Chelsea started their 2022-23 Premier League campaign with a 1-0 victory over Everton at Goodison Park.
Raheem Sterling had a goal disallowed before Jorginho put Chelsea ahead with a penalty deep into injury time in the first half. A serious injury to Ben Godfrey earlier in the match had caused on eight-minute delay.
In a scrappy second half the best chance fell to Abdoulaye Doucoure, who was denied an equaliser from close range by Edouard Mendy.
Everton will now go on to play Aston Villa on Saturday lunchtime, while Chelsea host Spurs the following day.
It’s a big month for the Toffees. The game tonight was a tough opening match for Everton, forced into playing the ever-game Anthony Gordon as a makeshift centre-forward as their current lack of attacking options were painfully exposed.
After coming in mid-season and just about keeping Everton in the Premier League, 2022/23 is a blank canvas for Frank Lampard. Dwight McNeil and James Tarkowski were canny signings from relegated Burnley, but the loss of the talismanic Richarlison to Tottenham was noticeable today.
Everton need to reshape their attack accordingly, either through additional signings or getting more out of the mystifyingly out-of-form Dele Alli. They also need Dominic Calvert-Lewin back as soon as possible. The good news is that they won’t face another realistic top-six side from last season until September; the remaining four matches in August, and the transfer window that runs alongside it, could be key in establishing an identity for Everton this season.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – THIAGO SILVA (CHELSEA)
Time waits for no one, but Thiago Silva is doing a fine job in keeping the sands of his career running. He put in an imperious display at the back, using his knowhow to nullify the pace of Demarai Gray and Anthony Gordon and help earn a clean sheet for his team.
Everton: Pickford 6; Patterson 7, Tarkowski 6, Mina 6, Godfrey 6, Mykolenko 7; Gray 6, Doucoure 5, Iwobi 7, McNeil 5; Gordon 7
Subs: Holgate 6, Alli 5, Vinagre 6,
Chelsea: Mendy 7; Azpiliceuta 7, Thiago Silva 8, Koulibaly 7; James 6, Kante 7, Jorginho 7, Chilwell 6; Mount 6, Havertz 6, Sterling 7
Subs: Pulisic 6, Loftus-Cheek 6, Broja 6, Gallagher 6, Cucurella 7
24’ GOOD SAVE! After Mendy makes a hash of punching a corner away, Mykolenko retrieves the ball and whips it back across goal. Tarkowski thumps a header at goal, and Mendy does superbly to tip it over the bar.
43’ DISALLOWED GOAL! A Kante shot from the edge is spilled by Pickford, and Sterling tucks home the rebound. The celebrations are cut short immediately though, as he was a yard offside.
45+7’ PENALTY! Koulibaly finds an angled ball through to Chilwell, who is free in the box. Chilwell turns and drives toward goal and Doucoure bundles him over. A definite spot kick.
45+9’ EVERTON 0 CHELSEA 1 (JORGINHO PEN. 45+9) Jorginho takes it and sends Pickford definitively the wrong way, tucking the ball just inside the bottom of the post on the left. Chelsea lead!
52’ CHANCE! Mendy has another flap at a corner, and Everton work the ball to Doucoure, all alone on the penalty spot. Doucoure booms it at goal but a starfish save from Mendy keeps the ball out. Everton can’t scramble the rebound in and Mendy eventually gathers.
83’ SO CLOSE! Cucurella gets free down the left. He pulls it back to Sterling, eight yards out, whose shot is diverted wide thanks to a heroic sliding tackle from Mykolenko.