Chelsea’s top-four hopes took a massive blow as Everton beat them 2-0 at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon.
With fellow top-four challengers Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United not playing in the league this weekend, Chelsea had the opportunity to take full advantage.
A win would have put them within one point of Tottenham in third, level on points with Arsenal in fourth and two points ahead of Manchester United having played the same amount of matches.
But it was Everton that picked up all three points thanks to Richarlison’s header in the 49th-minute and a Gylfi Sigurdsson rebound from his missed penalty.
Everton took the lead when Kepa Arrizabalaga could only parry Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s header but Richarlison was on hand to stick it away.
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Then, with 20 minutes remaining, Marcos Alonso brought down Richarlison in the penalty area.
Gylfi Sigurdsson missed his penalty but was on hand to tap home the rebound.
The damaging defeat leaves Chelsea in sixth after dropping five points from their last two matches – against Wolves last week and now Everton.
It will mean more questions will be asked about Maurizio Sarri and his ‘Sarri-ball’ tactics.
In truth, they dominated possession in the first half but failed to create any clear-cut chances.
Everton were camped inside their own half with the atmosphere inside Goodison Park extremely flat.
But the Toffees were a different side after the break – helped by Richarlison’s header just four minutes after the restart.
And when Alonso – who had a wretched 90 minutes – brought down the Brazilian inside the penalty area, Everton were handed the perfect opportunity to kill off the game.
Sigurdsson needed two chances to make it 2-0, leaving Kepa cursing his luck after a smart penalty save.
Chelsea will now enter the international break knowing they need to seriously improve if they’re to qualify for next season’s Champions League.