Premier League: Chelsea crush Everton, Manchester City denied, Jermain Defoe saves Sunderland - Firstpost
Firstpost

Premier League: Chelsea crush Everton, Manchester City denied, Jermain Defoe saves Sunderland


By

London: Chelsea went top of the Premier League after a brilliant 5-0 win over Everton on Saturday gave them the biggest victory of Antonio Conte's managerial tenure so far.

Eden Hazard put in his best performance of the new era, scoring twice in an exceptional individual performance, with Marcos Alonso, Diego Costa and Pedro Rodriguez also on target.

Everton, sixth in the table, never looked capable of coping with Chelsea and collapsed under the weight of the home side's repeated attacks.

Pedro scored in Chelsea's 5-0 rout of Everton. AFP

Pedro scored in Chelsea's 5-0 rout of Everton. AFP

Chelsea currently look a world away from the problems of last season and this was the fourth awkward-looking game in a row in which they have made things look all too easy.

It helped greatly that they claimed an early lead for the fourth successive game, too, even if this performance was slightly more sluggish than the previous three in that respect.

Against Leicester City, it took seven minutes for them to score; against Manchester United, it was one; against Southampton it was six, and here it was 19.

Hazard struck in a manner that has become increasingly familiar since the start of the season, cutting in from the left wing and hitting a low, bouncing shot that caught goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg unsighted.

There was a possibility that Pedro was offside, but the goal was allowed to stand.

Chelsea wasted no time extending their advantage, with just 24 seconds of playing time elapsing between their first and second goals.

Conte halted an Everton counter-attack in its tracks and after brilliantly wriggling between two players, Hazard played the ball through to Pedro on the right.

The winger looked to square the ball to Costa, but with the pass arriving slightly behind the striker, the oncoming Alonso roared at him to get out of the way and thundered a shot between Stekelenburg's legs.

 Koeman rejigs

It was the Spanish wing-back's first Chelsea goal following his close-season switch from Fiorentina.

Everton manager Ronald Koeman's attempt to mirror Conte's new three-man defence had clearly failed and it took him just 36 minutes to abandon it.

Bryan Oviedo was hauled off for Kevin Mirallas, although it did not actually help. Chelsea continued their onslaught.

Victor Moses smashed the post with a brilliantly hit shot on the half-volley, before Costa made it 3-0. Nemanja Matic flicked on Hazard's corner on 43 minutes and the striker slammed home at the back post.

The best was still to come, however, as Chelsea's best player moved onto another level.

On 56 minutes, Hazard surged forward down the right touchline and flicked the ball to Pedro, who sent it back to him with a wonderfully deft back-heel.

The Belgian homed in on goal, before accurately driving the ball past Stekelenburg with his left foot.

It was his seventh goal in 11 league games, marking his best start to a season since moving to Stamford Bridge from Lille in 2012.

Chelsea then went on to complete their best result of the season so far as Pedro got the goal his performance deserved by volleying in from close range after Stekelenburg had thwarted Hazard.

It marked an impressive escalation in results, with Chelsea having won their last three home games 3-0, 4-0 and now 5-0.

Conte brought on John Terry at the end and it was a measure of the hosts' dominance -- and Everton's haplessness -- that even the veteran centre-back was able to join in with their attacks.

De Roon denies City

Marten de Roon's stoppage-time header earned Middlesbrough a 1-1 draw at Manchester City earlier on Saturday to leave Pep Guardiola's side in a vulnerable position at the Premier League summit.

Sergio Aguero's 150th City goal looked to have sent his team three points clear, but De Roon brought the Etihad Stadium back to earth following Tuesday's brilliant 3-1 win over Barcelona in the Champions League.

"We did absolutely everything to win the game," said Guardiola, whose side have drawn their last three home league games 1-1 following previous stalemates against Everton and Southampton.

"We controlled the game and in the last minute we concede a goal. It is a pity. We did a lot of good things and tried to win the game.

"It is a miss because we have dropped six points in the last three home games, but we are still there. We have to move forward."

Elsewhere, bottom club Sunderland ended their wait for a first win of the season at the 11th attempt by coming from behind to win 2-1 at Bournemouth despite having Steven Pienaar sent off.

Boro's trip to the Etihad reunited Guardiola with his former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes and the Spain international set the tone for his one-time mentor's day.

Valdes saved brilliantly from Aguero and David Silva in the first half, while Kevin De Bruyne shot just wide from Aguero's pass.

With half-time beckoning, the hosts went ahead in the 43rd minute as Aguero dispatched De Bruyne's sumptuous cross to register his 150th goal in 223 City appearances.

Barnes late show 

Boro showed more attacking intent in the second half, former City striker Alvaro Negredo almost catching out Claudio Bravo with an audacious lob from his own half before Bravo saved smartly from Adam Forshaw.

And after Aguero had squandered a late chance to make the game safe, Dutch midfielder De Roon met George Friend's deep cross with a thumping header to earn Boro a dramatic point.

Sunderland remain bottom, below Swansea City on goal difference, but manager David Moyes belatedly has a victory to his name following a hard-fought success at Bournemouth's Vitality Stadium.

After Adam Smith had teed up Dan Gosling to bundle in an 11th-minute opener for Bournemouth, Victor Anichebe equalised with his first Sunderland goal.

Pienaar was sent off just before the hour after receiving a second yellow card for a lunge on Junior Stanislas, but Jermain Defoe netted a 74th-minute winner from the spot after Smith felled Anichebe.

"It is a big relief," Moyes told Sky Sports. "We owed the supporters the victory. They have kept with us.

"We needed a win, but it is only one. We need a few more."

There was late drama at Turf Moor as Burnley withstood a Crystal Palace fightback to prevail 3-2 courtesy of Ashley Barnes's 94th-minute strike.

Sam Vokes and Johann Berg Gundmundsson put Burnley 2-0 up, only for Palace to hit back through second-half goals by substitute Connor Wickham and Christian Benteke.

But in the fourth minute of stoppage time, Gudmundsson crossed for Barnes to fire home and condemn Palace -- who later hit the post through Andros Townsend -- to a fourth straight defeat.

Stoke City drew 1-1 at West Ham United, with Bojan Krkic exploiting an error by home goalkeeper Adrian to equalise in the 75th minute after a Glenn Whelan own goal had put the hosts ahead.

First Published On : Nov 6, 2016 00:01 IST

Comment using Disqus

Show Comments