Chelsea and Everton shared the spoils in a hard fought 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening.
The Blues seemed in cruise control but threw it all away late, falling asleep at a crucial time and letting the mostly lacklustre Toffees snatch a point from the jaws of the defeat.
To say the first period was arduous would be flattering – a speculative Kai Havertz effort from distance was about the sum of Chelsea’s best efforts, while the visitors were more than happy to sit in and soak up the pressure.
Blues boss Graham Potter looked suitably nonplussed on the sidelines, with his men looking more than comfortable but needing to exercise due patience going into the second half against a physical side, from whom the referee was affording very little protection to the hosts.
Loanee Joao Felix swept home via the woodwork from the edge of box after the ball came loose in the 52nd minute before the hosts were pegged back by an Abdoulaye Doucoure header in minute 69. The stalemate wasn’t to last long, with Havertz cool as you like from 12 yards just seven minutes later.
But to their credit, the Merseysiders executed their plan very well in turning the game mostly into a drab affair and Ellis Simms fired home in the 90th minute to take the point. The Pensioners will be back at the Bridge to face off against Aston Villa following the international break. In the meantime, here is how Absolute Chelsea rated the players’ performance against the Toffees.
Kepa Arrizabalaga – 4/10
Rarely called into action and totally assured when building from the back, but questions have to be asked as to how he failed to get a strong wrist to the late Everton equaliser. Poor for the corner that led to first goal too.
Wesley Fofana – 7/10 (86)
His intent to carry the ball forward and his raw speed are pleasing to see after his well documented troubles with injury. The young Frenchman, who was honoured with his first senior call-up to the national team this week, is fast establishing himself both as a fan favourite and as a permanent fixture of the Blues backline.
Kalidou Koulibaly – 4/10
Looked effectively impregnable at the heart of the Chelsea rearguard for the majority of proceedings, but it all fell apart at the end. His front-footed defending and hard-hitting aggression gave rise to some moments of madness, and someone of his experience should not be left all ends up by a comparatively inexperienced striker.
Benoît Badiashile – 7/10
Metronomic in his passing and unfussed in his defending, his commanding presence made meat and drink of the Toffees’ scarce ventures forward.
Reece James – 7/10
Won the penalty for the Blues second, which looked set to cap off a good week for the James family. It wasn’t to be, but Chelsea’s talisman is growing stronger and stronger by the week on that right flank and in his preferred wing-back position.
Enzo Fernández – 7/10
The World Cup winner and Chelsea’s record signing has been delighting fans, his line manager and teammates alike of late, and there was plenty of delight to be gleaned here too. The sheer vision and precision of his long balls are joyous – notably leading to the goal – and his combative nature adds some much needed steel to a stale midfield that has been flimsy at the best of times over the course of the past couple of years.
Mateo Kovacic – 6/10 (81)
Not an easy day at the office for the Croatian given the task that faced him – a compact, defensive Toffees’ midfield with natural ball-winners. In that respect he performed competently, but the usual fleet-footedness was few and far between.
Ben Chilwell – 6/10
Not quite the swashbuckling performances of the past few weeks, without the same directness, but played an important role in the opener.
Christian Pulisic – 6/10 (62)
Making his first start in the league in two months, there were certainly some moments of driving, direct play to be liked. Seemed pretty sharp and also had a magnificent strike shaved off for offside. The American has put Champions League quarter final opponents Real Madrid on notice this week, although they ‘re unlikely to take much notice of mostly drab affairs like this.
João Félix – 8/10 (86)
Some really neat touches of class on display, and his movement is a constant thorn in the side of any player with the enviable task of marking him. Where he often falls short is his decision making, with a number of moments where he was too selfish for his, and the team’s, own good. The one moment that wasn’t the case was the gamechanger, with his opener sweetly taken indeed.
Kai Havertz – 7/10
Manager Graham Potter called the German an absolute dream to work with after his form of late, and even in fairly quiet performances like this it is evident to see why. Seemingly never stops pressing from the front and chasing lost causes, and is the coolest customer in the room when it comes to taking the chance with conviction from the penalty spot.
Conor Gallagher – 5/10 (62)
A pretty sloppy cameo all told, finding himself dispossessed on a number of occasions and thus putting pressure on his peers. His energy did however help in the latter stages.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek – N/A (81)
Carney Chukwuemeka – N/A (86)
Trevoh Chalobah – N/A (86)