Chelsea 2 - 2 Everton

A penny, for the thoughts of Frank Lampard as he, no doubt, watched the late afternoon kick off between the two most recent clubs he managed — one in a worse position in the table than when he was sacked from his role at Stamford Bridge two years ago; the other, looking night and day, in terms of commitment and desire, to his final fixture in charge on the other side of London less than two months ago.

When Joao Felix found the inside of Jordan Pickford’s post and scored the opening goal seven minutes into the second half, this game began to take on an air of inevitability — the superior side, on a three match winning streak under a manager who finally seems to be getting his arms around his new job, looked to be on course for victory over the inferior outfit struggling at the bottom end of the Premier League.

The old Everton, Lampard’s Everton, which managed just one win away from home under his leadership this season, probably would have gone on to lose this match but this version of the Blues under Sean Dyche is, week on the week, proving itself to be an altogether different animal. The contrast to that pathetic and disinterested display at West Ham could not have been more stark.

Twice the Toffees fell behind to Chelsea on a ground where they have tasted defeat on more occasions than Evertonians would like to recall. And twice they battled their way back to parity to earn a point that could be vital in terms of the relegation picture at the end of the season.

In practical terms, Dyche has Everton enjoying solid mid-table form just eight matches into his tenure, and if they continue the posture they have adopted in the last three games, they will be on course for safety in what has become the tightest race to the bottom in living memory.

Dyche won’t be getting ahead of himself, particularly with games against Tottenham and Manchester United to come, but he will be hugely encouraged by the fact that his men are now scoring goals, causing opponents problems, and exhibiting the kind of spirit and belief that was sadly lacking during the final weeks under his predecessor.

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The Lampard regime may have left one important parting gift, however, in the decision to recall Ellis Simms from his loan at Sunderland. It may have seemed back in January as a pointless and potentially harmful exercise as the young striker came off the bench for a cameo against Brighton with the Blues already 4-0 down and then again late on against Southampton in another miserable home defeat.

And he may have struggled mightily as the lone striker in the Anfield derby a few weeks later but the natural striking talent that had him score for fun at Under-18 and Under-21 level and then bag goals on loan in each of League One, the Scottish Premiership and the Championship came to the fore this afternoon in a transformative moment against one of the most highly regarded centre-halves in the European leagues.

Indeed, Simms didn’t just muscle his way past £33m man, Kalidou Koulibaly, after Abdoulaye Doucouré had finessed a first-time ball into his path; he waltzed past him and left the Senegalese star floundering in his wake before despatching a crisp shot into the net by way of Kepa Arrizabalaga’s outstretched arm to grab an important draw for Everton and spark the long-suffering travelling Blues into celebration and then full-throated song at the final whistle.

On a day when the top flight’s bottom half became ever more compressed into a four-point spread between 12th and 20th place, Everton moved back up to the 15th-place berth they had occupied at the start of the day before Leeds and Leicester had pushed them down to 17th and, more importantly, kept the optimism bubbling heading into the international break.

As expected, Dyche named an unchanged line-up, with Ben Godfrey at left-back and Demarai Gray leading the line and the Blues dug in for a committed first-half display that was short on possession but long on discipline and maintaining a shape that restricted their hosts to just a handful of opportunities.

Chelsea came within a whisker of taking the lead in only the third minute when Michael Keane’s clearing header from a corner fell to Mateo Kovacic on the edge of the box but his powerful volley crashed just wide.

Felix had a shot blocked with 10 minutes gone and Kai Havertz headed off target from the resulting corner before Dwight McNeil had Everton’s first sight of goal with an ambitious, rising shot from 30 yards.

Chelsea remained on top and had a succession of chances in a 15-minute spell as Pickford comfortably saved a long-range drive from Havertz, and Felix almost pounced in front of goal as Ben Chilwell prodded Christian Pulisic’s centre behind the Blues’ back line but Pickford was there to smother it.

Felix then floated a cross-cum-shot onto the roof of the net and prompted another fairly routine save from Pickford after James Tarkowski had been caught out near the touchline while McNeil spurned a rare chance on the breakaway for Everton when he failed to play in the better placed Gray and the counter-attack came to nothing.

Chelsea emerged from the half-time interval apparently keen to press home their superiority and Pickford had to be alert four minutes after the restart to push away a Havertz header but Graham Potter’s side broke the deadlock just a few minutes later.

Keane could only divert Chilwell’s low cross to Felix with an out-stretched foot and the Portuguese cut a skidding shot that bounced in off the far post from the edge of the penalty area.

Everton pressed in response, though, and Keane twice went close following fouls on Amadou Onana and Alex Iwobi respectively. First, Iwobi’s strong cross bounced off Keane’s chest and into Kepa’s arms; then the defender missed a great chance to equalise when Gray swung a free-kick into the six-yard box but Keane failed to get more than a glancing touch when any solid contact would surely have found the net.

The leveller did come, though, eight minutes after Kovacic had seen a shot deflect off Seamus Coleman and drop over the bar at the other end when Everton won back-to-back corners. Tarkowski won what has become a trademark header at the back post and Doucouré was on hand to nod past the keeper from close range and send the travelling fans into ecstasy.

Just four minutes later, however, after Pickford had once again saved from Havertz, Chelsea won the penalty from which the German would restore their lead. Reece James outfoxed Godfrey and Tarkowski in the box as he collected Felix's pass but contact from both defenders felled him after he knocked the ball past them to get to the byline.

Havertz stutter-stepped with his run-up, barely maintaining the forward momentum required by the rules and still sent Pickford the wrong way, drilling a high shot to the keeper’s left to make it 2-1.

Dyche withdrew Idrissa Gueye in favour of Simms before McNeil flashed the ball across the face but the Blues’ bold close was rewarded when Simms dragged them back to parity again with just a minute left on the clock.

The 21-year-old collected the deft lay-off from Doucouré, instinctively powered past Kalidou Koulibaly and swept a low shot under Kepa that the keeper got a hand to but couldn’t prevent from nestling in the far corner.

Chelsea mounted a late charge and won a succession of corners but Everton’s back line held out to preserve a point that could prove to be important in the club’s bid to avoid relegation.

Dyche inherited a hugely dispirited dressing room when he took over from Lampard but the mentality shift that he has brought about at Everton has been remarkable and that, together with some astute man-management and a instilling a distinct identity in the team, is now translating into results.

A three-match unbeaten streak when you’ve been struggling in the relegation zone represents important momentum and with another attacking weapon in his arsenal, the manager will be hopeful of continuing that with positive results against Spurs and United in the first two fixtures after the break. On this evidence, the supporters will believe they can as well.

Reader Comments (36)

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Paul Kernot
1 Posted 19/03/2023 at 07:35:49
Sean Dyche taking off a midfielder & introducing a second striker five minutes from time to great effect. Brilliant. Even his other sub got a secondary assist in the superb Simms equalizer.

Chelsea are improving but they can't finish teams off. Terrible timing then for Harry Potter's boys to meet an ebullient Everton in defiant mood.

We showed some real fight & as always, the away support was unreal.

Tony Everan
2 Posted 19/03/2023 at 08:16:50
The well earned point , the momentum of confidence and feel good factor was hugely important going into the international break.

Ellis Simms didn't just score a goal he created it for himself from a difficult position. There was a touch of Lukaku in his strength and determination to get past Koulibaily. More so with the low vicious shot that had a bit too much on it for the keeper. Everton fans will be craving more of the same.

Reece James knew what he was doing for the penalty, just slowed up a fraction and allowed the sucked in Godfrey to clatter the back of his legs. He was already going down before Tarkowski challenged. As Sean Dyche said there were similarities in the Seamus Coleman ‘penalty‘ that was waived away at Nottingham Forest.

It's tighter than it's ever been for the relegation scrap. Four points separating nine teams is unheard of. But momentum is everything and Everton have it. We look solid organised and now added important goals. Sean Dyche has got the lads playing, and we look like a proper football team again.

Massive respect to the travelling Everton supporters, just totally unreal and the best away support in the country.

David Bromwell
3 Posted 19/03/2023 at 08:26:32
What a wonderful result.

I have been critical of Dyche's use of his substitutes but the changes he made yesterday saved the game and earned us an unlikely point. The organisation, team spirit and improved individual performances are a joy to see.

All credit to Sean Dyche and his management team they have given us hope were no hope seemed possible. Looks like every game until the end of the season will be a cup final, but there is no doubting that this team is giving their best and growing little by little in confidence.

Most importantly, in the short time he has been here, Dyche has installed those old-fashioned values of hard work and organisation, under Frank and Co we would have crumbled yesterday. Not anymore, the improvements are plain to see and yesterday there was even a grandstand finish, and maybe the possibility of a new hero.

For once, I think the international break will be useful, maybe a few days off and then back on the training pitch for more of the same.

Jerome Shields
4 Posted 19/03/2023 at 09:29:54
Thanks for the article, Lyndon, glad to get the added detail and analysis, particularly after that performance.

Dyche has improved the team from the start of his tenure. Every week, there has been improvements on the previous week. Players that have fallen short have been worked on.

Players that haven't have found themselves having to put in extra work on the training ground to get themselves back into the team. Even getting on as a sub is competitive and increasingly so, now even in forward positions.

Dyche's substitutions in the last two matches have been a lot better. I suppose there were that many areas at Everton to sort out that it did have to be done in stages. All of this has been is a build-up on solid foundations for the relegation battle...

McNeil was great again, Doucouré did put in a necessary performance in midfield and Everton have an attack at last. Great away supporters, they deserved that. Has Danny surfaced yet?

Colin Glassar
5 Posted 19/03/2023 at 09:56:45
Momentum is the key word here. Isn't it typical, just as we are starting to get some momentum, there is an international break? I hope we can pick up where we left off and beat managerless Spurs.
Dave Carruthers
6 Posted 19/03/2023 at 10:00:35
To Tony's point in 2 about the fans. I was watching the Forest vs Newcastle game on Friday, and at the finish, as they celebrated, the commentator suggested, at length, as to these fans were the best travelling group in the country.

I said at the time that was absolute garbage. Our travelling fans are absolute heroes and the support unreal.

I do think the Newcastle fans are loyal, fanatical and travel well but, compared to our lot over the past 2 years, there is no comparison. Can you imagine when we start to compete for Champions League places?!!

Bill Gienapp
7 Posted 19/03/2023 at 10:31:43
Earlier this season, we played Tottenham and set up to keep it tight at 0-0 and try to nick something on the counter. It worked for about an hour, then Spurs scored and it felt like we had no additional gear and the match just sort of petered out.

We had a similar approach today, and really didn't look much like scoring in the first half. But when Chelsea eventually fashioned a breakthrough, we had that extra gear. That's one of the many differences we've exhibited since Dyche took over, and it bodes well moving forward.

Kunal Desai
8 Posted 19/03/2023 at 10:32:20
Colin, agree momentum is most definitely with us and you can also see the confidence coming back with some of our players now. Doucoure is totally transformed under Dyche.

We'll beat Spurs and probably one of Newcastle and Fulham at home as well.

I reckon we'll also beat either Leicester or Crystal Palace away meaning we won't be in any danger of being in the relegation scrap by the time Man City come to Goodison.

Dave White
9 Posted 19/03/2023 at 10:54:04
Still absolutely buzzing today after yesterday's surprise (in the context of the game) point!

All the signs indicated that we would come away with nothing from that game: a bogey ground, a resurgent opposition and an international break (into which we always seem to take a soul-destroying result). I just had a good feeling about yesterday, and I haven't had ‘good feelings' about this team for a long time.

This side is limited, everyone can see that, but by focusing on what we can control, instead of lamenting the paucity of individual ability and the absence of our talismanic striker (he's not the messiah, by the way), we are getting back to pragmatic basics: shape, hard work and a game plan.

But what I saw yesterday, which has been absent for so long, was belief. Dyche referred to it too…"You may take the lead, but we believe we can come back."

Yesterday we went behind twice, and in rather unfortunate circumstances, but the team took the hit on the chin, got straight back up and believed they would come back…and I'm starting to believe in them too.

Not for a moment am I suggesting that everything is fine, but the spirit and strength that Dyche seems to have engendered in a short time is admirable. If we do retain our place in the Premier League, I believe it will be performances like yesterday which will go a long way to justifying why.

A special mention to Doucoure, a man reborn.

I do worry a bit about Iwobi though, he seems to be the one player who has lost something under Dyche, perhaps because he's been shunted from his preferred playmaker role to a wide position. Don't get me wrong, he's not been bad, but he seems to have lost a bit of his swagger.

I wouldn't be surprised if Dyche goes with Gray on the right when the prodigal Calvert-Lewin finally returns. Still, it's nice to feel like there's actually some competition for who's going to make the starting line-up for a change! COYB

Geoff Cadman
10 Posted 19/03/2023 at 10:54:17
Good point on the penalty, I think he did stop momentarily. I think this practice should be removed with a rule change as it gives even more advantage to the penalty taker. Fewer and fewer spot kicks are saved.
Christopher Timmins
11 Posted 19/03/2023 at 11:27:40
Our manager has transformed the situation since he walked through the door. We have shown commitment and fight and last night we kept going when all seemed lost.

Simms was fantastic for the goal, the manner in which he blew the defender away before getting his shot away was top class. He is a big unit and will cause problems to any defender.

Their penalty was soft and Michael Keane was a little weak in his clearance for the first goal but overall we can't complain and I for one will be voting for the same starting XI against Spurs on Monday 3 April.

Were our heroic Board of Directors in attendance?

Alan McGuffog
12 Posted 19/03/2023 at 11:54:08

I'm happy to take your word for it but I've always considered the opposite to be the case.

I can only remember two missed penalties in the '60s. One, Albert Dunlop saved with his cobblers, against West Ham.

The other was Ball v Man City, as shown in the Golden Vision.

In those days few keepers were 6-feet tall and were required to stand on their line, motionless, like "one of Lewis's".

Nowadays, keepers are routinely 6'-4" and over but the goal is still 8 yards wide.

Barry Hesketh
13 Posted 19/03/2023 at 12:06:00
Slightly dated information but gives a guide to the success rate of penalties scored.

At time of writing ( 6 January 2021), 1,894 out of 2,278 penalties awarded in Premier League history have been scored, equating to a success rate of 83.14 per cent.

Meanwhile, only 90 (3.95 per cent) have missed the target, with the remaining 294 (12.91 per cent) saved by the opposition goalkeeper.

Penalty Stats

Danny O’Neill
14 Posted 19/03/2023 at 12:09:21
In response to your question, Christopher, someone mentioned to me that Kenwright was present, but I don't know and didn't take much notice to be honest.

And it was powerful unity between the players and supporters that we take forward to the next one. I'm still reliving last night.

Fair credit to the manager and his staff. He has changed the mentality and the players are responding. Still early doors, we've many false dawns, so let's just get through this together with the team.

I don't care for the board. They're done in my view. They have chosen to leave us to it, so we'll do it on our own with the team, like we did last night.

Ray Robinson
15 Posted 19/03/2023 at 12:18:44
Alan #12 plus the last minute penalty v Ipswich when Ball hit the post and tucked the rebound in only to have it disallowed for touching the ball twice. 2-2 draw. Remember that one?

I remember the Albert Dunlop save. He ended up sitting on the ball.

Back to last night, I thought Havertz should have been made to re-take that spot kick. He stuttered to the point of stopping, surely not allowed?

Alan McGuffog
16 Posted 19/03/2023 at 12:23:51
Yes, Ray... you've brought that to mind.

1968 – a bad-tempered game I think and Ray Crawford "scored” the equaliser with his fist? Or was that another time ?

Martin Mason
17 Posted 19/03/2023 at 12:29:41
Saw it Ray, thought that it was offside when it came back off the post but not off the keeper after a save.
Jerome Shields
18 Posted 19/03/2023 at 12:36:17
Simms was brought in to replace Rondon. He is better than Rondon and is serious competition for Calvert-Lewin.

He gets in front of his marker, good at leading the line, able to lay off the ball, can provide a through pass, can turn his marker, has the pace to go past his marker, attacks the near post, can shoot and head the ball, and able to finish.

Paul Tran
20 Posted 19/03/2023 at 12:49:38
Yes, Jerome, now that we have a team interested in attacking and counter-attacking in numbers and with purpose, Simms will be a lot more useful.

He's a different striker to the focal point that is Calvert-Lewin, but the current team and approach is better for him than even a few weeks ago.

Anthony Hawkins
21 Posted 19/03/2023 at 13:18:40
Simms's goal was awesome and so pleased for the lad. We've been missing a player who can do that.
Barry Cowling
22 Posted 19/03/2023 at 13:29:29
I used to think we had a chance with Pickford on penalties, but that was a couple of years ago, and now it's all so predictable.

Any penalty taker facing Pickford is going to know that he is going to dive one way or the other but never stay still and wait until the very last moment, so, if you go high and straight, it's going in. I would like to see him stay still for the next one, because so many penalties now go straight.

That was a game we would have capitulated under Frank, but we now have a resilience and can go after games, and you now think we have a chance when we go behind.

The teams that stay up are the ones that find consistency, and we are very much that team of late. Anyone facing us now will know they are going to play a tough opposition. We are not out of the woods by any means but Dyche has given us a chance.

Geoff Cadman
23 Posted 19/03/2023 at 13:42:28
Regarding penalty's saved missed I think Bally missed a few, the Leicester follow up was disallowed as he touched the ball twice. I think Pickering missed a least a couple. I was more thinking more recently, since the stuttered run ups started. I can remember Baines having 4 saved two of them in shoot outs, Unsworth missed a few. I can only think of 3 saved by Pickford for Everton one of which was scored on the follow up.
Mal van Schaick
24 Posted 19/03/2023 at 14:03:40
It appears that at last we have a manager who demands full effort from the players. Nobody can hide as they have done in the past.

Like it or lump it, you are in the starting eleven based on merit and commitment and those on the bench who want to make the starting eleven have to prove their worth.

My mindset has changed from being disillusioned to being optimistic for the remainder of our season. A lot depends on the results of those teams around us, but having looked at their fixtures a lot of them have tough games.

Simms may have solved a problem for us, and Doucoure is showing his worth playing higher up the pitch. It was a great team effort.

Jeff Spiers
25 Posted 19/03/2023 at 14:14:50
How good was the away support?! No-one else can touch us.
Raymond Fox
26 Posted 19/03/2023 at 14:20:16
A plus result and performance, a point that might keep us up.

I was hoping for something out of the game, but it was against the odds.

Ten points from the next ten games stands a good chance of keeping us up, but who knows.

Does so many teams being in this relegation fight mean that more points than usual will be needed or less, it's probably more, don't you think… or maybe not?

I can't get my head around that one.

Bernard Dooley
27 Posted 19/03/2023 at 15:03:01
The Echo published some Everton stats on the best and worst penalty takers for the Blues.

They did this two years ago but most of the figures still apply.
Roy Vernon was the best (of those who took 10 or more), 18 successful from 19 spot kicks, only missing against Bill Brown at Spurs.

Baines, got 25/28 and Unsworth 23/26, with Graham Sharp 18/22

Lawton 8/8, Beardsley 6/6, Alan Ball 13/20, Dixie 11/17, Rooney 3/7, and Andy King 4 successes from 9 kicks.

Alan J Thompson
28 Posted 19/03/2023 at 15:45:52
Bernard (#27);

I seem to recall Roy Vernon having a couple saved in a Charity Shield game against Man Utd at Goodison but had to retake it twice and put the third effort away. That is a twice-retaken penalty if I have the right game but are your figures for League and Cup games only?

Jonathan Tugwood
29 Posted 19/03/2023 at 16:24:37
Neon Dion on MotD made the point that strikers like Simms need a run of games to really show what they're made of. This is a cliche of course, but was true of Simms when he was out on loan.

Also, he's champing at the bit, reportedly he was knocking on Dyche's door last week, asking "What do I need to do to get a start…?"

I think we've really got something here, could be a potent pairing with a fit Calvert-Lewin? But what about Gray and Maupay? Selection problems upfront, who'd have thought it???

Jerome Shields
30 Posted 19/03/2023 at 16:28:42
Paul #20,

The team has come on a lot in the short time Dyche has been in charge, as had the attacking threat. Simms seems to have the football brain to get himself in the right position.

I even noticed at Anfield he was holding his own and did command his position. He took a lot of undeserved flak for what was a good performance on his derby debut.

Dave Abrahams
31 Posted 19/03/2023 at 16:35:49
Alan (28), are you sure? I thought he scored the three penalties that day.
Kevin Molloy
32 Posted 19/03/2023 at 17:00:37
The sheer style of that second goal was just shocking. It's the finish of a top-quality goalscorer. Two-footed, quick, strong, and cool in front of goal.

It's funny cos I've been thinking it would be nice to have a goalscorer these last few weeks… well, it looks like we've got one.

Ajay Gopal
33 Posted 19/03/2023 at 17:32:35
I have posted this quote about Ellis Simms a couple of times already on TW over the past 6 months:

"His pace, he's lightning. You can give him a bad ball and he'll make it into a good ball. That's an attribute that not many people have and, when he gets into those positions, he can put the ball away.”

This from ex-Toffee, Beni Baningime, when Simms joined Hearts on loan last season. Wise words indeed and exactly what we saw yesterday from Simms.

We haven't had a talismanic player for years now – a player who regularly changes games for our club. There have been too many false dawns for me – Lukaku, Barkley, Gomes, Mina, and numerous more. I hope Simms can turn into that talismanic player for us. Too early to say, for sure, but I can hope.

Speaking of Beni, he suffered a horrific ACL injury last March – just when he was turning into Hearts' most indispensable player, but the good news is he is back running and might be playing again before the end of the season. I always felt he was an excellent midfielder who got lost at Everton due to the merry-go-round of managers. All the best to him.

Ray Robinson
34 Posted 19/03/2023 at 17:51:22
Yes, Alan, January 1969. And that Crawford fisted “goal” was the perfect justification for the VAR.

Martin, as fas as I'm aware, nothing to do with offside.

Regarding Pickford's poor record with penalties, I don't think Southall's record was that good either. Yet, Paul Cooper of Ipswich, an average keeper, managed to save 7 on the trot I think. Pickford did save 2 in the Euros Final by the way. I don't read too much into his record. He'll save a few soon.

Jerome #18, that's a fantastic assessment based on so little evidence. Great goal as it was from Simms, I'm reserving my assessment of his abilities for a little while yet. I've seen too many like Rob Wakenshaw, Nick Chadwick etc to get too excited too soon.

Bernard Dooley
35 Posted 19/03/2023 at 18:03:01
Alan #28;

I don't know. I lifted the figures from the Echo and though they refer to kicks taken in the League, FA Cup and League Cups, they didn't say whether they included the Charity Shield

Alan J Thompson
36 Posted 20/03/2023 at 07:15:36
Dave (#31);

Not sure at all, my memory isn't what it used to be, I think, but wasn't the keeper Gaskell that we mentioned playing against the reserves at Earle and, I think, he got booked for twice moving before it was taken, but I stand to be corrected.

Frank Sheppard
37 Posted 20/03/2023 at 08:01:33
I thought the Simms goal was very reminiscent of Lukaku, the way he headed for goal, brushed off the defender, and slotted it home.

Now there's a welcome thought.

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