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6-3! Salah unused as Chelsea steamroll Everton
Chelsea, looking to capitalise on an uncharacteristic slip up by reigning champions Manchester City in an earlier game, got off to a lightning quick start, scoring twice within the first three minutes of the match. It took Diego Costa 36 seconds to have the ball in the back of the net, latching on to a sumptuous Cesc Fabregas through ball to dispatch the finish between the legs of the oncoming Tim Howard.
Two minutes later, and Chelsea had another, with Branislav Ivanovic slotting home coolly, albeit controversially, with the Serbian right-back looking offside upon closer inspection of replays, after a slick passing move around the 18-yard box.
Looking to stem the flow of Chelsea’s attacking prowess, the game slowed down, with Kevin Mirallas equalising on the stroke of half time, glancing a header past Courtois from a Seamus Coleman cross into the box. 2-1 at half-time, with Chelsea hoping to end the match on top of the ladder, with Manchester City losing to Stoke City in the earlier game.
The second half begun in quick fashion, with no sides making any changes at the break. With Everton trailing, they looked to find the equaliser as soon as possible. Holding the majority of the possession within the first 10 minutes of the restart and it almost paid off, with a fast passing move ending in Romelu Lukaku sending the ball high over the crossbar in the 47th minute.
Diego Costa missed a sitter in the 52nd minute, with Tim Howard saving brilliantly in a one-on-one with the Spanish striker. Chelsea doubled their lead in the 66th minute, with Eden Hazard, with the help of a Seamus Coleman deflection, putting the ball past the outstretched foot of Howard. The celebrations caused controversy, with Diego Costa getting in the face of Coleman, and with Howard not happy, a small altercation ensued.
A minute later Everton had a goal back, with Aiden McGeady’s driving run ending up with a brilliant ball to Naismith, who, in acres of space, slotted the ball into the bottom right corner of the net.
The joy didn’t last long, with Nemanja Matic drilling a shot into the bottom right corner of the net in the 73rd minute, finishing off some great hold up play from Diego Costa. 4-2, with three goals in the space of seven second half minutes.
With the home fans urging Everton forward, they had another goal two minutes later, with Cameroonian Samuel Eto’o, who joined the club earlier this week, scoring on his debut, brilliantly heading in a Leighton Baines free-kick. 4-3 now, with Eto’o’s debut goal meaning 4 goals had been scored in the space of nine minutes.
It wasn’t over, with Ramires getting in on the act three minutes later! Hazard held onto the ball up on the right wing, Ramires took control, playing a slick one two and driving into the box, finishing from the angle with a cool outside of the foot finish past the outstretched hand of the Everton custodian.
Thibaut Courtois almost had a heart in mouth moment a few minutes later, lazily giving away possession to Lukaku, who set up Mirallas in the box. Mirallas got a touch on it, but Courtois redeemed himself, pulling off a fantastic reaction save to tip the ball onto the post and keep Chelsea’s two goal lead.
The match was sealed off in the 90th minute, with Everton debutant Muhamed Besić giving the ball away in the centre of the park with his first touch, allowing Mikel to send Diego Costa through on goal. Costa finished with aplomb, putting the tie to bed once and for all with a calm finish into the bottom right corner of the net, with the Blues steaming through a six goal second half to record the three points.
Mohamed Salah, who was included in the squad for the first time this season, will be looking to get minutes after the international break. The win has left Chelsea with no competition at the top of the ladder for the next two weeks, with their next fixture to be played against Swansea at Stamford Bridge on the 13th of September.