Match Review: Chelsea F.C. vs. Everton F.C.
Match Review: Chelsea F.C. vs. Everton F.C.
Stamford Bridge | November 5th 2016
The Carneiro Curse is broken
Confidence has seldom been higher in recent times at Stamford Bridge as Antonio Conte’s side looked to make it five wins in a row against the formidable Everton F.C. Can you imagine that a 5-0 score line flattered the losing team? That was the case today. Chelsea did make 5 wins in 5, 5 clean sheets, and 16 goals scored while averaging 3 goals per game. With that, I cautiously declare what we have all suspected for weeks: the Carneiro curse is broken. Both teams started the game with the 3-4-3 formation, but Chelsea’s better understanding and familiarity with the system was no match for Everton.
Let’s dive in.
I wondered how this Chelsea back line would fare against the sheer size and strength of Lukaku and it showed early on in the game as Azpilicueta and Luiz combined to isolate the former Chelsea boy. If that would not be Everton’s ace in this game, Robert Madley seemed eager to take up the mantle as he denied Chelsea what was a clear red card offence on Costa by Seamus Coleman. The Everton man escaped without even conceding a free kick. Thankfully, it was all just early nerves from the referee and Bolasie got a well-deserved yellow for his tackle on Moses after escaping one moments earlier after pulling back Azpilicueta. These were the most noteworthy events in the early stages of this game because Chelsea, although having more possession of the ball, had not troubled Everton very much.
Then Hazard happened.
In the 20th minute the game came to life. Matić won the ball in the middle and delivered the ball to Costa who then found Hazard out wide. The young wizard had much to do, but did it all too well as he cut inside past Williams and Coleman before then slotting the ball sweetly into the bottom corner of Maarten Stekelenburg’s far corner. The Everton goalkeeper was still collecting himself when only 77 seconds later Marcos Alonso doubled the lead by finishing off a Hazard→Pedro→Alonso move through the legs of the hapless Stekelenburg. Everton then attempted something that looked like a response, but Chelsea were having none of that and after some mesmerizing play almost got a third goal as Moses struck the post after connecting with Alonso’s cross at the far post.
At this point, Everton were rattled and could only watch Chelsea played keep-ball. The Blues were not denied their 3rd goal as Diego’s endeavour earned Chelsea a corner, which he then converted after Matić’s headed flick landed gratefully at Diego’s feet. The league’s top scorer hammered home from close range to send Chelsea into the dressing room 3-0 up.
I’m sure Koeman said something to his team at half time but he might as well have sung them a song. Chelsea came back to the field and picked up where they left off. Sure, there were some nerves shown by Alonso when his touch conceded a needless corner, but I can understand the lad as it was all going just too well. You wondered, “surely the bad moment will come any time now.” It didn’t come and Moses nearly made Everton pay for even thinking of coming back. The Nigerian (contrary to Jamie Redknap’s understanding that Moses is actually a young English player) single-handedly turned defence to attack by dribbling across the field and setting up Matić who should have had a shot, but instead passed the ball to Diego who was then wrongly judged offside. Chelsea were intense, probing patiently, but purposefully. In one such move, 23 passes were strung together around the Everton players who could only spectate. The move ended with Hazard and Pedro combining beautifully with a one-two and again Eden Hazard dribbled into the box and stuck the ball past Stekelenburg into the bottom near post for his second of the game.
Chelsea were flying and Everton had no answer. Lennon came into the game as Koeman looked for something – anything – but all he could do was watch as Diego won the ball in the midfield, dribbled passed Barry, played the ball wide for Hazard whose saved effort landed in the path of Pedro for an easy tap in for Chelsea’s 5th goal of the night. Something’s happened after this I’m sure because this was there were still 25 minutes of game time left. It was 25 minutes of horror for Everton who had to chase Chelsea around to chants of “olé” as the Blues played keep-ball. Chelsea did sit back only for a bit when Batshuayi came on for Hazard and Oscar for Pedro and Terry for Cahill, but Everton just wanted to go home. Chelsea looked like they were going to add a 6th and then a 7th, but 5 was enough as it finished Chelsea 5 - 0 Everton at full time at Stamford Bridge.
It really is refreshing to see intensity and confidence return to this team. The way they played their way out of tough spots, kept the ball under increasing pressure, and bamboozled Everton in attack was a joy to behold. Chelsea are league leaders for now, although that can change tomorrow as Liverpool take on Swansea and Arsenal take on Tottenham. There is much to be optimistic about, as Eden Hazard has scored 7 goals in 4 games consecutive games. The man might just eclipse his 2014/15 title winning form; this was his first multi-goal game since February 2014 where he scored a hat trick against Newcastle.
Diego Costa also continues his goal-scoring streak and leads the league now with 9 goals to his name. The last international break gave Chelsea the time they needed to turn their fortunes around after losing to both Liverpool and Arsenal, but this time it threatens to take momentum away from the Blues.
Our next game will be away at Middlesbrough on the 20th of November. Let us all collectively hope that not all that can go wrong in two weeks will go wrong. Until then, KEEP THE BLUE FLAG FLYING HIGH #KTBFFH!
About the author
Barnabas Gwaza, @BarnabasTGS
Barnabas displays brave commitment to the Blue side by fighting rival fans valiantly on Facebook. He is most known for winning the London Is Blue Jersey give away and by those standards he has achieved success in life. He now enjoys retirement creating content for his favourite Podcast while in school.