Chelsea 6-0 Everton

Perfect Palmer punishes shambolic Everton. ​

It took Cole Palmer and Chelsea less than half an hour to condemn Everton to yet another defeat as shambolic defending, particularly for the third goal underlined the utter state our beloved club is in. Palmer scored the ‘perfect’ hat-trick – left foot, header and right foot before Jackson rubbed salt into the wounds with a fourth before the interval.

And the upshot of this disastrous score line for Everton is that the goal difference they had enjoyed over Nottingham Forest prior to kick off had been completely wiped out… and next up… Forest on Sunday.

Setting aside the on-going uncertainty regarding ownership of the club and punishments foisted on Everton by the Premier League and its commissions, the weekend results went well for the Blues, and meant any kind of positive result from Stamford Bridge on Monday evening would be a further boost to the teams efforts to keep the club in the top flight.

The hosts, Chelsea, like ourselves have endured a troubled campaign. Despite having a squad assembled at a not inconsiderable cost and a new manager who was widely regarded as an ideal appointment, the London outfit has flattered to deceive for most of the season and their faint hopes of salvaging something hang on next Saturdays’ FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City.

Arguably the biggest plus for Chelsea throughout this season has been the form and scoring exploits of Cole Palmer. Signed on a long-term contract from Manchester City, where he felt he might not get enough game time, Palmer has blossomed in the capital leading manager Mauricio Pochettino to comment last week, “I feels Cole is benefiting from arriving without the weight of as much expectation as some of his team-mates, although people are certainly paying attention to his form now, as shown by some rough treatment from defenders in recent weeks.”

He continued adding, ‘It’s normal. If I play against Cole Palmer, I am going to tell my defensive line to be tough and not give him the chance to get the ball. Sometimes expectations play a very important role on a player when they are young. When we signed Palmer, nobody expected him to perform in the way he is performing, but maybe if we paid more, people put pressure on a guy who is young like him.”

Having been held to a 2-2 draw at Sheffield United last time out, Pochettino was looking for his side to build some confidence and momentum prior to their Wembley date with City by beating Everton, and to that aim he named his starting line-up: Petrovic, Gusto, Silva, Chalobah, Cucurella, Caicedo, Gallagher (c), Madueke, Mudryk, Palmer and Jackson.

Almost inevitably, the second points deduction levied against Everton was high on the agenda when Blues boss Sean Dyche held his pre-match media gathering and he responded saying, “I think [my reaction] is similar to the last one. It’s unexpected in the sense we thought it had been dealt with. It obviously wasn’t or hasn’t been. There’s a time window to appeal, so the Club will be looking into that.”

He added, “The last response was: ‘What’s done is done.’ The league table changes. We’re very confident it won’t change again – with regards to anything this season. So therefore, our focus is on the next round of games coming up.”

In terms of any effect upon his players, he continued, “I spoke to the players about it and reminded the staff about it; reminded them of the truth of the moment, which is to stay focused on the job in hand. Lots of people are scratching their heads at the whys and wherefores, including ourselves at times, but it has to be parked again. We’ve been through it once; we have to go through it again, and we are going to do. The games come thick and fast.”

Looking at the game ahead, Dyche confirmed that Idrissa Gana Gueye and Amadou Onana had returned to training after family time and injury respectively, and that Arnaut Danjuma should be part of the squad for the Chelsea game. He also advised, “Jimmy Garner got a knock, but we are happy that’s all it was. Dom didn’t train today but we are pretty positive with settling him down in the next couple of days. He has a minor niggly hamstring which we are just being ultra careful with.”

With only Lewis Dobbin and Dele Alli definitely unavailable Dyche had almost a full squad to select from and settled upon a starting eleven reading: Jordan Pickford, Seamus Coleman (c), James Tarkowski, Jarrad Branthwaite, Vitalii Mykolenko, Ashley Young, James Garner, Amadou Onana, Dwight McNeil, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Beto.

On a breezy, cool evening in the capital, our referee was Paul Tierney.

Chelsea wasted an early free kick and then had to hastily clear the first free kick from Everton, playing in the salmon pink away strip with once again, superb vocal support from the fan who’d made the trip south. Madueke won the first Chelsea corner off Mykolenko, easily headed clear by Tarkowski before Madueke again made ground into the Everton area with his low ball across the box being cleared.

Petrovic raced from his goal to clear into the stands before Doucoure arrived and he was then ruled offside waiting for a cross from Coleman to arrive. Everton’s first corner saw Branthwaite head wide at the near post and when Chelsea failed to clear, Everton should have scored as Young found Coleman for a low driven cross that somehow saw Beto miss the target from two yards. The opening ten minutes had flown by with both sides looking to attack and when Tarkowski stymied Jackson to set up a break, the visitors failed to make the most of the chance with a cross played too strongly from the left flank.

And they paid the price as from the restart, Chelsea got forward in numbers and the ball fell nicely for the in-form Cole Palmer to get away from Branthwaite, play a one-two with Jackson and then send a shot from the edge of the area beyond the diving reach of Jordan Pickford on 13 minutes.

Barely a minute later and it should have been two-nil as Madueke got forward on the left to exchange passes with Mudryk before looking for Palmer in the six yard area, the ball played slightly behind the goalscorer when it looked a formality. Chelsea were now looking like they really fancied the task and they won a free kick for a foul by Coleman that eventually led to them doubling their lead, Cole Palmer in the perfect place to bag his second with a close range header after Caicedo, found by Mudryk, saw his shot parried by Pickford.

A ball from Onana towards Doucoure saw Chalobah concede a second corner to Everton which saw Gallagher head the Garner cross clear. Twenty-five minutes gone and the home side were in complete control of the game and a giveaway by Garner saw Jackson shoot wide from distance. Garner became the first booking on 27 minutes for a clumsy challenge on Palmer and a minute later a disastrous giveaway by Jordan Pickford saw Cole Palmer complete a hat-trick inside 30 minutes chipping the ball from 35 yards into the unguarded goal.

Onana went down claiming Gallagher had caught him in the face, a rather embarrassing feigning of utterly minimal contact and when your luck is out, it’s really out as a header from Beto, from a fine cross from Young, beat Petrovic was ruled out for offside. Young became the second booking for Everton for a foul on Gallagher and Chelsea went searching for a fourth goal as Caicedo fired wide from distance and then Jackson went down having turned away from Branthwaite, referee Tierney immediately waving away half-hearted appeals for a penalty.

Mudryk was the first Chelsea player to see yellow for a pull on Seamus Coleman as we hit the 40-minute mark, McNeil sending it long for Tarkowski who saw his first time volley go clear across the face of goal with nobody able to get a telling finish to it. Everton won another left wing corner with lots of pushing and shoving delaying the taking of the set piece that Chalobah cleared at the back post.

Everton were still trying to get back into the game and ball from McNeil found its way through to Beto, his shot on the turn easily gathered by Petrovic. It was a brief respite though as Chelsea went straight down the other end and across from Cucurella found Jackson who controlled, turned and planted his shot inside the near post to put the cap on a dominant first half from the home side.

Five added minutes were signalled, and a cross from Young was put behind Chalobah for another Everton corner this time from the right that McNeil swung to the back post where Onana headed wide and when referee Tierney mercifully blew for the break, not surprisingly, there were some boos from the travelling fans who deserve so, so much better.

Half Time: 4-0

A treble change for the start of the second half by Sean Dyche saw Nathan Patterson, Andre Gomes and Jack Harrison replace Seamus Coleman, Amadou Onana and James Garner respectively.

A decent move involving Andre Gomes led to him seeing a shot deflected behind for an early corner that saw Branthwaite rise but, head wide of the back post. Gomes then got back to help out at the back to prevent Madueke causing any more damage. Tarkowski was booked for a cynical foul on Jackson, his fourth card in successive games surely an indication of the frustration he must be feeling.

Mudryk on a charge fed Palmer and the outstretched right leg of Pickford denied him a fourth goal, and more bad news came as Jarrad Branthwaite suffered a knock and left the field rather gingerly to be replaced by Michael Keane on 56 minutes.

Gusto on an overlap down the Chelsea right played a dangerous cross for Jackson that Pickford dived to push onto the legs of Keane and behind for a corner that led to Madueke shot being deflected behind, and a third quick corner came as Mykolenko put the ball behind again. The Chelsea pressure continued and first Palmer appeared to be fouled by Doucoure before Tarkowski flattened Madueke and referee Tierney pointed straight to the spot for the infringement by Doucoure. Incredibly, three Chelsea players got into a squabble over who would take the spot kick and Gallagher stepped in to ensure that Palmer got the chance to add to his impressive scoring record… and he duly obliged with his fourth of the game and ninth out of nine from the spot in this his first full season in the top flight.

Michael Keane was the fourth Everton booking as he brought down Jackson midway inside the Chelsea half, any further forward and he might well have seen red for taking the ankle of the Chelsea forward.

Twenty minutes to play and Chelsea withdrew Madueke to bring on Chukwuemeka – Chucky to his mates – and a nice Chelsea move begun by Mudryk saw some nice footwork by Jackson to find the Ukrainian forward, his tame shot easily saved by Pickford. Mykolenko venturing forward, well why not, saw a shot deflected behind for a corner and Beto fell awkwardly attempting an overhead kick. Another Everton corner was defended by Chelsea.

More changes on 79 minutes by Chelsea saw Chilwell and Casadei replace Mudryk and Palmer who understandably received a standing ovation from the home support.

Into the final ten minutes of what had been a torrid evening for Everton and their long-suffering supporters with Chelsea stroking the ball around to eat up time… with an FA Cup semi-final at the weekend, the last thing they needed now was any injuries. Two more late changes by Chelsea wasted a few more seconds and just before we hit 90 minutes, Chelsea added a sixth as substitute Gilchrist crashed the ball home after a ball from Chilwell fell sweetly for him.

Nathan Patterson limped off to be replaced by Ben Godfrey and we were treated (?) to a minimum of seven additional minutes… that mercifully were played out without Everton conceding again.

I can’t help wonder if Farhad Moshiri enjoyed his being at the game tonight… to see the state of the team and the club under his ownership.

Full Time: 6-0

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