Nervy Defense for Everton
Don’t let the clean sheet fool you, this match could have gone very differently for Everton. Had it not been for some good saves, timely tackles and bad luck from Chelsea we could be talking about yet another loss.
Right out of the gate Chelsea went into attack mode. Eden Hazard met little resistance on his runs to the box and the Everton defense looked shaky. This would unfortunately continue for the entirety of the first half. Everton struggled to get the ball into Chelsea’s half as the visitors spent most of the half parked firmly in Everton’s defensive area.
Fortunately for Everton, Chelsea were unable to capitalize on any of their chances in this match. Scoring opportunities were either saved, blocked or drifted just wide. There is an alternate universe in which this match ended up as a 3-0 loss. But luck was on Everton’s side this day.
Press and counter proves effective
It’s no coincidence that when Everton can press effectively and generate offense from the counter attack they perform well. Their usual front three are speedy players who can feast off of defenders caught on the wrong foot. They often struggle when they are forced to build up from the back slowly and cannot keep the opposition off kilter.
There was some attempts at pressing Chelsea in the first half, but it was the second half where the strategy really came into play. Everton really seemed to throw Chelsea off of their game and despite losing the possession battle badly, they had more serious scoring chances throughout the match.
Obviously this strategy can fail badly when playing against patient teams brimming with talent. But at the moment it seems to be the best way for Everton to succeed and they should really run with the counter on a more regular basis.
Pickford improves after inconsistent run
Jordan Pickford is undoubtedly a great talent, but he has been plagued with inconsistency this season. While the up and down performance of his defense shares some blame, the young goalkeeper has not done himself any favors. A lack of commutation with his center backs and a tendency to put himself in no man’s land have been huge issues.
But in this win against Chelsea, Pickford seemed to get himself back on track. His five saves were massive for Everton and he was easily the best defensive performer in this match. His man of the match level performance was not without hiccups, namely a near collision with Yerry Mina in the first half. But Pickford’s display in this match is one we’ve come to expect from him.