- Hat trick for Naismith
- Only Matic bests Howard
- Besic off with injury
- Chelsea’s worst start in PL era
Steven Naismith wasn’t in the starting lineup, but was the hat trick hero of Everton’s 3-1 defeat of reeling Chelsea on Saturday at Goodison Park.
Naismith scored twice in the first half and again in the match’s final 10 minutes — header, left foot, right foot –as the Toffees moved to eight points in five matches.
Nemanja Matic had a gorgeous answer for Chelsea before halftime to make it 2-1, but that was all the Blues could muster as they sit on four points through five contests. It’s Chelsea’s worst start since 1988.
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Muhamed Besic had to come out of the match before it was nine minutes old after twisting an ankle, bringing on Naismith. The latter was fortunate avoid discipline when he viciously kicked a falling, out-of-bounds Branislav Ivanovic.
And moments later, he took Everton into the lead. Brendan Galloway started a movement along the left side before drifting into position to send a great cross in for Naismith, who raced past John Terry and flashed a header home. 1-0.
Everton looked rampant, as Arouna Kone and James McCarthy each could’ve doubled the lead in the following minutes.
Naismith was the one to make it 2-0. Given room outside the 18 to unleash his left, the 28-year-old Scot buried a low drive past Asmir Begovic.
It’s the first time Chelsea has allowed two or more goals in five-straight matches since… 1991.
Matic made sure Chelsea would go into the break in better shape. He had even more time and room to operate than Naismith, and just pummeled a knuckling left-footed shot into the upper left corner. Not sure what the ball did to deserve that cruel blow, but Chelsea was within one.
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Chelsea caught a massive break in the second half. First, Begovic stopped a left-footed shot from a streaking Romelu Lukaku, and then Terry’s reflexive pass back was collected by the prone goalkeeper. Andre Mariner didn’t call a thing, shaking his head. Pretty shocking.
Naismith remained lively into the second half, providing Lukaku with another chance in the 68th minute (though Begovic was there to shot stop).
And then Naismith again. Ross Barkley sucked Terry up as Naismith ducked through the Chelsea back line to nutmeg Begovic for a hat trick.