Everton have been struggling to keep up with the top sides with their limited squad, which is now going to be further challenged with Abdoulaye Doucoure picking up an injury that will see Carlo Ancelotti stretched even futher.
At Chelsea tonight the Blues were never going to be able to go toe-to-toe with the hosts, but defended in a disciplined enough manner for as long as they could but were still unable to keep up, dropping a 2-0 decision that sees their excellent away run come to an end.
The hosts started off on the front foot as Everton tried to keep them at bay in a 3-4-1-2 formation, but Chelsea’s superior quality showed itself almost immediately. Reece James, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Kai Havertz found spaces to take advantage at will as the Blues scrambled to clear time and again.
The opening goal did come with a touch of fortune however. Hudson-Odoi did well switching wings and found Marcos Alonso who fed Kai Havertz running into the box, his shot was going wide but deflected off Ben Godfrey and wrong-footed Jordan Pickford at the near post.
Holgate continued to have a miserable day losing Alonso again off a long-ball, but Pickford was brilliant saving another deflected shot onto the post. Everton worked their way back into the game before the break, creating a couple of half-chances but nothing significant.
Chelsea continued their dominance in the second half and it was no surprise when they went up two nil. Havertz once again left Holgate for dead running behind the backline and Pickford was off his line quickly, but had to foul his man as the ball was dinked past him. Jorginho sent Pickford the wrong way to double the hosts lead with less than half an hour left to play.
Ancelotti threw on Tom Davies, Josh King and Bernard in succession as Everton tried to regain a foothold in the game and even made a couple of chances, but it was always Chelsea who continued to look closer to the next goal.
In fact, were it not for Pickford, this could have well been another 4-0 like in December. Still some way for Ancelotti and his bare-bones squad to go before European football can be secured.