Football Features

Trio let Chelsea down: The big winners & losers from Everton’s 2-0 win

By Harry Edwards

Published: 18:29, 17 March 2019

Chelsea missed out on the chance to draw level with Arsenal in fourth as they were beaten 2-0 by Everton.

Richarlison gave Everton the lead just after half-time and Gylfi Sigurdsson completed the scoring, putting in the rebound after initially missing a penalty.

But, who were the winners and losers?

Winner: Richarlison

For the first 45 minutes of Sunday’s game it looked like Richarlison would be drawing yet another blank against a side from the Premier League’s top six. The Brazilian had barely had a touch of the ball and was required to defend more with Everton under siege from Chelsea.

But that all changed just after half-time. Immediately after the break, Everton looked to be taking control and Richarlison was starting to be at the heart of it.

The Brazilian opened the scoring in the 49th minute, reacting quickest after Kepa Arrizabalaga initially saved Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s effort, heading the ball into the net.

It was his first goal against a side from the Premier League’s so-called ‘Big Six’ since joining Watford at the start of last season, and his second in consecutive games after going five matches without scoring.

The goal appeared to have boosted Richarlison’s confidence too, as he looked to push Everton to victory, testing the Chelsea defence more and eventually won the penalty in the second half which resulted in his side’s second goal.

Loser: Marcos Alonso

Just when things were looking to be going Marcos Alonso’s way, the Spaniard showed once again why he can be a polarising figure at Stamford Bridge.

Alonso had started in midweek against Dynamo Kyiv, presumably to give Emerson a rest ahead of Sunday’s game. But the Spaniard performed well, scoring and recording one assist – his first goal involvements since November, and started to look more like the man who played his way into Chelsea’s hearts under Antonio Conte.

And it appeared Alonso was back in Maurizio Sarri’s good books too, when he was given the nod at Goodison Park and started a second consecutive game at the expense of Emerson. But after a promising start, things began to go wrong again.

The Spaniard struggled defensively after Everton upped their intensity and conceded a penalty which put the game out of Chelsea’s reach, with a lazy attempt at a tackle on Richarlison.

Winner: Jordan Pickford

Prior to the match, there had been talk about whether Jordan Pickford should be dropped by Marco Silva after his performance against Newcastle United last week.

Then, the Englishman conceded a penalty – which he did save – and handed Newcastle a goal as Everton lost a two-goal lead to go down 3-2.

But keeping a clean sheet against Chelsea, Pickford showed just what he can do when his mind is solely focused on a match and not on banter with the opposing fans.

It wasn’t just a routine day for Pickford too, as the England international was forced to make some good saves including one from Eden Hazard at his near post, plus another to deny Gonzalo Higuain after the break.

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Loser: Gonzalo Higuain

Higuain was brought in to fix Chelsea’s problems in front of goal, as the man who knows Sarrismo better than most.

But once again, the Argentinian found himself following in the same path of Chelsea’s failing strikers before him.

Often isolated in attack given Chelsea’s lethargy around the box, Higuain had to move away from central positions to get a touch on the ball. This meant that when Chelsea were looking to get the ball into the box, their main target was nowhere to be seen.

Still not fully up to speed with the Premier League, Higuain was taken off with 25 minutes to go despite Chelsea needing a goal – and replaced by Olivier Giroud.

The blank was Higuain’s eighth in 10 games since joining Chelsea.

Winner: Marco Silva

With the two sides going in goalless at half-time, it looked as though Silva would be in for another night of criticism since taking over at Everton.

The summer appointment has not lived up to the expectations bestowed upon him, with Everton sitting 12th prior to kick-off on Sunday. Their football has been too poor at times and they have too often been overrun by better teams – as was the case in the first half against Chelsea.

But Silva must have given one hell of a half-time team talk at Goodison Park because a completely different Everton side came out after the break.

The Toffees were full of life and ready to attack straight away, looking to test a Chelsea defence which has shown its weaknesses this season.

And it paid off almost instantly. Forcing an early corner, Everton won two aerial battles in the Chelsea area. First, Calvert-Lewin rose highest to test Arrizabalaga before Richarlison won the battle to head in the rebound.

The win may have only boosted Everton up to 11th place, but these types of performances are the reason Everton went all out to secure Silva’s services.

Loser: Ross Barkley

Sunday brought Ross Barkley’s first game back at Goodison Park since leaving boyhood club Everton to join Chelsea – and the Englishman was greeted with jeers from the fans who used to chant his name.

But the midfielder looked to be coping well with his frosty reception, almost spurred on by the boos in trying to give Chelsea the lead against his former side.

He was creative, showed his dribbling abilities and even tested his luck in a first-half that Chelsea dominated.

But, like the rest of his team, Barkley slowed down after half-time and slipped almost into obscurity – until an injury brought the attention of the home fans back on him.

Barkley was eventually taken off after 65 minutes for Ruben Loftus-Cheek as Sarri looked to freshen things up, though that did not stop the abuse from the away fans.

As full-time neared, “Barkley, what’s the score?” rang out around Goodison Park on what must go down as an evening to forget for the midfielder and Chelsea.