What Crisis? Chelsea's Display Against Everton Shows They Won't Be Lying Down Despite the Odds
After watching Chelsea beat Everton 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, many would find it safe to say that the opening day defeat to Burnley was nothing more than an unfortunate blip.
Since that 3-2 loss, the Blues have responded with two spirited performances against two of the Premier League's best teams in Spurs and Everton, clawing their way back up the table and exposing the many untruths in the crisis stories that some would have us all believe.
Cesc Fabregas, who saw two yellows against Burnley, was returned to the starting line-up on Sunday, with new signing Tiemoue Bakayoko taking up a place on the bench after a commendable performance against Tottenham, despite the lingering effects of his knee injury.
Andreas Christensen, for all of his composure at the back in the previous two matches, did not get the nod for this one. And while many fans were left a bit disappointed, we can expect the Dane to get plenty of minutes in this long season.
Fabregas got Chelsea off the mark against Ronald Koeman's Toffees with a smart first-half volleyed goal off the outside of his boot following some great play between himself, Willian and Alvaro Morata - who provided the assist for his compatriot.
About 13 minutes later, Morata put himself on the score-sheet, getting on the end of Cesar Azpilicueta's incisive cross to head past Jordan Pickford. The former Real Madrid man, who missed a sitter against Spurs last weekend, made no mistake this time around, taking his tallies to two goals and two assists in three matches for his new side.
Chelsea continued their domination in the second half. And Everton looked simply out of ideas as the likes of Pedro and Willian made runs at their defenders at every opportunity. N'Golo Kante was his energetic self in the middle, while Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso were given loads of chances to foray forward and cause problems for the visitors.
The Goodison Park side did not bother Thibaut Courtois until late in the game, although Dominic Calvert-Lewin did provide a bit of a spark when he came on to replace Sandro Ramirez around the 62nd minute.
All in all, it was a convincing display from the Premier League champions, who go into the international break having earned a brilliant result, as well as their first clean sheet of the new campaign.
Antonio Conte will, however, have a tough run of fixtures to navigate through when things are back to normal. The Italian will hope to have a few additions by then, but should have Eden Hazard back in contention for a place, with the winger having played 75 minutes for the reserves last week.
Next up for the Blues will be former league champions Leicester City, who have yet to regain the form that saw them lift the title two seasons ago.
It will by no means be an easy trip for Conte and the Blues, but given the confidence gained from their last two games and the attitude shown by the coach and his players, we can expect another great effort from the Londoners when action resumes in the Premier League next month.