Chelsea consolidates 4th place by beating Everton 2-0 in EPL
LONDON (AP) Jorginho's penalty and Ben Godfrey's own goal gave Chelsea a 2-0 English Premier League win over Everton, extending new manager Thomas Tuchel's unbeaten start to 11 matches and a ninth clean sheet on Monday.
The revival since Frank Lampard's firing in January has tightened the west London club's grip on fourth place and the final Champions League spot. Everton still has a game in hand on Chelsea, but the Merseyside club trails Tuchel's side by four points.
Chelsea's Kai Havertz impressed throughout the first half in the false nine role, and was unlucky to have the opening goal taken away from him.
Havertz's diversion of Marcos Alonso's cross outfoxed goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and looked to be heading for the corner of the goal, before Godfrey's intervention sent the ball crashing into the other side of the net in the 31st minute.
Callum Hudson-Odoi deserved just as much credit as anyone else for the goal. The 20-year-old winger jinked one way then the other, dropped off his marker Mason Holgate, and collected a pass from Kurt Zouma. Spinning on his heel to face the goal, Hudson-Odoi then threaded the perfect throughball for the onrushing Alonso.
The left back's cross set the goal in motion, but Hudson-Odoi's stunning movement and precision passing had unlocked an otherwise tight Everton defense.
Alonso should have doubled Chelsea's lead before halftime, having raced clear in latching onto Mateo Kovacic's fine ball over the top of the Everton defense.
Alonso's shot took a slight deflection which reduced the power, and allowed Pickford to palm the ball just around his far post.
Tuchel spent much of the half screaming at Reece James to tuck in off the right flank when the play was on the left wing. Tuchel was determined to see James attack with more aggression on the ball, and eventually called James and Havertz over to detail his instructions on a notepad.
Havertz had the ball in the net again, shortly after the interval. The lively forward was also denied a goal, however, as a neat finish was ruled out for handball.
Chelsea did not have to wait long for their second goal though, and Havertz was involved once more.
The former Bayer Leverkusen foward latched onto Kovacic's raking throughball in the Everton penalty area, and was brought down by Pickford. Jorginho stepped up to the penalty spot and delivered his trademark skip-step finish, sending the frustrated Pickford the wrong way in in the 65th minute.
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Updated March 8, 2021