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Everton 2-2 Chelsea: Match Recap & Reaction | A battling draw saved by Ellis Simms

Everton head to Stanford Bridge and pick up a valuable point after fighting back twice.

Chelsea FC v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images


Everton’s chances of getting anything from this game were very low. They arrived at Stamford Bridge winless in 27 top-flight games away to Chelsea (D12, L15), the joint longest winless run by one Premier League club away to another. The Toffees’ last league victory at Chelsea was in November 1994, when Paul Rideout scored the only goal and Joe Royle was in charge.

On top of that, Chelsea kicked off the match on the back of an upswing in fortunes. A third consecutive top-flight win would have been their best run since a four-match streak in September and October, which included Graham Potter’s first three league fixtures in charge. Chelsea had only lost one of their last 14 top-flight fixtures in the month of March (W11, D2), though that was a 2-0 defeat at Everton in 2019.

Sean Dyche in his prematch comments:

“We need to go away from home and take it on. There are certain tactical things we might change for any given game. But, generally speaking, the mentality is a massive thing to take on an away performance. With the right kind of body language, intent and that desire to go and perform. To win a game.“

Starting Lineups

Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin was still nursing a hamstring problem and was not available. Andros Townsend remains a long-term absentee.

Sean Dyche has kept his faith with the team who beat Brentford last week.

Chelsea were without Raheem Sterling, who has a minor hamstring problem, but Reece James was back into contention after missing the win against Leicester through illness. N’Golo Kante, who last played in August, returned to the matchday squad. Thiago Silva, Mason Mount and Cesar Azpilicueta were again sidelined.

Chelsea made three changes to the side that beat Leicester last time out, with Benoit Badiashile joining the back three, Reece James returning and Christian Pulisic taking Mykhailo Mudryk’s place in attack. Incredibly these changes brought Graham Potter up to 99 first team changes since he became manager.

Match Recap

Darren England was the man in the middle as Chelsea kicked off in the late afternoon. Chelsea had the first chance as Enzo Fernandez struck the ball but two Everton players were in the way to stop the shot. A free kick from Ben Chilwell was cleared over the bar by Michael Keane. The resulting free kick was headed away but Matteo Kovacic volleyed the ball and it went just wide.

Chelsea FC v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Everton had their first chance to show the high press like they did against Arsenal with Abdoulaye Doucoure and Demarai Gray at the top of the pitch. Chelsea continued to control the ball and were attempting to get Chilwell and Reece James into the play. A cross from Chilwell made it to Joao Felix whose shot was blocked by James Tarkowski but it was Kai Havertz who then headed the ball over the bar. Chelsea were at 85% possession and Everton couldn’t keep hold of the ball.

It took 17 minutes for Everton to get their first attempt as Dwight McNeil took a long shot that was well over the bar. A quick break by Chelsea was thwarted by good tracking back from Amadou Onana. It was then Havertz who forced the first save from Jordan Pickford. Christian Pulisic was then crossing the ball with Chilwell sliding the ball into the path of Felix but Pickford was quick off his line to smother it.

Chelsea FC v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Joao Felix was unsuccessful in his attempt to chip Pickford. It was Felix who looked the most likely to find a way through as the pressure continued to mount. A yellow card was given to Idrissa Gueye for a late tackle on Pulisic. The 30th minute arrived and Everton had absorbed all of the pressure that Chelsea had provided.

Tarkowski gave up the ball and Felix sprinted to goal. Tarkowski put his arm up and Felix went down and jumped up appealing for some justice. None given. Some possession for Everton led to a free kick after Gray was taken down just outside the Chelsea box. It was Gray who lined it up and thumped it into the wall. Pulisic had taken it off the face and lay in a pile on the floor with angels dancing around his head.


After 4 attempts in the first 10 minutes, Chelsea only had three more in the next thirty. Dwight McNeil then made a great run and lost his composure as he was trying to go past Kalidou Koulibaly. A chance missed with Gray just outside of him. This was the best period of the half for Everton as they kept hold of the ball the travelling Evertonians found their voice in support.

The half ended with Dwight McNeil getting a yellow card when he took down Fernandez on the edge of the box. A well worked free kick ended up with a great block by Keane. Three minutes of added time transpired and it was all square at half time.

Everton kicked off the second half with the rain coming down. Fernandez played the ball wide and the cross from James caused some trouble and ended up with a third corner. Pickford made a great save off Havertz which then gave Gray a chance to take the ball up the field. Alex Iwobi needed a new pair of boots after his split in two.

The dam final broke when Joao Felix blasted a ball into the far corner, off the post and into the net. The long ball switch had been used well and Everton had to open up to get back into the game.

Chelsea FC v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Everton had a chance when Iwobi put the ball into the box but Keane was unable to get anything on it. The ball was into the back of Pickford’s net moments later but the play was called back for offside. Another foray down the wing by Iwobi forced Koulibaly into a late tackle that forced the ref to give him Chelsea’s first yellow card. McNeil and Gray stood over it and the free kick from Gray was headed wide by Keane. A real chance.

Kovacic had a real chance and Tarkowski blocked the shot and it looped over the bar. Pulisic was then withdrawn with Conor Gallagher coming on in his place. Wesley Fofana rose above all to head the ball from a corner but it was nowhere near the net.

Demarai Gray took the ball wide and put in a decent cross but Dwight McNeil was not able to reach it. Everton’s first corner of the game was finally delivered in the 68th minute. Onana met it but it deflected off Fofana. Dwight McNeil put the second one into the box with Tarkowski heading it goalward and Doucoure was in the right place to get the ball just barely over the line. Back in it and the blue flares were on the pitch behind Pickford’s goal. The blue of Everton, not Chelsea.

Chelsea FC v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

The nervousness around the Bridge was palpable as Everton streamed forward again but Chelsea then countered and Havertz forced Pickford into an important save. A mixup between Tarkowski and Godfrey led to Reece James hitting the ground and the referee pointed to the spot. James was given a yellow card for a push after the play. VAR looked at the play but the penalty stood. Kai Havertz walked up to the ball and put the ball in the top corner. The parity had lasted 7 minutes. Pickford has now not saved a Premier League penalty for five years.

Chelsea FC v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

With 25 minutes to go, Everton brought on Ellis Simms in place of Gueye. Kovacic was removed and Ruben Loftus-Cheek was then brought on for Chelsea. McNeil then got the ball wide and slid the ball across the box but Simms could not get to it. Gallagher then took the ball down the wing but was unable to do anything with it. Vitalii Mykolenko replaced the flagging Coleman and forced Ben Godfrey into the right-back role.

Fofana and Felix were withdrawn for Chelsea with Chalobah and Chukwuemeka joining the game. The final five minutes arrived with Everton unable to get onto the front foot. Simms did get his chance after Doucoure put him through and he took it with aplomb to get his first Premier League goal. Out of the ashes. Could they hold on as the five minutes of added time was shown to the crowd?

Chelsea FC v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

A late free kick was given by McNeil and Reece James delivered the ball into the box but Havertz could not get his head onto the ball. Another corner followed but this time from Chilwell and another corner was given. Chilwell raced over to take another but the whistle was blown and the point was ours. Everton ended the day in 15th place with a 2 point gap to the drop zone but more importantly, 1 point from 12th!

MOTM: James Tarkowski

Chelsea FC v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Instant Reaction

The compactness of the team is certainly the number one priority for any team that Sean Dyche is managing. This compactness allowed Chelsea to play wide and get both Chilwell and James down the flanks. It also gave space to Felix when a long ball was put over the top. Coleman and Godfrey slotted into a back five when required and made it difficult for Chelsea to find a way through. The only problem was when Chelsea made a cross field pass and then moved the ball quickly. This needs to be worked on during the international break.

In every game since Sean Dyche arrived, the first goal determined the winner of the game. Away from home, Everton just do not have an attacking threat. Their reliance on free kicks and corners has been their only way onto the scoresheet. It was so great to see Ellis Simms get onto the pitch and then breeze past Koulibaly on his way to slotting home the equalizer. I am not sure how he can make his way into Dyche’s thinking but he brings something different than any of his other options other than DCL but his return is unknown.

This was another battling draw and after Chelsea looked like they were starting to find form the chance of any points was low. To come from behind twice was great and the team never stopped trying to get the ball forward. Everton’s possession in the second half increased dramatically after they went behind. Keeping the game close was the key and the first half was a key to the game. What is most important was their ability to find a way to create more chances. Also, a hard earned point away from home. Confidence growing.