Premier League Champions Chelsea were held by a resolute Everton side at Goodison Park as Sam Allardyce’s revived side secured a hard-fought goalless draw.
The Premier League champions had the majority of the possession and, indeed, chances but could not find a way through Everton’s defence – with the hosts having Jordan Pickford to thank for a string of fine saves that he made throughout the league clash. The 0-0 draw means Chelsea stay in third place heading into Christmas while Everton – who are unbeaten since Allardyce took charge – remain in ninth.
While looking good going forward, the absence of Alvaro Morata because of suspension undoubtedly played a big role in why Chelsea could not breach Everton’s defence on Saturday. The Spaniard picked up a late yellow card – his fifth of the season – following his match-winning goal in the League Cup quarter-final win over Bournemouth on Wednesday, which meant Conte opting to once again field Eden Hazard up front in a 3-4-3 formation.
The Belgian looked sharp in the early stages of the game, although Chelsea found Everton’s stubborn defence hard to breach in the opening 45 minutes of the games. In the four matches in all competitions that Allardyce had taken charge of before the visit of Chelsea, the Toffees had not been beaten.
Everton’s defence were certainly doing well against the champions and, down the other end of the pitch, the Toffees’ attack could have scored but disappointed on both occasions.
Tom Davies first latched onto the ball in midfield but drove his long-range effort wide before Dominic Calvert-Lewin robbed Andreas Christensen of the ball with just a minute left on the clock in the first period but, instead of passing to Gylfi Sigurdsson, went for goal instead. Cesar Azpilicueta made the all-important block for the visitors to keep the scoreline at 0-0 as Calvert-Lewin was left apologising to the home fans.
Chelsea should have scored when Bakayoko then intercepted the ball in midfield before passing to Pedro, whose subsequent powerful effort was superbly stopped by Pickford. The Everton goalkeeper proved vital for the hosts in the second half after he again denied Pedro, shortly before Ashley Williams cleared Alonso’s goal-bound effort, before Pickford then dived low to keep out Hazard and Victor Moses’ shots at goal.
Conte was looking increasingly frustrated on the touchline at Chelsea’s failure to score, but his side did nearly get a goal when Williams headed Moses’ cross onto his own bar.
Fortunately for the Everton defender, the ball crashed off the bar and away to safety.
Conte then brought on Michy Batshuayi to salvage Chelsea’s hopes, though he could not find a way through Everton’s stalwart defence, as Michael Keane headed a late corner over the bar to end the game 0-0.