The Blues got back to winning ways, as some fans returned to Goodison Park.
But what did the numbers tell us about this steadfast performance from Everton?
A towering Blues back four
It didn’t come as too much of a surprise that Carlo Ancelotti opted for a back four of four central defenders.
The obvious concern with this was that while it may prove defensively sound, they wouldn’t be able provide an attacking outlet. And, to be honest, so it proved.
But the Blues thrived here with a great – and too rarely seen – intensity to their play. They didn’t create a whole lot, nor see much of the ball, but Carlo’s four big centre-backs comfortably kept Chelsea at bay. They also looked up for the fight for the full ninety minutes, another rarely seen mood.
This may be a great system to use against the top sides, although it might not be so effective against teams that Everton are expected to dominate.
First Clean Sheet…
…since the opening day
The Blues’ defence has been extremely leaky this season. But with the solid back four put together by Carlo, Everton kept their first clean sheet since their 1-0 win over Spurs on the opening day of the season. Wouldn’t have predicted it before the game, but hey we’ll take them any which way they come.
Now the challenge is to see if they can dominate a game yet keep it tight at the back.
Chelsea did not produce a single shot on target in the second half vs. Everton, despite chasing a 1-0 deficit.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 12, 2020
Iwobi and Allan(?) move Everton forward
With Everton’s full-backs clearly told to focus on their defensive duties, Alex Iwobi was once again tasked with driving the Blues forward with the ball – as well as Allan, who took on a more progressive role in this game.
Allan and Alex Iwobi completed four take-ons each in the first half for Everton vs. Chelsea, more than any other players on the pitch.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 12, 2020
Dancing around the Chelsea defence. pic.twitter.com/cwT1v00ewY
The Best of Gylfi
Six key passes from the Icelandic midfielder
One player that has come in for a lot of criticism over the past 18 months have been Gylfi Sigurdsson.
But against Chelsea, he put in one his best performances in a Blue shirt. He moved the ball quickly, he pressed well and, of course, he was as cool as his homeland when he slotted home his penalty.
He also played a remarkable six key passes in this game – the highest any Everton player has produced in a single game for over two years.
And that’s not all, he also completed two tackles and four interceptions in his attacking midfielder role – the joint most defensive actions (tied with Ben Godfrey) on the field.
Reminiscent of Last Season’s Meeting
Low possession, high intensity
While the Blues didn’t manage to set a Premier League record for the number of tackles this time around, this performance against Chelsea seemed to once again ooze the spirit that Duncan Ferguson brought forth last season.
Everton completed 13 tackles and 23 interceptions (2nd most this season), while having just 28.1% of the ball (the lowest under Ancelotti and even lower than the 30% against Chelsea last season).