Is there belief growing at Chelsea?

by - August 28, 2017

A beautiful, warm and sunny Sunday afternoon saw defending EPL winners Chelsea host an improving Everton squad in West London.

It was a match that looked a close call. After Chelsea's disastrous showing in their opening home match of the season and a strengthening Everton squad, who are definitely aiming at breaking into the top 6.

The team news saw Antonio Conte reverting back to a 3-4-3 with Cesc Fabregas returning and Ronald Keoman going for a 3-5-1-1 line up for his Everton side with Wayne Rooney supporting a disappointing Sandro Ramirez.

The latter's decision seemed over defensive and this proved crucial. Early marauding runs from Pedro and Willian gave an indication of what was to follow for most of the match.

In truth, this could have resulted in another 5-0 to the home side, echoing the result if not the brilliance of the display of the same match from last season. A few missed passes in the attacking third of the pitch, indecisiveness in Morata's runs and his team mates failing to pick him out, Willian not taking any shots on despite regularly being in prime positions to let fly at the goal and a shot from the usually clinical Pedro directed straight at the keeper all meant that it took til the 27th minute for Chelsea's opener.

Even at 2-0 at half time, Keoman did little to change his side's impotent threat towards the Chelsea goal. Rooney tried to put himself about in midfield, resulting only in his growing frustration. He would eventually earn himself a yellow card for repeated arguments with the referee.

Ramirez rarely offered a viable target for his teammates, leading to a vast majority of their forward passes out of defence or midfield being aimless and easily mopped up by a well organised Chelsea defence.

Keoman's half time introduction of the energetic Besic did little for their attacking threat and it wasn't til after the welcome return of Aaron Lennon on 83 minutes did Everton start to look like the team everyone in the ground was expecting to see. A shot  by Idrissa Gueye and an Ashley Williams header became Everton's only real chances, both missing their target. The end result was an away side that did not have any attempt on target for the entire match.

Yes, this was not the champagne performance of last season's 5-0 thumping but could easily have ended with the same score line. That may be more a reflection of Everton's inability as an attacking force than a Chelsea side clicking fully into action.

However, a powerful win away to Spurs and a comfortable win at home to Everton are championship challenging performances and the FIFA 17 levels of last season's winning streak may not be far away for Antonio Conte's team.

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