Everton now face an uphill battle to qualify for Europe next season, although there are enough games remaining for the team to force themselves into the mix
Everton’s 4-0 defeat at Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday was undoubtedly a reality check for everyone at the club.
The Toffees had looked much-improved under Carlo Ancelotti, but the result highlighted that the manager still has plenty of work to do.
Everton now face an uphill battle to qualify for Europe next season, although there are enough games remaining for the team to force themselves into the mix.
Read on as we assess what went wrong at Chelsea and the main issue Ancelotti needs to address for the upcoming derby game against Liverpool.
Everton undone by slow start
There were plenty of fans willing to use a bonus code to back Everton to win at Stamford Bridge after their impressive run of form under Ancelotti.
However, they made an extremely slow start to the game and were made to look poor by their opponents throughout the contest.
The result could have been a lot worse without Jordan Pickford, with the goalkeeper making numerous saves to help keep the scoreline down.
Pickford has come in for plenty of criticism over the past few weeks, but he was the only player who came out of the game with any sort of credit.
A day to forget for the back four
With Chelsea beset by injuries this game was an ideal opportunity for Everton to maintain their challenge for a European place.
They failed to deliver the result their fans craved and a shaky performance from their defence undoubtedly played a major part in that.
Djibril Sidibe was torn apart for most of the match, while Michael Keane and Mason Holgate never looked comfortable against Chelsea’s makeshift attack.
Lucas Digne also struggled to get into the game, although he wasn’t helped by the wastefulness of his teammates when they were in possession.
Midfielders fail to shine
Everton’s cause certainly wasn’t aided by what can only be described as an abject display by their midfield players.
Bernard was anonymous before being substituted at half-time, while Andre Gomes, Tom Davies and Gylfi Sigurdsson were completely overrun.
Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin worked hard to create something further forward, but they were ultimately left fighting a losing battle due to the lack of service.
Calvert-Lewin did miss a golden opportunity to get Everton back into the game in the first half and this was certainly an evening to forget for the striker.
Everton must come out firing against Liverpool
Everton are priced at 18/5 with William Hill to beat Liverpool next Monday and that price is a fair reflection of their chances.
With home advantage the Toffees are capable of taking something from the game, but they cannot afford a slow start against the league leaders.
It is imperative for Ancelotti to demand that his players are switched on from the first whistle and match Liverpool’s work rate throughout the 90 minutes.
A repeat of the power-packed performance the team produced against Chelsea at Goodison Park back in December will be needed if Everton are to beat their big rivals.
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