Match Report

Match report: Chelsea 2 Everton 0

A comfortable victory over Everton secured our spot in the top four and saw Thomas Tuchel become the first coach to keep a clean sheet in all of his first five home games in the Premier League.

Our German head coach is yet to concede a goal at Stamford Bridge since arriving in January and remains unbeaten after a match in which Edouard Mendy was hardly tested.

Despite coming up against a side in good form and with strong Champions League ambitions of their own, we dominated the fixture from start to finish.

We had to wait a while for our first goal, though, and when it did arrive it was officially recorded as an own goal. Either way, Kai Havertz deserved plenty of credit as his first-time effort looked like it might be headed for the net even before it took a heavy deflection off Toffees defender Ben Godfrey.

Havertz certainly got the last touch when he fired into the net after half-time, but this time it was disallowed as the referee correctly spotted that he had handled when controlling the ball.

Our German, back in the starting line-up for the first time since January, continued to be at the centre of things, and was brought down in the box by goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, allowing Jorginho to finally put Everton out of their misery by getting our second from the penalty spot.

The selection

The most notable of five changes by Thomas Tuchel came in the front three, where Timo Werner continued as the central striker, but behind him Mason Mount and Hakim Ziyech both made way, with Callum Hudson-Odoi returning in a more advanced position and Kai Havertz starting his first Premier League game since Tuchel's first match in charge in late January.

In midfield, Mateo Kovacic returned for N'Golo Kante to partner Jorginho, while Marcos Alonso replaced Ben Chilwell on the left. Reece James retained his place on the right flank.

The other change came in the back three, as Antonio Rudiger dropped to the bench and Kurt Zouma came into the team, joining skipper Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen in front of Edouard Mendy. Thiago Silva returned from injury, but wasn't fit enough to start, so joined Rudiger on the bench.

Quiet start

Exactly one year to the day since we last played in front of a full Stamford Bridge, in a 4-0 win over the same opponents, it was a quiet start to the game on and off the pitch, with supporters again absent from the stands and the on-field action beginning with a measured tempo, as we patiently built possession from the back in the manner we have become accustomed to under Thomas Tuchel.

The first effort at goal came after Timo Werner had won a corner, following some promising early work by Kai Havertz in the number 10 position. A short routine ended with the ball arriving for Werner just outside the box, but he couldn’t get over hs shot and it went high over the bar.

By this point it had become apparent that Everton were attempting to match-up with our formation, by pulling Mason Holgate into a back three and using Alex Iwobi as an unorthodox wing-back in a five-man defence. That was already leaving Dominic Calvert-Lewin looking isolated, with Kurt Zouma sticking close to the centre-forward and comfortably dealing with any attempts by the Toffees to get the ball forward.

However, despite the Blues having all the possession, it wasn’t until after the 15-minute mark that we managed another shot, when Reece James skipped past two challenges and travelled fully half the length of the pitch before having his shot was charged down from just inside the box. The resulting corner dropped for Jorginho on the edge, but his volley skipped just wide of the left-hand post.

Midway through the first half, Everton’s main contribution to the game had been a yellow card for Holgate after he dragged Werner to the ground out on the left, but we still hadn’t found an opening to create a clear chance, despite James increasingly finding space on the right wing.

Signs of life

The visitors started to come into things a little more after that, enjoying their first real spell of possession in our half and looking to deliver high balls into our box at any opportunity, but the closest Edouard Mendy came to being tested was having to catch a wayward cross which drifted on target.

However, it was Chelsea who found the net, through the returning Havertz. The goal owed much to good work by Callum Hudson-Odoi out on the right, as he shielded the ball and turned away from Andre Gomes into space down the left. That allowed him to feed Marcos Alonso in the inside-left channel, who moved unchallenged into the box and squared with power to Havertz.

The German’s first time shot looked destined for the far corner, but it took a big deflection off Ben Godfrey to nestle low inside the opposite post. The goal was initially awarded as an own goal for Godfrey, but it was hard to tell if Havertz's initial effort was on target, so it could be one for the dubious goals panel.

We continued to threaten down the left and it looked like we might be two goals up before the break when Andreas Christensen’s long pass over the top set Alonso free behind the Everton defence, but Jordan Pickford showed good reactions to get down low and turn the Spaniard’s shot around the post.

As it was we had to settle for just the one-goal lead at the end of a first half which we completely dominated, with Mendy untroubled right up until added time, when he comfortably dealt with a low shot from outside the box by Gomes.

Picking up where we left off

Given our advantage and control, the Blues saw little reason to change our approach after the break, especially with Everton needing to come out more in the second half in pursuit of an equaliser. There did seem to be a touch more urgency about our play though, as we looked to put the game to bed, and it wasn’t long before Pickford was again tested from an Alonso free-kick heading towards the top corner.

Havertz did then have the ball in the back of the net, having brought the ball down and turned before firing low past Pickford from close range, but the referee blew his whistle and VAR confirmed that the ball struck Havertz’s hand as he controlled it.

We were given a warning shortly after play resumed, when Richarlison got the ball with space to shoot just inside the box, but he didn’t make a clean connection and sliced wide. James nearly provided an instant response for Chelsea, as he drove low from range, but it skidded just wide of the far post with Pickford looking beaten.

Ending the contest

Hudson-Odoi was next to force a save from Pickford as we pushed hard for a decisive second goal which would kill Everton off, cutting in from the left and letting fly with a dipping effort, which was tipped over the bar.

However, it was from the penalty spot that the second goal eventually arrived, with Havertz heavily involved again. He beat Pickford in the race to reach a direct pass in behind and was brought down by the goalkeeper. Up stepped Jorginho to convert in his usual calm style, sending Pickford right and rolling into the bottom-left corner.

There was then a worrying moment as Zouma needed lengthy treatment after slipping awkwardly when playing a pass, but he was eventually able to continue. There was more concern, this time for Mendy as he ended up at the bottom of a heap of bodies after being fouled at a corner, but again he seemed to be okay.

That was important, as Zouma and Mendy were needed. Everton seemed not to have got the message that the game was over, briefly enjoying arguably their strongest spell of the game, but could fashion nothing out of it before substitutes Mason Mount and N’Golo Kante added their energy to proceedings and put us firmly back in the driver’s seat.

After that, it was Chelsea who were closest to finding a goal, with first Werner outmuscling his marker and forcing a save from Pickford at his near post, before the goalkeeper was in action again to deal with Zouma’s header from the resulting corner.

Pickford made another excellent double save to deny Werner again and then Kante, but in the end 2-0 had to be enough. It was the very least the Blues deserved for an absolutely dominant performance against a direct rival for a spot in the Premier League’s top four.

What's next?

We travel up to Elland Road to face Leeds United in the Premier League just after midday on Saturday, before returning to west London to host Atletico Madrid for the conclusion of our Champions League last-16 tie at 8pm on Wednesday evening.

Chelsea (3-4-2-1): Mendy; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Zouma; James, Jorginho, Kovacic (Kante 80), Alonso; Havertz, Hudson-Odoi (Mount 66); Werner (Pulisic 90)

Unused subs: Kepa, Rudiger, Thiago Silva, Chilwell, Ziyech, Giroud

Scorer: Godfrey og 31, Jorginho pen 65

Everton (5-2-1-2): Pickford; Iwobi (Davies 56), Holgate, Keane, Godfrey, Digne; Allan, Gomes (Bernard 75); Sigurdsson (c) (King 70); Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison

Unused subs: Tyrer, Joao Virginia, Nkounkou, Broadhead, John, Onyango

Booked: Holgate 17, Digne 50, Davies 89

Referee: Davide Coote

More from chelsea