Chelsea V Everton: Pictures
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Chelsea might be glad that the pressure is no longer on Graham Potter, but there is a decision that needs to be made regarding the future of Mason Mount as speculation continues to suggest the attacking midfielder is harbouring for a move away from Stamford Bridge. Potter won’t be feeling much better about the blow from Mount’s potential departure after watching his side concede late on to drop two points in a 2-2 draw against Everton.
The Blues were dominant in the first half and put together some eye-catching moves as signs of ‘Potterball’ coming to life arose on the west London turf. And seven minutes in the second half, Felix finally had some good fortune from the woodwork with a low sweeping effort finding the bottom corner via the far post.
He nearly assisted Christian Pulisic for a second minutes later, but the flag was correctly raised. Everton responded well to going behind and equalised when James Tarkowski’s header found Abdoulaye Doucoure on the six-yard line and he nodded past Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Chelsea kept going, however, and were awarded a penalty when Reece James was tripped by Tarkowski inside the box. Up stepped Kai Havertz to send Jordan Pickford the wrong way. But Everton took advantage of some slack defending to equalise again through Ellis Simms. Express Sport looks at how Potter reacted after a disappointing result and which players shone and others failed to impress.
Potter decisions backfire
His expression said it all. Potter knew that his side had blown a great chance to close the gap on the top four, but perhaps the 47-year-old felt this one might have been on him.
His side were in control right up until Mateo Kovacic and Wesley Fofana were brought off. Everton smelled blood and went for the jugular and got their reward late on through 22-year-old Simms.
Potter has been criticised for tinkering too much with his team and usually all five substitutes here might not have been necessary, as his side were not looking particularly jaded. His deflated stance said it all when the ball found the net, and now it is up to him to pick his players up to bounce back after the international break.
Havertz shines again
Another exceptional display from the 23-year-old in which he performed a slightly different role that he has been used to recently, but to the same high standard Potter has come to expect. Chelsea must be wondering where this version of the German has been after going 12 games without a goal – now he has three in a row for the first time since March 2022.
Questions have been asked about whether the west London club could benefit from signing a proper No 9 to spearhead the attack. But Potter clearly likes the interchange and fluidity Havertz and Felix provide.
Everything they created came through the attacker and his neat flicks and accurate passes only reflect that Havertz has rediscovered his confidence after a difficult period. If he can maintain this level until the end of the season, those questions about his future at Chelsea will soon die down.
Enzo proves worth
Critics questioned whether laying down a British record £107million fee for Enzo Fernandez was wise business if he was going to play predominantly as a number six. The reality is that the Argentinian has completely transformed the way Potter’s side play and might already be their most important player, taking the crown from Mount.
The 22-year-old has had to cope with being thrown straight into the side after his move from Benfica and has been there ever since, bar a few late substitutions.
In the first half, he was unplayable – Amadou Onana and Idrissa Gueye were simply chasing shadows as the Argentina international slid passes through the lines and supplied Reece James out wide. Even if his contributions are not being recognised with goals as such, his performances prove Chelsea made the right decision in going all out to sign him in January.
In recent weeks, the left-back has become the clear option for Potter ahead of £62m man Marc Cucurella and this energetic display proved why he is in the team. Chilwell showed a willingness to bomb it down the left flank time and time again, causing Alex Iwobi nightmares as he consistently escaped his marker.
His crosses proved to be difficult to handle for the Everton backline and he played his part in the opening goal, as his delivered was scampered away by Tarkowski.
Two serious injuries have cast doubt on his long-term fitness, but Chilwell is in the form of his life. It won’t be long until he regains his place in the England side at this rate, but for now Chelsea will be only too pleased to reap the benefits from his creativity.
For much of the game, Koulibaly was solid as a rock. But when Potter brought off his partner in crime Wesley Fofana, the Senegalese looked shaky and was found wanting for the goal scored by Simms.
The centre-back got caught wrong side as the yougnster slid underneath Kepa Arrizabalaga, who should have done better to stop the effort.
And the 32-year-old, who has been improving in recent weeks in the back three, will be disappointed at his failure to stop Simms late on as Chelsea dropped two vital points.
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