Richarlison raises Everton’s survival hopes with win against Chelsea

It was too much for Everton legend Colin Harvey, who couldn’t take any more pressure from Chelsea and headed for the exit with a few minutes to go. However, Frank Lampard’s side were able to hold their own and kept Everton’s Premier League survival prospects in their own hands with a potentially priceless win over Thomas Tuchel’s side.

Richarlison’s goal in the 46th minute gave Everton their fourth successive Premier League win over Chelsea at Goodison Park in what was a must-match given Burnley’s stirring revival under Mike Jackson. Jordan Pickford was immense in goal for Everton, fending off everything Chelsea threw at him in the second half, while Yerry Mina ruled at the heart of a defense that embodied resilience. Lampard’s new club lives to fight one more day.

The Evertonians did everything possible to lift their team before the game. Chelsea players were disturbed in the early hours of Sunday morning by a long and loud fireworks display outside their hotel in Liverpool city centre. As the Everton team bus turned onto Goodison Road 90 minutes before kick-off, it was met by thousands of fans who had gathered with banners and blue flares to welcome Lampard’s players. The question was how those with the most influence on Everton’s Premier League status would respond. How they had to, was the reply.

Goodison was a beautiful nest of bears, imploring his team while responding to any Chelsea touch or adverse decision with a chorus of boos. There were many of the first. Lampard set his side up to match Thomas Tuchel’s 3-4-3 formation but knowing that the visitors, like Liverpool at Anfield last Sunday, would dominate possession. Chelsea enjoyed a 75% share in the first half. Jorginho and Ruben Loftus-Cheek regularly passed through midfield with ease, and yet despite all the space and promising positions Mason Mount found, Jordan Pickford was rarely employed in Everton’s goal during the first half. . Mount huddled from 20 yards out and Timo Werner was parried by a fine recovery challenge from Séamus Coleman after Loftus-Cheek had come through the Everton lines, but Chelsea’s threat was limited. Kai Havertz spent most of the first 45 minutes locked in an off-the-ball brawl with Yerry Mina. The distractions served Everton’s purpose as Chelsea began to lose their composure.

Anthony Gordon fed on the crowd to tear the visitors apart from the opening whistle. Brought down in a dangerous zone by Loftus-Cheek, the 21-year-old took the resulting free kick himself but, after going wide, Everton did not seriously threaten again until advancing. The intent was there from Gordon, Richarlison and Demarai Gray, but not the support of defensive-minded teammates to unsettle Thiago Silva or Antonio Rüdiger. Something had to give for Everton to achieve the goal they so badly needed. It came in the form of a gift from César Azpilicueta rather than a change of approach from Lampard.

Everton's Jordan Pickford saves a shot from close range by Chelsea's Antonio Rüdiger in the second half at Goodison Park.
Everton’s Jordan Pickford saves a shot from close range by Chelsea’s Antonio Rüdiger in the second half at Goodison Park. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

Everton’s moment came from an Alex Iwobi throw-in a minute after the restart. Richarlison won it under pressure from Rüdiger only for Chelsea to regain possession through Silva. The veteran was confronted by his captain who, apparently unaware of Richarlison’s tireless running, took too long to clear and slammed the ball into the Brazilian. Suddenly, Everton were two against one on the edge of the Chelsea penalty area. Gray bunted the rebound to Richarlison and, just wide, slid a measured shot past Édouard Mendy into the far corner.

Goodison was in an uproar and should have been celebrating the luxury of a second goal minutes later. The opportunity came again with a shot from Iwobi down the right. Gordon turned away from his marker and found Abdoulaye Doucouré bursting into the Chelsea area. The midfielder released Vitalii Mykolenko down the left and the first goal of the Ukrainian international’s career at Everton appeared. He opted for power over placement and shot wide.

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A response from Chelsea was inevitable and Pickford did heroics to keep them at bay when he arrived. With a pinch of luck too. The England goalkeeper was beaten by his international colleague Mount when the number 10 hit the inside of one post and then the other with a half volley from a Havertz takedown. The rebound was tempting for Azpilicueta, but Pickford, jumping and running through the mouth of the goal, managed to stop the defender’s shot at the line. Mina shot clear and, from the resulting corner, the ball fell at the feet of Rüdiger at the far post. Pickford bravely saved at close range, injuring himself in the process. He, too, turned on a 25-yard Loftus-Cheek drive and denied substitute Mateo Kovacic a low save seven minutes into stoppage time that left Goodison apoplectic when it was announced.

Gray could have calmed Everton’s nerves with five minutes remaining by bursting into the area after some good work from Doucouré and substitute Salomón Rondón but shot just wide. But Everton held on and kept fighting.

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