Despite leading twice, Chelsea were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Everton in the 28th round of the English Premier League after conceding a goal in the 89th minute.
Substitute Ellis Simms became the hero for Everton, scoring his first-ever goal in the Premier League with a powerful run that saw him eliminate Kalidou Koulibaly before shooting into the far corner. Goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga could not stop the shot, despite getting a hand to it. Simms’ effort secured an important point for Everton in the battle for survival.
On the other hand, Chelsea’s three-game winning streak came to an end, despite dominating possession with 69% and recording nine shots on target, compared to Everton’s five. Enzo Fernandez and Joao Felix’s class, combined with the skill of Kai Havertz and Mateo Kovacic, allowed Chelsea to create diverse attacking opportunities. However, once again, Graham Potter’s team lacked a genuine striker to create chances in a game where they were dominated.
Everton started the game with a deep defensive block, protected by a hard-working midfield trio of Abdoulaye Doucoure, Idrissa Gana Gueye, and Amadou Onana. This made it difficult for Chelsea to penetrate Jordan Pickford’s goal. The hosts’ first shot on target came in the 20th minute, with a long-range effort from Havertz, which did not trouble Pickford.
Felix’s ability to find space inside the box was evident throughout the game, but his cross in the 24th minute went out of play, while his shot shortly after hit Pickford’s chosen position. At the end of the first half, Chelsea continued to create chances, with Reece James making a run into the box, but his shot was blocked by James Tarkowski.
Chelsea started the second half brightly, with Ben Chilwell crossing the ball to Havertz, whose header forced Pickford to make a save. Three minutes later, the hosts took the lead. Chilwell’s cross was cleared poorly by Michael Keane, and Felix took advantage of the loose ball, hitting a shot that went in off the post.
Chelsea thought they had doubled their lead shortly after when Christian Pulisic’s shot beat Pickford, but the goal was disallowed for offside. In the 61st minute, Everton had a scare when Kovavic’s shot deflected off Tarkowski, but the ball hit the crossbar after Pickford made a dive.
Despite having few chances to attack, Everton successfully capitalized on a corner to equalize. Tarkowski headed the ball to Doucoure, whose shot hit the back of the net after Havertz’s clearance failed to clear the line.
Chelsea didn’t take much time to regain their lead. James earned a penalty after dribbling past Ben Godfrey and Tarkowski, and Havertz deceived Pickford from the penalty spot to give Chelsea the lead for the second time.
Everton responded well after conceding. Dwight McNeil was left frustrated as he sent a cross into the home team’s box but none of his teammates managed to connect with it.
This was a wake-up call for Chelsea’s defense. However, Koulibaly was too complacent in his attempt to stop Simms in a similar position, allowing the home team to equalize in the dying minutes of the game. Six minutes of added time weren’t enough for Chelsea to score again, and Chairman Todd Boehly’s disappointed expression spoke for the home team’s emotions.
Chelsea will face Aston Villa in the 29th round on April 1st, while Everton will return to their home ground to host Tottenham.
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