It was a cagey stalemate at the Bridge as Everton held out for a point away to in-form Chelsea.
It was a league debut for Yerry Mina as the centre back came in for Kurt Zouma, who was ineligible against his parent club. Andre Gomes once again paired up with Idrissa Gueye in the centre with Walcott, Sigurdsson and Bernard maintaining their places as they supported lone striker, Richarlison.
Everton began the brighter of the two, as the visitors searched for openings in the Chelsea back line. The early stages produced several half chances for the Toffees with Richarlison, Gomes and Bernard all going close. The hosts were slowly settling and began to enjoy the lions share of possession, twenty minutes in and Yerry Mina was harshly booked as the debutante was alleged to have brought Eden Hazard down on the edge of the box. Marcos Alonso stepped up and curled the ball just past Jordan Pickfords goal, much to the visitors relief. The half was turning out to be a very close affair with both sides looking to go forward and break that all important deadlock. On the half an hour mark, full back Lucas Digne put the ball into the danger area which was met by Micheal Keane who couldn’t quite keep his effort down. Ten minutes later and perhaps the best chance of the half fell to Marcos Alonso. Willian clipped a delicious ball into the area which was met beautifully by the Spaniard, hitting a thunderous volley before being saved wonderfully by England’s number one. The half drew to a close with the sides remaining level.
As play restarted, it was the hosts that began the stronger. Just a minute into the half and Jordan Pickford was called into action after Alvaro Morata had turned a hazard cross goal ward, leaving the Everton keeper scrambling. Just minutes later and it was Evertons turn, Gylfi Sigurdsson tested Kepa as the midfielder saw his long range effort denied. The home side were now beginning to dominate proceedings with Willian and Hazard both going close. Chelsea began to up the tempo and were finding space in the tiring Toffees.
Marco Silva made the first of his substitutions just past the hour mark as Ademola Lookman replaced Bernard. As Everton began to weather the storm, Marcos Alonso again came close as the full backs attempt glanced off the post and it was now looking like just a matter of time before Chelsea found themselves in front. In the 76th minute Phil Jagielka replaced the injured Gylfi Sigurdsson as the Toffees now looked to hold onto their hard fought point. Star man Richarlison was withdrawn in the 89th minute, again through injury, as Dominic Calvert Lewin was brought on in the forwards place. Ex Everton man, Ross Barkley found himself involved in the action late on and was immediately involved, putting an effort wide. With the Toffees now looking likely to walk away with a point, they endured one last scare when in the 96th minute, Barkley found himself free inside the box but was unable to finish the opportunity, confirming a share of the spoils.
The improvement in the side is clear to see this season, but today confirmed just how much progression has been made. Going to a place like Chelsea and showing the positivity and urgency they did in the first 45 is massively refreshing. The side looked fearless, and able to play their own game whilst also remaining focused and organised at the back. Then in the second, to remain solid and weather the storm as they did was a huge plus and very encouraging. The debut of Yerry Mina was excellent, the Colombian displayed his presence and leadership at the back and fans will be keeping their fingers crossed that them performances are a consistent feature. Even though it’s still way too early to get carried away, its clear the right steps are being made. It was a hugely deserved point and away at a side in the form that Chelsea are, an extremely positive one.
Today you could make a case for anyone in the side. Everyone put a huge shift in and were deserving of the result. Jordan Pickford probably just wins it this week, he again made some fantastic saves, most notably off the Alonso volley, whilst also looking controlled with the ball at feet. His control and decision-making were again brilliant and many times kept the Blues in the contest.
Next For Silva’s Men:
Everton now have a break before their next outing as International duties call once more. The next fixture for the Toffees will now be on the 24th of November as they host lowly Cardiff City.