MATCH REPORT

Short report: Chances missed as Blues are held

The Blues remain unbeaten but we were held to a goalless draw by Everton at Stamford Bridge on what was ultimately a frustrating afternoon.

On Remembrance Sunday, the players were led onto the pitch by the Chelsea Pensioners and there was a minute's silence ahead of kick-off to honour those who had made the ultimate sacrifice in battle.

When the game began, there was little goalmouth action to speak of in the first half, apart from a couple of Marcos Alonso efforts, first directly from a free-kick and then a stunning volley which was brilliantly saved by Jordan Pickford.

It was a different story after the break, however, as we really took the game to the visitors. Alvaro Morata and Willian almost broke the deadlock, while Eden Hazard went close on three separate occasions, with Alonso denied by the woodwork.

Second-half showing

From an attacking perspective, the performance in the second half was much improved as the Blues played on the front foot and continually threatened. We did everything but score.

Hazard alone carved out three opportunities for himself, with Pickford denying him twice, and the Everton goalkeeper made a brilliant save a minute after the restart to deny Morata, who also had a goal disallowed just after Alonso had struck the foot of the post.

Sarri didn't hesitate to ring the changes. Cesc Fabregas, Pedro and Ross Barkley, playing against his former club, were all introduced as we went in search of the all-important goal and there was certainly no lack of effort from the players.

However, a lack of fortune, coupled with an inspired performance from Pickford, meant the breakthrough never arrived.

Still unbeaten

If, at the start of the campaign, we'd been offered the possibility of going into the final international break of the year unbeaten across all competitions, there is no doubt it's an offer which would have been gratefully accepted.

Well placed in the Premier League table, through to the last 32 of the Europa League with two matches to spare and in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup is a strong position to be in.

The team continue to make great strides under Sarri, and with big matches to come against the likes of Tottenham and Manchester City after the break, we will need to be performing well in order to maintain the form we have shown in the early part of the season.

For the Blues boss himself, Sarri is now the first manager to go through his opening 12 Premier League matches unbeaten.

Team news

Of the team which started against BATE Borisov on Thursday, only Kepa, Jorginho and Eden Hazard retained their places.

There were wholesale changes to the back four, while N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic came back into the midfield. Further forward, there were also starts for Alvaro Morata and Willian.

Key moments

12: Everton were first to threaten as Bernard, from outside the penalty area, flashed a powerful drive just past Kepa’s right-hand post.

22: Marcos Alonso went close from a free-kick, awarded for a foul by Yerry Mina on Hazard, the Spaniard whipping a low curler inches wide.

27: Jorginho was shown a yellow card after bringing down Gylfi Sigurdsson.

33: Kante followed Jorginho into the book, the midfielder penalised for a foul on Richarlison.

39: So close! Alonso peeled off around the back to meet a Willian free-kick but the left-back’s superb first-time volley, which was heading into the top corner, was expertly tipped away by Jordan Pickford.

45+1: A controversial moment as Bernard put his head into the face of Toni Rudiger who went down, but both players were then shown yellow cards.

46: The Blues almost took the lead in the opening minute of the second half but Pickford did well to turn Morata’s close range effort, from a Hazard cross, around the post.

55: Kepa produced a fine save to tip Sigurdsson's right-footed effort from outside the box over the bar.

59: Close! The best chance of the game up until that point for the Blues as Hazard released Willian with a wonderful pass, but the Brazilian's low drive rolled agonisingly wide of the far post.

60: Pickford was called into action again, this time pushing Hazard's strike away.

64: Sarri made his first change of the afternoon as Cesc Fabregas replaced Jorginho.

65: Off the post! The Blues went close yet again with Alonso's angled drive striking the foot of the post.67: Another change as Pedro came on for Willian.

72: Another chance went begging for the Blues as Hazard, released by Fabregas, fired inches wide of the far post.

81: Our final change as Barkley replaced Kovacic.

90+5: Our last chance as we are awarded a free-kick deep inside the Everton half but Fabregas's delivery was headed away by Mina.

What next

That’s it for a couple of weeks as we now head into the last international break of 2018, and when we return, it’s the small matter of a London derby away at Tottenham.

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