Match Report 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. 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. Lyndon Lloyd top Matchday Updates Everton face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, hoping to end their longest away hoodoo of the Premier League era and maintain the gap between themselves and the relegation zone. No Dominic Calvert-Lewin for the seventh consecutive game since early February. Gray and McNeil play upfront with support from Iwobi in an unchanged line-up. The home side got the game underway, with Everton looking pretty in their away kit. Iwobi looked to have the measure of Chillwell on the overlap but gave the ball back to him and it set up a shot for Enzo that was blocked. But Chelsea got a free-kick in the next phase, Chillwell putting in a good ball that Keane headed behind for an early Chelsea corner. It was cleared to Koavcic who volleyed wide. Everton got their own central free-kick but did nothing with it. Pulisic tried to run through but was stopped. Everton needed to defend in solid lines, the ball not running their way. Felix needed a solid block by Tarkowski for another corner that Havertz headed high and wide. Everton were not doing themselves any favours when they did get the ball, losing it almost immediately. Godfrey did well to draw a foul from Havertz. Chelsea slowed it right down, trying to draw Everton out. Everton tried to get forward but had not done so in the first 15 minutes until McNeil had a wayward effort from 35 yards. Everton moved well up the field only to lose possession and were wide open but managed to get the ball back off Chelsea to stop a very dangerous counter. Havertz then had a pop from the edge of the area before Chelsea tried to get in close with Pickford picking the ball off Felix's toes. An Everton free-kick created a quarter-chance for McNeil on the far post but the ball was soon right back up the other end in another threatening Chelsea attack that was eventually put over the Everton goal. Onana bundled into Koulibaly, claiming a foul but was ignored by the ref. Some desperate Everton defending was needed after Gana made a terrible challenge on Pulisic as Chelsea piled on the pressure but were having difficulty cutting through the resolute Everton defence. Everton came forward to press the Chelsea defence playing out but Doucoure gave up a free-kick. Onana did well to release Gray but they played it back and Tarkowski lost it, letting Chelsea build a quick attack with Felix shooting at Pickford. Badiashalle barged into Gray to give away a very generous free-kick, Gray wasted straight into the very close wall, Pulisic taking the ball in his face. Chelsea resumed control of the ball after Godfrey had lost it for a throw-in but Pulicic's cross was easy for Pickford. McNeil got a chance to run forward but showed too much of the ball to Koulibaly. A good cross in from Coleman would not quite bounce for the visitors but they at least got some more rare touches in the Chelsea penalty area before the ball was back up the other end as 3 minutes of added time were shown. McNeil was forced to lunge at Enzo in a failed attempt to win the ball, giving up a dangerous free-kick that was worked with precision all around the Everton area except toward the goal. And Everton survived the late onslaught to go in with a very precious and hard-earned clean sheet. Abdoulaye Doucoure had the honour of kicking off the second half, the Pinks pressing Chelsea high up the field without success. James was left open to cross in for an early corner that Chilwell played in low. From the second corner, Onana had the chance to break but stalled his run and the chance was gone. Pickford had to punch out a direct header from Havertz that was fortunately not returned with interest. Gray went on a good run but could not produce. But the goal finally came at the other end, Chilwell's hard low cross was played out by Keane straight to Felix who screwed a shot just wide of Pickford and in off the post. Everton tried to respond, Iwobi's cross bouncing off Keane, but Chelsea broke, fortunately offside as Pulisic hammered the ball home. Iwobi was was taken out by Koulibaly, giving Gray a brilliant chance to deliver a fine ball that Keane glanced away from Coleman coming in at the far post. Everton played up a little more, Enzo fouling Gray but not called and Chelsea surged forward, Kovacic seeing his shot deflected behind. Gray did well to get forward and tried to force a mistake from Keepa. Everton won a corner, Everton's big men so close to the ball, Onana getting very high but not making enough contact as it went behind for another corner, and this one was headed in first by Tarkowski then on by Doucoure despite being cleared from behind the line, as signalled by the ref and his magic watch. Everton level. Everton continued to give Chelesea a decent test until Godfrey gifted them the ball and they surged forward to threaten Pickford. It was going quite well until Godfrey and Tarkowski contrived to floor James for a very soft penalty that Havertz eventually converted after fruitless VAR investigations. Onana took a sniper shot to the face as Simms replaced Gueye with barely 10 minutes left to rescue a point. McNeil worked his way forward and powered a low shot across goal but out wide. Gallagher beat four men but was stopped as Mykolenko replaced Coleman. Simms tried to shoot after a turnover but his effort was blocked. Everton continued to fight for everything as Chelsea broke up the game with a series of substitutions. But Simms thought better of things, he picked up a nice ball from Doucoure and drove in from the left, brushing aside Koulibaly and powering a splendid shot in off Keepa to equalize in fine style. Chelsea piled forward but Onana stood very tall to stop Havertz but Chelsea came back to win a corner that had to be cleared. Everton needed to do some more defending and could not get the ball away, McNeil was called for a foul wide right on James. The free-kick was poor but still Everton could not get it away, the ball finally going behind off Havertz, but Chelsea given the corner anyway. That one was headed behind and the next was met with the final whistle and a decent point for the Pinks. Everton celebrated like it was that long-lost Stamford Bridge win! Chelsea: Keepa, Badiashalle, Enzo , Kovacic (81' Loftus-Cheek), Pulisic (62' Gallagher), Felix (87' Chukwuemeka), Chilwell, James [Y:76'], Koulibaly [Y:56'], Havertz, Fofana (87' Chalobah). Subs not Used: Bettinelli, Kante, Mudryk, Madueke, Cucurella. Everton: Pickford, Coleman (83' Mykolenko), Keane, Tarkowski, Godfrey, Gana [Y:28'] (79' Simms), Doucoure, Onana, Iwobi, McNeil [Y:45+1'], Gray. Subs not Used: Begovic, Holgate, Mina, Maupay, Davies, Coady, Garner. Michael Kenrick top Match Preview Everton travel to West London tomorrow to face Chelsea in the late afternoon kick-off, hoping to end their longest away hoodoo of the Premier League era and maintain the gap between themselves and the relegation zone. The Blues haven’t won at Stamford Bridge since 1994 when Paul Rideout was leading the line but any kind of positive result this weekend would come as a big boost in their survival hopes heading into the international break. Depending on how results go for those teams sitting below them heading into this match week, Sean Dyche’s side could find themselves back in the bottom three when they kick off but, by the same token, they could also move up as many as three places if they can pull off what would be an unexpected win over Chelsea and the sides above them all lose. After a slow start to life as the Londoners’ head coach which saw them drop to 10th place in the table, Graham Potter has finally managed to string a run of results together, with League wins over strugglers Leeds and Leicester either side of a Champions League triumph over Borussia Dortmund that put them into the quarter-finals of that competition. Potter has a number of injury concerns, with Armando Broja, Thiago Silva and Cesar Azpilicueta ruled out while Raheem Sterling is unlikely to be fit until the resumption of domestic League play on 1 April. Mason Mount, Reece James, Edouard Mendy, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and N’Golo Kanté, meanwhile, are all rated 50/50 to be ready for this weekend but Potter has a squad that is more than big enough for him to cope, with the likes of Kai Havertz, Mykhailo Mudryk, Wesley Fofana, Joao Felix and Enzo Hernandez among the options are his disposal. For his part, Dyche admitted in his pre-match press conference that Dominic Calvert-Lewin will not be involved, with Everton’s medical staff electing to use the fortnight’s break for internationals to continue the striker’s individualised work in preparation for the home game against Tottenham which isn’t until 3 April. Calvert-Lewin did not train with the first team and Dyche, who has demonstrated a penchant for continuity in his line-ups, is expected to name an unchanged team. If so, that would mean Ben Godfrey retaining his place at left-back, Michael Keane preferred at centre-half alongside James Tarkowski and Demarai Gray playing up front. Having seen off two of the Premier League’s most in-form sides in Arsenal and Brentford in recent weeks, albeit it at home in front of their own fans, and put in an encouraging attacking display at Nottingham Forest last time out, Everton should travel with a degree of confidence that they can cause Chelsea problems and come away with something from this weekend’s contest. It may have needed a strike of free-kick specialist James Ward-Price but bottom club Southampton took all three points from Stamford Bridge a month ago so a repeat from the Toffees isn’t out of the question. If Dyche’s men can frustrate Chelsea and capitalise either on the break or from set-pieces, they could set themselves up for success on a ground where they eked out an unlikely point last season with an even more threadbare team. Kick-off: 5:30pm, Saturday 18 March 2023Referee: Darren EnglandVAR: Chris KavanaghLast Time: Chelsea 1 - 1 Everton Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Tarkowski, Godfrey, Gueye, Onana, Iwobi, Doucouré, McNeil, Gray Lyndon Lloyd top * Unfortunately, we cannot control other sites' content policies and therefore cannot guarantee that links to external reports will remain active.