Everton came out on top against a wasteful Chelsea side in the Premier League at Goodison Park, with Steven Naismith heading in the only goal of the game.
Roberto Martinez's side dominated the early stages, with the threat of Naismith and Seamus Coleman causing left-back Ashley Cole all sorts of trouble. With Eden Hazard starting in front of Cole, he left his teammate in all sorts of trouble as he didn't track back for large amounts of the first half.
Once Chelsea weathered the early exchanges, they started to grow into the match. This started with a cross from the right wing from debutant Samuel Eto'o which fell to the feet of Ramires who touched and volleyed towards goal only to be denied by a great save from Tim Howard.
Andre Schürrle looked dangerous for Chelsea in the first half and he almost got on the scoresheet as he was put through one-on-one with Howard and attempted a delightful chip over the American that just hit the side-netting.
The first 40 minutes of the match was chess-like. With Everton not wanting to pour everyone forward and Chelsea waiting to pounce on the counter, it was intriguing to watch for everyone at Goodison. Although, at times, the home fans were getting increasingly frustrated as their team had numerous chances to loft the ball into Sylvain Distin and co. from free-kicks from all around Chelsea's half, but instead chose to pass it short.
This was obviously a tactic manager Roberto Martinez wants to integrate into Everton's style of play as they even did this in the last few minutes of the first half. With Everton cranking up the pressure in the last five minutes and being camped outside Chelsea's box, they remained patient in moving their opposition around. They finally breached Chelsea's defence as the ball fell to Leon Osman who crossed to the far post. The ball somehow reached Nikica Jelavic who superbly headed the ball across goal to find Naismith waiting to head home.
The second half was completely different to the first. Chelsea started very brightly as they pressured Everton all over the pitch which subsequently made the Toffees' defence nervous and if Chelsea were to score it needed to be in the first 20 minutes of the second half.
Jose Mourinho rolled the dice within the first 13 minutes with a double substitution. He brought on Frank Lampard and Oscar for Schürrle and Juan Mata, hoping it would force a goal with Chelsea's constant pressure but ultimately they couldn't defeat Howard. Eto'o in particular was constantly frustrating as he wasted opportunity after opportunity. Matters didn't get any better when Mourinho brought on Fernado Torres on Cole for the last 20 minutes.
Usually, a team would be wary of a manager changing a left-back for a striker, but did it worry the Everton defence? No. Everton saw the rest of the game out easily with their possession game paying dividends when they needed to give their defence a break.
Everton midfielder Ross Barkley was impressive as he took on Chelsea players each time he had the ball. Sometimes his inexperience showed as his decision making wasn't the best, but no-one could argue he held his own against a class Chelsea midfield. The major talking point of the game may have come in the last five minutes, as Chelsea had a corner which Everton dealt with comfortably.
Afterwards, though, the ball fell to Barkley on the edge of his own box and he unleashed Kevin Mirallas just before the halfway line with a delightful ball, only for David Luiz to hold and tackle Mirallas to the ground. Luiz received a yellow card which disgruntled the Toffee fans because it was clear that Mirallas would have been through on goal if it weren't for the Brazilian's intervention.
Although Everton played well, kept possession and missed a few chances as well, Chelsea fans should be disappointed as their strikers were once again wasteful. One may have thought that their goal problem would be sorted with the signing of the experienced Eto'o, but as predicted in my preview, he was rusty and not yet match fit.
From an Everton point of view, this was a fantastic result. Martinez may have been disappointed that his side drew his first three games in charge, but it seems to be worth it as he recorded his first professional win of his Everton career. And what better place to do it than Goodison Park?
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