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Five Telling Stats from Everton’s Opening Day Loss Against Chelsea

Everton started the season with a disappointing home loss, but there were definitely positives to take from the performance.

Everton FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Bitter Beginning

It obviously was not the start to the season that Evertonians would have hoped for, as Frank Lampard’s men could not muster a point-saving goal against Chelsea. It was only the second time the Toffees were kept off the scoresheet on opening day since 2011, the other being a scoreless draw against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in 2019. The Blues will look to bounce back and find their first win of the season at Aston Villa next Saturday.

Set-Piece Safety

Chelsea seemed to earn an endless amount of corners during the game, especially in the first half, but Mason Mount’s low drive saved by Pickford was the only chance they created from any of them. The Everton side of last season which looked so vulnerable from set-pieces was nowhere to be found, with Mason Holgate, in particular, making numerous headed clearances from Reece James’ deliveries. Long may it continue.

Dauntless Debut

One of Everton’s standout performers on Saturday afternoon was new signing James Tarkowski who translated his good form throughout pre-season into an excellent display at the back in his first Premier League game for Everton. Despite both Ben Godfrey and Yerry Mina going down injured during the game, he was able to successfully marshall a rotating back-line and held Chelsea to relatively few chances of significance. The former Burnley man seems to be a vital presence in the Toffees’ back line already.

Curse Concluded

Goodison Park has been a notoriously scary fixture for Chelsea in recent years, with Everton winning each of the last four matchups between the two sides at the Grand Old Lady heading into Saturday’s game. Although it wasn’t pretty, Chelsea did manage to finally end their recent hoodoo against the Toffees. The last time they won at Goodison, they went on to win the Premier League under the tutelage of current Spurs boss Antonio Conte.

Infield Iwobi

Arguably Everton’s best player on the day was Alex Iwobi, who was fantastic as one of the two central midfielders in Lampard’s 3-4-3 alongside Abdoulaye Doucoure. The Nigerian International was very effective at picking out passes that got Everton out of tight spaces and pressure situations. Despite the imminent arrivals of both Idrissa Gana Gueye and Amadou Onana, Iwobi gave his manager plenty of reasons to keep him in the starting line-up at Villa Park next week. I personally would love to see the two new boys accompany him in a midfield three which would provide buckets of hard work, industry, and ball progression.