

The Blues did get their reward just minutes later, though, as Sanchez was finally thwarted. He initially denied Calvert-Lewin who made a brilliant run behind the defence to go one-against-one inside the penalty area, his poked effort was saved by Sanchez but the rebound fell to Doucoure who drove a low shot home to send Goodison into raptures. 

Despite seeing more of the ball, Chelsea struggled to find a response with Palmer's wild strike from distance just after the hour-mark their best effort up until that stage of the second half. 

A few minutes later, Beto - who grabbed his first Premier League goal since signing for the Club in the win against Newcastle - joined the action in place of Calvert-Lewin who put in a huge shift up top for the Blues. 

Chelsea started to up the ante in the latter stages of the half as they searched for an equaliser. Raheem Sterling came on in the second period and was heavily involved in the best of the away side's late attacks, yet, he struggled to consistently get the better of Mykolenko who produced a fine defensive display across the afternoon. 

The Everton left-back blocked one of the Chelsea wingers' crosses with a little over 10 minutes remaining, but the deflected ball landed at the feet of fellow Chelsea substitute Nicolas Jackson inside the six-yard box. Thankfully, however, the Blues were able to scramble his attempted shot away. 

Fresh legs were introduced in the 85th minute as Dobbin came on to replace Harrison, and it was the 20-year-old who had the decisive final say in the contest.

Two minutes into stoppage time, an Everton corner was only party-cleared straight into the path of the winger who smashed home a well-placed low strike to seal what was a third successive Premier League win for the Blues for the first time since March 2021.  

Robust At The Back

It was another determined defensive display from the Toffees who did an excellent job of keeping the visitors' dangerous attackers at bay. Their reward was a third Premier League sheet in succession and they've now played 334 minutes of action since last conceding a goal.

Clocking Up The Shutouts

Another shutout meant the Blues have now managed five in their 16 league matches so far - only Newcastle (six) and Arsenal (six) have managed more. 

Vigorous Vitalii

Dyche admitted Mykolenko has been one of Everton's star players in the campaign so far, and nobody could argue differently. The defender was at his very best again on Sunday, finishing the game having made the most Everton tackles (seven) and joint-most clearances (six).

Happy Again At Home

A lot of noise has been made about Everton's form at Goodison Park this season, with results not marrying up with early season performances. Dyche's message has remained consistent throughout that time, and so have the team displays, only now they're getting their rewards - the Toffees have lost just one of their past six matches in L4 (W4, D1).