Chelsea failed to make the most of their game in hand in the race for the top four, as they succumbed to a 2-0 defeat away to Everton on Sunday.
Coming into the game with a chance to go level on points with fourth-placed Arsenal, Maurizio Sarri’s men started off strongly as Eden Hazard struck the base of the post just eight minutes in, while Gonzalo Higuain had an effort blocked soon after.
Pedro had two chances to score before the break, but mishit his first effort and while his second shot from a narrow angle did find the net, it was ruled out for offside. Chelsea failed to make the most of their dominance in the first period and it came back to haunt them after the break as Everton turned it on.
Andre Gomes forced Kepa Arrizabalaga early into the second half, soon after which Richarlison broke the deadlock, heading home after Kepa had parried Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s initial header in front of him.
Chelsea’s situation worsened in the 71st minute when Marcos Alonso tripped Richarlison inside the box to gift Everton a penalty. Gylfi Sigurdsson stepped up take the spot-kick, but was denied by Kepa. However, the Icelandic international was on hand to hit the rebound into the net to make it 2-0 and condemn Chelsea to a disappointing defeat.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 17, 2019
The result means Chelsea remain sixth on the table, one point below fifth-placed Manchester United and three behind Arsenal in the fourth spot. Here’s how the Chelsea players fared at Goodison Park on Sunday.
Kepa Arrizabalaga: 6/10
The Spaniard had very little to do in the first period, with Everton managing just one shot on target. Made a good stop to deny Andre Gomes soon after the break. Did well to keep Calvert-Lewin’s header out, but should have done better to push it wide of Richarlison, who pounced on the rebound.
Saved Sigurdsson’s penalty, but couldn’t do anything for the rebound. A good save late on to keep Theo Walcott’s effort out.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 5/10
Given a difficult time by Bernard, the Chelsea captain was kept pinned down in his own half for most parts of the game. While he fared decently at the back, the Spaniard offered next to nothing going forward which hampered the Blues.
Antonio Rudiger: 5/10
The German international had a fairly solid first half, dealing with whatever little Everton offered with great ease. Looked flustered after the break as Everton turned on the heat. While he was not at fault directly for any of the goals, Rudiger failed to keep things tight and organise the backline in the second period.
David Luiz: 4.5/10
Back into the starting lineup after sitting out the European encounter, the Brazilian had a fairly comfortable first half when he dealt with the Everton forwards with ease. Back to his erroneous ways after the break though, as he got caught out in the lead-up to the first goal and struggled in the face of pressure from Everton.
Marcos Alonso: 3/10
Handed a start over Emerson after his impressive performance against Dynamo Kyiv, the Spaniard had a day to forget against the Toffees. Careless in possession as he constantly gave the ball away. Booked in the first period for fouling Richarlison and struggled against the Brazilian for the rest of the game, conceding the penalty after tripping him in the box.
N’Golo Kante: 6/10
A rare off day for the Frenchman, who in typical fashion, covered a lot of ground but failed to have much of an impact on the proceedings. Made a couple of decent forward runs and created a chance for Higuain, but could not keep up with the home team after the break.
A game of two halves for the Italian international, much like for the rest of his teammates. Had a solid first half when he controlled the tempo from the middle, moving the ball around sharply while he was sound defensively as well. Failed to influence the proceedings after the break as Everton pushed higher up and afforded him little time on the ball.
Ross Barkley: 6/10
Returning to Goodison Park for the first time since joining Chelsea, the midfielder was booed by the home support, but seemed unaffected by it all as he made a bright start to the game. Drove forward from the middle constantly and looked to run at the Everton defence. Faded after the break though, and was the first one to be subbed off.
The Spaniard got into dangerous positions in attack in the first period, but failed to make the most of it. Fired wide after a cut-back from Alonso, while he narrowly missed after a fine run beating three Everton players. Did find the back of the net on the verge of half-time, but had strayed offside. Industrious but lacked the clinical touch.
Gonzalo Higuain: 5/10
Higuain missed an early chance after being played in by Jorginho as he fired wide off the mark and forced Pickford into a fine save after the half-time break. But apart from those two moments, Higuain failed to make a mark on the proceedings, despite showing good movement on occasion.
Eden Hazard: 6/10
The Belgian wing wizard was off to a bright start as he drew a save from Pickford before hitting the post moments later. Caused problems to the Everton defence with his movement across the front-line, but his influence waned as the game went on. Combined well with Callum Hudson-Odoi for a chance late on, but couldn’t spark a turnaround.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek: 6/10
Came on for Barkley a little after the hour mark. Drove his team forward with a couple of strong runs.
Olivier Giroud: 5/10
The hat-trick hero from the midweek game replaced Higuain in the 66th minute, but made little impact. Had an opportunity to score late on, but saw his header get blocked.
Callum Hudson-Odoi: 6.5/10
Replaced Jorginho soon after Everton’s second goal. Added some much-needed energy and directness to Chelsea’s play in the final third and forced Pickford into a save with a fine effort from distance. Couldn’t inspire a comeback though.