Chelsea beat Everton 1-0 in their opening game of the Premier League (PL) season, ending the Toffees’ run of five matches unbeaten in home H2Hs.
After starting fairly well, Everton suffered an early setback when Ben Godfrey made a heavy challenge on Kai Havertz to recover from making a poor backpass but injured himself in the process – a devastating blow, with the defender missing from Frank Lampard’s starting XI in the final six games of last season. It took eight minutes for play to resume, but the hosts continued to defend resolutely when called upon and James Tarkowski’s header even forced Édouard Mendy into an intelligent save at the other end.
Chelsea built up plenty of late pressure in the first half, and Raheem Sterling thought he’d scored a debut goal when he converted the rebound after Jordan Pickford couldn’t hold N’Golo Kanté’s effort, only to see it ruled out for offside. However, the hosts’ work was eventually undone in the seventh minute of first-half injury time, when Abdoulaye Doucouré clumsily bundled over Ben Chilwell, conceding a penalty that Jorginho calmly stroked into the bottom corner after sending Pickford the wrong way.
Undeterred, the Toffees created promising openings soon after the restart, but Demarai Gray was slowed down by Thiago Silva and Doucouré saw his attempt stopped by Mendy. Aside from the fact the hosts were unable to break through Chelsea’s defence, there was further frustration when Yerry Mina went off injured after managing just 13 league appearances last term. Everton substitute Dele Alli then had the opportunity to lift the mood at Goodison Park soon after, but was let down by a tame first touch.
Sterling was denied his debut goal once again late into the 90 minutes, this time by a superb block from Vitaliy Mykolenko. Even so, Chelsea did enough to see out 10 minutes of stoppage time, due to a medical emergency in the crowd, and start their PL season with a victory for the third consecutive campaign. Meanwhile, Everton didn’t get off to the start they wanted, but can take positives from their performance as they aim to make big improvements, having only secured their PL survival in the penultimate game of the last campaign.