Chelsea beat Everton to tighten grip on place in top four

A Jorginho penalty and Ben Godfrey’s own goal gave Chelsea a 2-0 English Premier League win over Everton on Monday, extending new coach Thomas Tuchel’s unbeaten start to 11 matches and a ninth clean sheet.

The revival since Frank Lampard’s firing in January has tightened the west London club’s grip on fourth place and the final Champions League spot. Everton still have a game in hand on Chelsea, but the Merseyside club trails Tuchel’s side by four points.

Andreas Chistensen is challenged by Gylfi Sigurdsson.Credit:Pool AFP

Chelsea’s Kai Havertz impressed throughout the first half in the false nine role, and was unlucky to have the opening goal taken away from him.

Havertz’s diversion of Marcos Alonso’s cross outfoxed goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and looked to be heading for the corner of the goal, before Godfrey’s intervention sent the ball crashing into the other side of the net in the 31st minute.

Callum Hudson-Odoi deserved just as much credit for the goal. The 20-year-old winger jinked one way then the other, dropped off his marker Mason Holgate, and collected a pass from Kurt Zouma. Spinning on his heel to face the goal, Hudson-Odoi then threaded the perfect throughball for the onrushing Alonso.

The left-back’s cross set the goal in motion, but Hudson-Odoi’s stunning movement and precision passing unlocked an otherwise tight Everton defence.

Alonso should have doubled Chelsea’s lead before half-time, having raced clear to latch on to Mateo Kovacic’s fine ball over the top of the Everton defence.

Alonso’s shot took a slight deflection, which reduced the power and allowed Pickford to palm the ball just around his far post.

Tuchel spent much of the half screaming at Reece James to tuck in off the right flank when the play was on the left wing. The coach was determined to see James attack with more aggression on the ball, and eventually called James and Havertz over to detail his instructions on a notepad.

Havertz had the ball in the net again shortly after the interval. The lively forward was denied a goal, however, when his neat finish was ruled out for handball.

Chelsea did not have to wait long for their second goal though, and Havertz was involved again.

The former Bayer Leverkusen foward latched onto Kovacic’s raking throughball in the Everton penalty area, and was brought down by Pickford. Jorginho stepped up to the spot and delivered his trademark skip-step finish, sending Pickford the wrong way in the 65th minute.

AP

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