Carlo Ancelotti summed it up best when he said this game was decided from the first minute. Chelsea were too hungry, too strong and too ruthless to be denied by opponents who never looked interested in competing. It was a demolition from first whistle to last and, for Frank Lampard, a rare opportunity to bask in the comfort of a comprehensive home win instead of complaining about his team’s lack of bite in the final third.
Old and new clicked wonderfully as Chelsea ensured Ancelotti endured an unhappy return here. There were decisive contributions from the old-timers, goals for Olivier Giroud, Pedro and Willian helping Chelsea tighten their grip on fourth place and move two points behind Leicester, while the kids shone as well.
Mason Mount started the romp with a cracking strike, Billy Gilmour underlined his talent with another sublime display in midfield and there was time at the end for Lampard to introduce two more academy hopefuls when he brought on Armando Broja and Faustino Anjorin for their Premier League debuts.
It was one of those days when everything fell perfectly into place for Chelsea, even though they were missing seven players. Pedro, out of contract in the summer and out of favour for much of the campaign, was outstanding. Giroud, who wanted to leave in January, led the line expertly in the absence of the injured Tammy Abraham. Kepa Arrizabalaga, back in goal after a spell on the sidelines, never let his concentration drop and Ross Barkley had another good game, silencing the taunts from the away end with a fine assist for Pedro’s goal.
As for Everton, this was by far their worst performance since appointing Ancelotti in December. Suggestions of a late push for European qualification look highly optimistic based on this wretched effort and although Ancelotti stopped just short of questioning his team’s commitment, his anger was obvious. “Everything went wrong,” he said. “We were not good enough defensively.”
Ancelotti, who won the double with Chelsea in 2010, struggled to hide his irritation as the hosts took control from the start. Everton were ponderous on the ball, slow to press and vulnerable whenever Chelsea, full of confidence after last Tuesday’s victory over Liverpool in the FA Cup, attacked.
Lampard’s approach against his old boss worked to devastating effect, though the frustration for Ancelotti was that he had spotted the danger developing as Mount, Pedro and Marcos Alonso worked to outnumber Djibril Sidibé during the early stages. At one point the Italian could be seen berating his players as a crossfield pass found Pedro in acres of space on the left wing, but the hole was too big to repair.
Chelsea buzzed around Everton’s right-back and it came as no surprise when they went ahead in the 14th minute, Pedro’s pass allowing Mount to spin brilliantly before flashing a low drive inside Jordan Pickford.
As half-time approached Sidibé let a simple pass run out for a throw. He was utterly frazzled. In the Frenchman’s defence, though, Everton’s problems only started with him. Tom Davies was nowhere near Mount when the youngster drove home his first goal since December, while Bernard seemed to think that tracking back to help Sidibé was beneath him.
Chelsea were too slick in every area. The absence of N’Golo Kanté, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho in midfield made no difference; Davies and André Gomes chased shadows throughout, allowing Gilmour to pull the strings on his first league start.
The only question was whether Chelsea, who have struggled to take their chances at home, were capable of making their superiority count. There was a reminder of their vulnerability when a mistake from Kurt Zouma allowed Richarlison to feed Dominic Calvert‑Lewin, who wasted the opportunity.
Chelsea had doubled their lead by then, though. Gilmour started a move with a pass that allowed Giroud to combine with Barkley, who pierced Everton’s offside trap with a ball through to Pedro. The Spaniard made no mistake, slotting home his first league goal since February 2019.
Willian, another player looking for a new deal in the summer, extended the lead when he fizzed a low drive beyond Pickford from 20 yards at the start of the second half. Then came the fourth goal, Willian crossing for Giroud to finish from close range.
Everton had no response. The day belonged to Chelsea, whose fans loved seeing Lampard introduce Anjorin and Broja. The youth revolution goes on, albeit with a little help from the veterans.
Source: The Guardian