Everton achieved their first home win of the campaign by dismantling the current Premier League champions 3-1, thanks in part to a hatrick by super-sub Steven Naismith.
The only changes from the Spurs game came with Galloway and Besic coming in for the injured Oviedo and Cleverley
The blues lined up in a 4-3-3, Howard, Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Galloway, Barry, McCarthy, Besic, Barkley, Kone, Lukaku
After the summer of the ‘John Stones saga’, it was always going to be a match that would have some spice than usual. It was us against them, the media and everyone else who had their say on what we should’ve done regarding our John. We had won and the whole of the footballing world were devastated. Goodison pre kick off was at its ‘bear pit’ best, all the old songs and ‘money can’t buy you stones’ got an airing.
We needed a fast start and to put Chelsea on the back foot as early as possible. Our first furore forwards came from a quick counter that ended with Besic bursting into the box before seeing his cross blocked away for a corner. It didn’t feel like it at the time but was in fact the turning point of the game for us. Unfortunately for Besic, from the previous cross he had what looked like another hamstring injury. On a positive note Steven Naismith was about to enter the fray. I’m sure I wasn’t the only fan with his head in his hands at the thought of Naismith coming on ahead of Mirallas and Deulofeu.
It didn’t take long for Evertonian’s to be eating their words. Good link up play between Galloway, Naismith and Barkley created space down the Everton left, Naismith playing Galloway in, before the youngster put in an excellent cross for Naismith to head the ball past Begovic into the top right hand corner of the net. Goodison erupted and Everton’s self belief was returning.
Chelsea knew they were in a game but couldn’t possibly had imagined what was to unfold. It only took the Blues a further 5 minutes before they doubled their lead. A long ball forwards from Jagielka ended up falling nicely to Lukaku out wide on the far touch-line. Great play between him and Kone created an acre of space down the centre of the pitch, Rom then slipped a great pass to Ross who in turn played the ball out to an onrushing Naismith who took one touch before placing a fizzing left footed shot from 20 yards out past a sprawling Begovic. If the atmosphere was good after the first then the second took the roof off.
It could’ve got even worst for the visitors though, great chances for McCarthy and Kone brought brilliant saves from Begovic and if it wasn’t for him it could’ve been embarrassing. However in typical Everton fashion, we wanted to make a game out of it. Out of nothing Matic fired an unstoppable shot from 30 yards past Tim Howard into the top left hand corner. It was a fantastic strike but one that could’ve been stopped. Both Barkley and McCarthy didn’t get out to close him down so decided to just hit it. All of a sudden the tables had turned and Chelsea began to dominate. Last ditch blocks and clearances meant the Blues went in 2-1 up but because of the Matic goal, it was a feeling of anxiety going into the break.
The second half began and I had a bad feeling that Chelsea were going to start to dominate like they had at the end of the first half. Fortunately for the Toffees we gave as good as we got. Rom forced two good saves from Begovic but that third and decisive goal wouldn’t come. Chelsea’s best chance came from a counter attack when Ivanovic and Costa broke with pace but Jagielka and Coleman got back to snuff out the danger.
Just when it was looking like a nervy final ten minutes the Blues put the final nail in the Chelsea coffin. Great play once again, this time between Stones, Lennon and Barkley sucked the Chelsea defence out before slipping a brilliant slide-rule pass for Naismith to coolly slot his hatrick goal against the West-Londoners!
Goodison was rocking to its foundations and Everton had put the current Premier League Champions to the sword. The referee blew the full-time whistle and the celebrations began. Everton running out 3-1 winners.
Super-sub Naismith will rightly get the plaudits for his hatrick but it was a real team effort against Chelsea. From fans to the centre forwards everyone did their jobs. We started with a quick tempo and didn’t let Chelsea settle, putting them on the back foot from the off. Praise must go to young Brendan Galloway who got hung out to dry against City and my fear would be he’d struggle again but the lad was fantastic, not putting a foot wrong all game. He was defensively sound and has added the attacking element to his game too. Barkley was tidy in possession and came away with two assists. Not his most lung busting of games but a very mature performance from the Wavertree wizard. Barry broke up everything Chelsea tried to start and was back to his best. Rom and Kone linked up well and created space for others to operate in. I think we are finally seeing the real Kone that Martinez has harped on about. He has really hit the ground running this season and was unlucky to be substituted when he did. Martinez must also get huge credit for the win today. As much as I didn’t agree with bringing on Naismith, he proved me wrong and got his other subs spot on. I worry that he’s not a pro active manager in terms of his changes at times but today he was on point. Last but not least I want to mention John Stones. The boy was fantastic from start to finish, his Cruyff turn in the six yard box and the moment he took on 4 defenders in his own half before playing the ball out wide to Coleman to start an attack was a thing of beauty. Like so many others he was faultless in his performance and showed the transfer speculation hasn’t fazed him one bit. To play like he did against the team who coveted him so aggressively showed his maturity. Finally, we also got our first glimpse of Funes Mori and from the little we saw I was very impressed. Looked great in the air and quick across the ground. The 50 yard run forwards with the ball before getting fouled by Costa was brilliant.
The negatives were few and far between but we came out the game with two more injuries to Besic and Coleman, which are is very concerning, especially with the squad already looking stretched.
It was a fantastic way to get our first win at Goodison this season and has set the precedent for other games this season. We just need to find a way to transfer this kind of performance against teams like West Brom and Watford et al!
Man of the match was a relatively easy decision today with only one person who could’ve won it. The Albino Pele scored the first Everton hatrick since 2011 and he ran Chelsea ragged. His energy and finishing put the class-less Londoners to the sword.
Next up is Swansea away, another tough game but one we will be going into with bags of confidence.
Come on you blues!