It wasn’t a visible performance to launch a new season under ambitious new owners, but Chelsea found rare encouragement at Everton. “Maybe it wasn’t the most exciting game in history Premier League“Thomas Tuchel is understated; but a win is a win is a win.” It’s potentially important, given Chelsea’s recent troubles at Goodison Park.
Jorginho’s late penalty kick in first-half stoppage time ended a run of four straight league defeats. Chelsea in Goodison. Not decisive, solid rather than spectacular, Tuchel’s squad lacked penetration despite the vital contribution from Raheem Sterling.
Everton impressed defensively and had possession of the ball but were toothless in the final third. Surprising absolutely no one with not a single recognized striker for opening day. Their problems were exacerbated by the loss of Ben Godfrey to a broken leg. The other defender, Yeri Mina, also left, injured.
Frank Lampard confirmed that “Ben has a small fracture of his fibula”. “I don’t know how long he will be out for sure, but it will take months more than weeks.” The Everton boss added: “I thought we put in a good performance and didn’t deserve to lose. In terms of both the boxes and the chances created, a draw would have been a fair result. We played really well and they didn’t really hurt us but we had a lapse in focus on the kick. Penalty.”
There was a raucous reception for Everton when their manager withdrew to Goodison Road before the game as fans once again showed the support that was instrumental to last season’s survival. Lampard’s side responded with a strong, high-energy start only to lose Godfrey in horrific circumstances just 10 minutes into the new season. The fact that his injury was unnecessary only added to Everton’s suffering.
Serious turbulence in the center of defense contributed to Everton’s defeat last season and their latest defeat was caused by a back pass that Godfrey played blindly towards Jordan Pickford. His loose ball went within a yard of play before Pickford passed it straight to Kai Havertz. The assistant referee flag remained off, referee Craig Pawson allowed play to continue, and in his attempts to make up for Godfrey he launched himself in a tough but clean challenge to the Chelsea striker, the defender sent signals to the bench immediately and received nearly seven minutes of treatment to his ankle before being carried on a stretcher .
It was a sad sight as the player who missed the last seven games of last season was dealt a heavy blow by Lampard. Chelsea took advantage gradually. Mason Mount was the first to seriously test Pickford with a low shot that pushed the Everton goalkeeper, captain in the absence of Seamus Coleman and in his 200th appearance for the club, into Sterling’s road. Mason Holgate, Godfrey’s replacement, produced a timely intervention.
Sterling thought he broke the deadlock shortly before halftime when Pickford fired home from N’Golo Kante and the new signing converted the rebound. His celebrations were pared down with an offside flag.
Everton came close when James Tarkovsky’s impressive pass from Vitaly Mikolenko met a towering header that turned Edward Mendy over. But their graft vanished in a moment of panic from Abdoulaye Doukuri. Kalidou Koulibaly’s distribution shone on his debut in the Premier League, and from the decisive pass to the summer signing, Ben Chilwell found himself exhausted on goal.
Doukuri, caught by the wing-back’s high kick, reacted by grabbing Chilwell and Pawson immediately pointed to the penalty spot as the defender backed off. Pickford saved from Jorginho when they faced each other in the European Championship final at Wembley last summer. There will be no repetition here as the Italian quietly sent the England international the wrong way from the penalty spot with the last kick of the half.
In a game with few clear chances, Everton missed several promising openings due to a stray final ball or a poor first touch. Demarai Gray was supposed to play Anthony Gordon clean in goal but he fired on Thiago Silva while Dele Alli missed a good chance from Patterson’s vital cross.
Sterling nearly sealed the win seven minutes from time when he met a cross from Mark Cucurella’s £62m cross, who made his Chelsea debut as a late substitute, but his shot from close range veered wide with Pickford’s loss.
Tuchel said: “Seven minutes of stoppage time in the first half and 10 in the second shows a lot of interruptions. No team can really find their rhythm. Everton defended very deep and we struggled with substitutions or changes in pace. We needed more movement. on the ball.
“It looks like we didn’t want to make the crucial mistake, so we didn’t take any risks. But in the first game you have to wait and do what is necessary to win. To start with an away win is a great result.”