Chelsea battered Everton 4-0 at Stamford Bridge on Sunday to cement their spot in the top four of the Premier League table.
[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]
Frank Lampard‘s side were rampant from start to finish as Mason Mount, Pedro, Willian and Olivier Giroud all scored and in truth the 4-0 scoreline flattered an extremely lackluster Everton side as Carlo Ancelotti did not enjoy his return to Chelsea.
With the win, their biggest in the Premier League under Lampard, Chelsea opened up a five-point gap to fifth-place Wolves and are now just two points off Leicester who are in third place. Everton are in 12th place on 37 points.
3 things we learned
1. Chelsea’s defensive work ethic the difference: Buoyed by their midweek FA Cup win against Liverpool, Chelsea were flying from the start and never let up. Going forward they ripped Everton apart but one of the most impressive things about this display was how hard they worked to win the ball back. Injuries have hit them hard but the so-called ‘second string’ players performed well and their hunger and desire to make the most of slip ups by Wolves and Spurs this weekend spurred them on to cement their place in the top four. Champions League qualification for this young side under Lampard would be a fine season, especially after their considerable slump over the last few months.
2. Giroud, Gilmour make everything tick: Billy Gilmour was starting his first Premier League game and is 18 years old. It looked like it was his 200th PL game and he was 30. The “Irn-Bru Iniesta” has taken his chance with Kovacic injured and Jorginho suspended and he has shown Lampard he can do it in back-to-back games against Liverpool and Everton. As for Giroud, well, he scored and was influential in the attacking unit as his hold-up play knitted the attack together. Without so many first-choice players, Gilmour and Giroud made sure everything went very smoothly for Chelsea.
3. Everton shambolic: Chelsea were very good but Everton were woeful. Carlo Ancelotti had a face like thunder on the sidelines throughout as the Toffees stood off Chelsea, gave them too much respect and didn’t deserve anything. They are still in the battle for the Europa League spots but any faint hopes they had of pushing themselves into the Champions League places are now gone. This was a reality check for Everton who weren’t nasty enough to disrupt Chelsea’s rhythm.
Man of the Match: Billy Gilmour – The Scottish midfielder had the most touches on the pitch and look so calm and assured in possession. A star in the making. Willian also played extremely well but Gilmour gets the nod.
Chelsea came flying out of the traps and Mount fired a superb volley just wide as Everton couldn’t handle the pace of the Blues attack.
Moments later Mount scored a fine goal as he controlled, turned and finish all in one motion to send Stamford Bridge wild as the 21-year-old scored his first goal since Dec. 4.
Wave after wave of Chelsea attack then arrived as Willian was set free but his low drive was denied by Jordan Pickford but Everton didn’t learn their lesson.
Giroud held up the ball and played it back to Barkley who sent a perfect through ball to Pedro who was clean through and finished with ease to give Chelsea a deserved 2-0 lead.
Moments later Everton were almost gifted a way back into the game as Kurt Zouma was caught in possession by Richarlison who teed up Calvert-Lewin but the in-form striker clipped the ball wide of the post as a great chance came and went for the Toffees.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
The same pattern continued in the second half as Willian drilled home a low shot from distance after being given too much space from the Everton defense.
Pedro then had a shot deflected just over as Chelsea poured forward time and time again and from that resulting corner they made it 4-0 as Giroud flicked home at the back post.
Pickford then denied Pedro a second goal of the game with a fine stop as Everton were stunned and Chelsea eased to an extremely important victory.