Chelsea 0-0 Everton
Stamford Bridge was fairly silent from early on.
Everton were doing their job, and the West Londoners were being thwarted in their quest to return to the top of the Premier League table.
That was ultimately the case for long spells at Stamford Bridge as the Toffees showed spirit to ensure a stalemate.
Highlights of the game
Chelsea ended the game against Everton in Stamford Bridge with a frustration
Certainly, few us fans could argue the opening 45 minutes would feature in any of the Premier League 2018 highlights.
It was dull, it was cagey, it was a job well-done by the Toffees.
Indeed, the closest to a goal came from Everton (who had claimed four wins in their last five top-flight matches going into this) after just 12 minutes when Bernard’s shot whistled inches wide.
That is until five minutes from half-time when the hosts finally managed a shot on target – Jordan Pickford turning away a Marcos Alonso volley.
The first half ended embarrassingly: certainly, that was the best way to describe Antonio Rudiger whose reaction after a ‘coming together’ with Bernard was farcical.
It suggested he was trying to get his counterpart into trouble, and the play-acting really should be picked upon by television footage as the German made a fool of himself.
After such a low-key first half, there was nearly an explosive start to the second as Pickford showed fine reactions to palm away a touch from Alvaro Morata following an Eden Hazard delivery.
Kepa Arrizabalaga then pushed a long-range Gylfi Sigurdsson shot over the bar, and Willian placed the ball narrowly past the post after being played through on the hour, but still, the deadlock could not be broken.
We then had a flashback to the World Cup in the summer as Pickford and Hazard came up against each other.
First, the England shot-stopper kept out a drilled shot from Hazard and then produced an even better save to tip a goal-bound shot from the Belgian over the bar.
When Pickford was finally beaten in the 66th minute, Alonso saw a powerful left-foot strike come back off the post as Chelsea upped the ante.
After the woodwork came a disallowed goal.
Cesar Azpilicueta produced a fine ball, but Morata – with four goals in his last four league games (after scoring just twice in his previous 20 top-flight appearances) – had strayed marginally offside, much to his frustration.
Hazard again went close, and Everton’s increasing need to retreat was evident as veteran defender Phil Jagielka entered the fray for Sigurdsson.
The Iceland international had been struggling after a first-half challenge from the reckless Jorginho who could perhaps consider himself fortunate to only receive a yellow card.
Arrizabalaga was then called into action again to pounce on substitute Ademola Lookman as he tried to wriggle his way to goal and got past N’Golo Kante and Azpilicueta.
In the end, Everton deservedly and doggedly held on and it was lucky seven for visiting boss Marco Silva who had previously lost all six of his league games in London.
It wasn’t quite a complete end to their top-six travel sickness, but it was a fine point.
Until today, Everton had lost 11 of their last 13 top-flight games on a Sunday.
Chelsea are the only side in Europe’s top five leagues still unbeaten in all competitions.
Former Chelsea midfield duo Michael Essien and Michael Ballack were at Stamford Bridge watching the contest.
Chelsea are unbeaten in 13 league and cup games at Stamford Bridge, with their last defeat a 3-1 loss to Tottenham on Easter Day last season.
Maurizio Sarri is now the first manager/head coach to have avoided defeat in his first 12 Premier League games. Until this game, he had been level with Frank Clark (11 matches with Nottingham Forest in 1994).
This is only the second time in their history that the Londoners have been unbeaten in their opening 12 top-flight games. The previous occasion was in 2014-15 when they avoided defeat in their first 14 Premier League matches on their way to winning the title.
Everton have won one of their last 17 Premier League outings in London (drawn seven, lost nine), losing all four of their matches in the capital in 2018 before today.
Everton’s last top-flight win on a Sunday away from home was 2-1 at QPR in March 2015.
Top of Form
It’s the international break next and then Premier League 2018 betting odds will focus on what could be a belter.
Chelsea are the visitors to Wembley to take on London rivals Spurs.
They then welcome PAOK to Stamford Bridge in the Europa before a home derby against newly promoted strugglers Fulham.
Everton next host Cardiff (November 24) and then make the short journey across Stanley Park to face Liverpool in the Merseyside derby on December 2.
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