30 de Abril de 2017

Stunning drive by Pedro leds to win at Goodison Park (0-3)

Second-half goals from Pedro, Gary Cahill and Willian ensured the Blues are now just three wins away from securing the Premier League title. The Spaniard was again on the starting eleven and broke the deadlock with a superb screamer. Pedro has been a consistent performer for Chelsea this season, scoring eight goals and making eight assists in 31 Premier League games for the Blues.

In what was a tight encounter for long spells, the Blues displayed a clinical edge after the break to eventually take all three points in a comfortable manner at Goodison Park, keeping a first league clean sheet since January in the process.

The home side struck the post through Dominic Calvert-Lewin with the first attack of the game, but the best of the first-half chances fell our way, with Eden Hazard missing from a difficult angle after rounding Maarten Stekelenburg and Diego Costa firing over from a great position.

The Blues took the lead midway through the second half when Pedro picked the ball up 25 yards from goal and smashed a superb strike into the top corner. Cahill then scored from close range to extend our lead before Willian, on for Hazard, completed the scoring with his first touch.

There was just one change to the side which beat Southampton in midweek as Pedro came back into the starting line-up at the expense of his compatriot Cesc Fabregas, who dropped down to the bench.

Nemanja Matic partnered PFA Player of the Year N’Golo Kante in midfield and further forward it was Pedro and Hazard deployed either side of Diego Costa, who scored his 50th Premier League goal against the Saints.

Former Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku started up front for Everton, who were without the injured Morgan Schneiderlin.

With the Blues boasting the best away record in the Premier League and Everton having won their previous eight home games, both teams went into the game full of confidence, but it was the hosts who flew out of the blocks and almost opened the scoring inside the opening minute.

Ross Barkley picked the ball up in midfield and shifted it to his left, where the marauding Calvert-Lewin picked it up and drove into the box. The youngster went for goal from a tight angle, with his effort striking the foot of the post, and as Lukaku looked set to force the rebound home Gary Cahill produced a magnificent block.
The Chelsea skipper was next to go close as we worked the ball forward and while Maarten Stekelenburg made the save from his long-range drive, the Everton goalkeeper didn’t look entirely convincing.

The Blues had responded well to the early scare and in the 10th minute we went close to breaking the deadlock when Diego Costa displayed fantastic strength and awareness to tee up Hazard. The Belgian raced onto the striker’s pass and went around Stekelenburg but his strike, from a very tight angle, crashed into the side netting.

Hazard and Diego Costa, in particular, were beginning to find pockets of space as the Everton defenders struggled to contain the movement of the pair, and Tom Davies appeared fortunate to escape caution after he brought a quick Chelsea break to a halt courtesy of a challenge on the striker.

The midfield battle was developing into an interesting one and Matic produced a brilliant piece of play after getting the better of Davies just inside the Everton half. The Serbian shrugged off his challenge before advancing under pressure, displaying wonderful skill to get away from two challenges and then firing low and hard into the arms of Stekelenburg.

As the 20-minute mark ticked by Everton hadn’t really threatened aside from Calvert-Lewin’s early effort, but that soon changed as Lukaku fired inches wide from 25 yards, while at the other end Diego Costa passed up a brilliant chance when he blasted over the bar after latching on to a David Luiz ball from deep.

After his side had struggled to get to grips with Hazard early on in the game Everton manager Ronald Koeman attempted to limit his influence by instructing Idrissa Gueye to carry out a man-marking job on the Belgian.

A deflected Valencia effort from distance went inches wide for Everton and moments later Thibaut Courtois did well to hold a low cross from the same player after he’d got the better of Azpilicueta.

The game was beginning to open up and after 65 minutes the deadlock was broken, with Pedro scoring an absolute stunner to give us the lead.

Matic picked up possession roughly 30 yards from goal and shifted the ball on to the Spaniard, who initially seemed to have few options. Pedro, though, eased away from Jagielka before crashing an unstoppable left-footed drive beyond Stekelenburg and into the back of the net.

It was a goal of the highest quality and potentially one of huge significance, evident in the way the goalscorer sprinted over to the travelling Chelsea faithful to celebrate.

Hazard then became the last player to be booked following a foul on Ross Barkley and from the resulting free-kick Lukaku curled his effort over the bar.

It was a foul on Hazard moments later which led to our second goal when the Belgian, who had been brought down by Gueye, whipped a low free-kick into the box. Stekelenburg managed to get a hand to it, but Cahill was on hand to force the ball over the line from close range.

With nine minutes left on the clock Conte made a double substitution as Cesc Fabregas and Nathan Ake were brought on to replace Pedro and David Luiz.

Willian was introduced for the final six minutes and with his first touch the Brazilian put the game to bed when he raced into the box to convert a Fabregas pass after the Spaniard had been released by Diego Costa, making it 3-0 and sparking jubilant scenes in the away end.

We have now taken 39 points from matches on the road this season, with the latest win the most important of them all.

We are edging closer, and the fans will undoubtedly enjoy their Bank Holiday after this showing.

- Match stats:

Chelsea (3-4-3): Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz ( Ake 81), Cahill (c); Moses, Kante, Matic, Alonso; Pedro ( Fabregas 81), Diego Costa, Hazard (Willian 84).

Scorers Pedro 65, Cahill 78, Willian 86
Booked Cahill 34, Azpilicueta 39, Diego Costa 56, Hazard 74

Everton (4-3-3): Stekelenburg; Holgate, Williams, Jagielka (c), Baines; Gueye, Davies, Barkley; Valencia (Kone 71), Lukaku, Calvert-Lewin (Mirallas 71).

Booked Calvert-Lewin 37, Valencia 57, Gueye 77

Referee Jonathan Moss

- Match report by chelseafc.com

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