Football Features

“Cruised through his debut” – Player ratings as Chelsea squeak by Everton at Goodison Park

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 20:00, 6 August 2022

In a gritty evening of football, Chelsea snuck a 0-1 win over injury-ravaged Everton at Goodison Park.

After deploying a back three with a combined age of 100, Chelsea unsurprisingly weren’t at their most energetic. But the Blues did just about enough to put Everton down, aided by the Toffees losing two of their back three to injury. The result is Everton’s first opening day Premier League defeat for 11 years.

Here’s how the players rated at Goodison Park:


Jordan Pickford – 4 – Spilled some shots and his rash decision to try and avoid a corner led to Ben Godfrey’s injury. Just looked a mess and was lucky Chelsea didn’t bring their shooting boots.

Nathan Patterson – 7 – Defended well, rebuffing Chelsea attacks and preventing too many incursions down his flank. Forced a great save from Mendy with a good header.

Ben Godfrey – 5 – Lasted just 18 minutes. His sloppy backpass led to the situation that ended with his own injury. Hopefully he’s not seriously hurt, but it didn’t look good.

Yerry Mina – 7 – Marshaled the back-line superbly when he was on. Handled himself superbly and you can see why his absence was so damaging for the Toffees last season. A worry, as he had to leave the field with an injury.

James Tarkowski – 7 – Solid. Not quite at his Burnley levels, but solid.

Vitali Mykolenko – 7 – He’s no Lucas Digne nor Leighton Baines, but Mykolenko was decent for Everton. Defended and attacked with plenty of gusto, if not much quality, albeit his block to stop Raheem Sterling from making it 2-0 was superb.

Abdoulaye Doucoure – 4 – Worked really hard off the ball, but was short of quality in possession and it was ultimately his rash tackle that needlessly gave away the penalty that decided the game.

Alex Iwobi – 7 – Probably the only Everton player to genuinely distinguish himself. Swept passing lanes nicely and pressed Chelsea into trying to take shots/make passes from worse positions than they wanted to. Also created more chances than any of his team-mates.

Dwight McNeil – 6 – After excelling as a left-winger for Burnley, was bizarrely playing wide-right. Got some nice dribbles off and worked himself to the bone defensively, but wasn’t a decisive factor on the game.

Demarai Gray – 5 – Worked hard but was painfully short of quality. Missed a golden chance to send Gordon through 1-v-1.

Anthony Gordon – 6 – Never stopped running with and without the ball, and certainly played with plenty of gusto, but ultimately if you’re playing up-front in the no. 10 shirt the question is going to be asked: are you any good? And for Anthony Gordon, today that answer was “not really.”

Everton Substitutes:

Mason Holgate (for Godfrey 18′) – 7 – Exceptional. Completed a game-high 9 clearances and saved Pickford’s blushes when the Englishman was dispossessed by Pulisic when outside of his area.

Dele Alli (for McNeil 61′) – 4 – Looked painfully short of the player he used to be. Sad.

Ruben Vinagre (for Mina 70′) – 5 – Couldn’t impact the game.

Player Name (for XXX 60′) – x – 0

Player Name (for XXX 60′) – x – 0

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Edouard Mendy – 6 – Looked far shakier than he usually does, flapping at crosses and the like, but did made one brilliant save from Patterson. Was terribly lucky that Everton couldn’t offer even any sort of meaningful attack.

Cesar Azpilicueta – 7 – The newly-renewed Chelsea captain was again rock solid at the back.

Thiago Silva – 7 – Oozed class and composure even under high stress situations, although he will be grateful that Everton never really used the pace in their attack.

Kalidou Koulibaly – 7 – Cruised through his Chelsea debut with a solid defensive display capped off with an absolutely delicious through-ball that led to Chelsea earning the game-winning penalty.

Reece James – 7 – Looked Chelsea’s most likely route to goal with his crosses and set-pieces, and then defended well when moved into the back three late in the game.

Jorginho – 6 – Dispatched his penalty with coolness. His last 16 straight Premier League goals have been penalties.

N’Golo Kanté – 7 – Looked something like his old self with a buzzing display running around the pitch, recovering the ball and then running with it. Could this season see a Kantessaince?

Ben Chilwell – 6 – Wasn’t particularly riveting or creative, but his run and embellished fall earned Chelsea the game-winning penalty. Still looks a way short of the kind of fitness and form he’s going to need to hold Marc Cucurella off.

Mason Mount – 5 – Was he on the field? Without a strong sense of identity, Mount can get lost in the shuffle.

Kai Havertz – 5 – An equally anonymous display. Needs to show some teeth if Chelsea are to prosper without a striker.

Raheem Sterling – 6 – Looked very bright in terms of the runs he was making. His execution could be sharper, but that will come with time. What the Blues need is a forward for him to play off, or a midfielder to create chances for him. Or maybe both?

Chelsea Substitutes:

Christian Pulisic (for Mount 65′) – 6 – Robbed the ball off Pickford and would have scored a lovely goal if he had been more decisive.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek (for Chilwell 65′) – 6 – Made a couple of nice runs, but that was it.

Marc Cucurella (for Koulibaly 75′) – 6 – Showed more drive and thrust than most of the Chelsea starters in his brief cameo.

Armando Broja (for Havertz 75′) – 5 – Didn’t get too involved.

Conor Gallagher (for Jorginho 90’+9) – n/a – Came on late.