Everton inflict more pain on Pochettino's Chelsea

AFP , Sunday 10 Dec 2023

Everton continued to shrug off the impact of a 10-point Premier League deduction as a 2-0 win over Chelsea on Sunday took the Toffees four points clear of the relegation zone.

Chelsea s
Chelsea s English defender #26 Levi Colwill (L) fights for the ball with Chelsea s English defender #14 Trevoh Chalobah during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Chelsea at Goodison Park in Liverpool. Photo: AFP


Abdoulaye Doucoure opened the scoring before Lewis Dobbin's first Everton goal imposed another damaging defeat on Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino.

Without the penalty for breaching financial rules, which Everton are appealing, Sean Dyche's men would be four points above Chelsea in mid-table.

Pochettino shuffled his pack after a dreadful display in losing 2-1 at Manchester United in midweek.

But the Argentine is struggling to solve his side's lack of a clinical edge up front, despite the club having spent £1 billion ($1.3 billion) on new players in the past three transfer windows.

Chelsea were able to welcome back Conor Gallagher from suspension, while captain Reece James, Benoit Badiashile and Armando Broja came in as Pochettino made four changes.

But James' injury-hit campaign goes on as he was forced off midway through the first half.

Chelsea dominated the first half but were undone by a familiar lack of punch up front.

Enzo Fernandez tested Jordan Pickford with an effort from outside the box before the England number one produced a spectacular stop to deny Cole Palmer a stunning goal from long range.

Broja was offering far more than Nicolas Jackson as a target for Chelsea to hit, but did not solve Pochettino's need for a clinical finisher.

The Albanian prodded his best chance over late in the first half from Mykhailo Mudryk's teasing cross.

Everton find groove

Everton blew Newcastle away 3-0 to move out of the relegation zone on Thursday but took time to warm to their task.

It was not until after half-time that the hosts had a shot on target as Dwight McNeil's sweet strike from the edge of the box was turned behind by Robert Sanchez.

Chelsea did not heed that warning as they were cut wide open with Everton's next attack.

McNeil's pass in behind was perfectly weighted for Dominic Calvert-Lewin and when his effort was saved by Sanchez, Doucoure was on hand to fire in the rebound.

The Mali international scored the goal on the final day of last season that saved Everton from relegation and his six goals already this season are going a long way to prolonging their 70-year stay in the English top flight.

Pochettino turned to Jackson and Raheem Sterling off the bench to rescue a result.

However, Everton comfortably held on before adding to their lead in stoppage time.

Chelsea substitute goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic flapped at a corner and Dobbin smashed home to spark wild scenes of celebrations.

A third win in eight days capped a stunning week for Everton, which has nearly wiped out the toughest sporting sanction in Premier League history.

A seventh defeat in 16 league games in charge for Pochettino sees Chelsea slip into the bottom half, behind west London neighbours Fulham.

The former Tottenham boss has pleaded for patience as he tries to mould together an array of expensive young talent.

But Chelsea managers do not tend to get much time to turn things around and the pressure is on for Pochettino to find a quick fix to his side's problems.

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