Everton looked well off the pace as they rounded off a long week with a dreadful performance away at the champions.
The Europa League hangover seems to already be making an impact on the squad and with no game to worry about next weekend Ronald Koeman will now be focused on adding much needed quality and depth to the squad before Thursday’s deadline.
The game got off to a slow start but it wasn’t long before the champions began to flex their muscles, getting forward with pace and dispossessing a tired looking Everton side with their energy and relentless pressing. Everton were looking like a side who were playing their third game in six days and travelled across Europe and back, with no pace or penetration going forward and plenty of second guessing at the back.
Pedro had a couple of chances and David Luiz tested Jordan Pickford, with these chances a sign of things to come. Willian teased the Blues out wide and gave it to Cesc Fabregas who combined brilliantly with his compatriot Alvaro Morata before stabbing a low shot home. Everton seemed to give up once they had fallen behind and it was looking like it could be a long afternoon in West London.
The game was all but won for the hosts 11 minutes later as Morata powered home a header from a wonderful Cesar Azpilicueta cross. Chelsea were dominating the Toffees and keeping them under intense pressure, willian attempted a forward ball which was blocked by Michael Keane out towards the captain, who brilliantly found Morata in the area who just needed to divert the ball home, easy pickings for him.
Half time couldn’t come soon enough for Everton as Chelsea looked like they could go on to equal last season’s emphatic 5-0 win over the Toffees. Muhamed Besic replaced Tom Davies at the break but the fresh legs did nothing to stem the Chelsea onslaught. Everton failed to have a touch of the ball in Chelsea’s penalty area in the first period, with Sandro having the first shot of the game on 47 minutes, seeing his effort blocked by Luiz. He cut a lonesome figure up front and failed to put the home defence under any real pressure.
Victor Moses and Willian were causing all sorts of issues on the right hand side, combining well with quick one-two’s and getting into threatening areas time and time again. Moses had a couple of chances to put the game well and truly to bed but fluffed his lines on both occasions.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin came on to replace Sandro and was the only player who really gave Chelsea problems in the final third. He pounced on a defensive mistake and drove towards the box, eventually finding Rooney who had a chance to force a first save out of Courtois but he sliced his effort well wide of the mark. Ashley Williams had a couple of chances to get Everton back into hit, hooking a decent effort just over the bar and then glancing a header agonisingly wide from a beautiful Gylfi Sigurdsson cross.
Despite Everton finally testing the Chelsea defence, the hosts were still threatening every time they attacked and Everton were continually sloppy in possession throughout the game. With just 3 minutes of normal time left Gueye finally forced a save out of Courtois as he side footed a decent effort towards the top corner, but the Belgian keeper was equal to it and tipped it over.
The result wasn’t hugely surprising but the performance was. After looking so solid defensively in the opening weeks of the season, Everton had no answer to Chelsea’s pace and power today and all but rolled over and took their beating. It was certainly a gruelling week for the Blues but tiredness is not a viable excuse for such a disjointed and disappointing performance. The game raised further questions over the Toffees striking options and Koeman will be desperate to add some real quality to the forward line before the window slams shut on Thursday night.