Chelsea outgun Everton in a thrilling nine-goal fest
Everton 3 Chelsea 6
Published 31/08/2014 | 02:30
It was a score that felt like a throwback to the era when football was watched in black and white and by the end of wild and eccentric game Chelsea had emerged with an immaculate record to the new Premier League season and maybe, at the back of his mind, Jose Mourinho remembering the days when he used to say results like this belonged to hockey rather than football.
That period in the second half when the two sides shared five goals in nine minutes certainly did not feel like the orthodox Mourinho experience. It incorporated a goal from Samuel Eto'o against his former club and, in brief passages, the gathering sense that Chelsea were straying dangerously close to being caught by persistent opponents. Instead, it ended up as close to a rout, with Diego Costa at the heart of it and ironic cries of "boring, boring Chelsea" from the away end.
Everton, too, had plenty of chances to add more goals of their own and Mourinho will think his team should have made it a more routine victory considering the two-goal head-start Costa and Branislav Ivanovic had given them inside the opening three minutes.
Chelsea were a team in a hurry. They started with a vibrancy that suggested they might have buoyed by Manchester City's defeat at home to Stoke and Everton's position might have been utterly hopeless if the officials had realised Tim Howard had handled the ball a good yard outside his penalty area shortly after the second goal.
Costa's place had been in doubt because of a hamstring issue but his right-footed finish from one of Cesc Fabregas's perfectly weighted passes was a good way of letting everyone know he was functioning perfectly well. Ivanovic might be a defender by trade but he doubles up for Chelsea as a winger in most games and might just fancy his chances as a centre-forward judging by the amount of time he spends in the opposition penalty area. It was a clinical finish once he had controlled Ramires's pass and turned to face his target.
Yet Chelsea's attacks became more sporadic. Everton showed commendable spirit for the way they had set about trying to retrieve the damage and that was rewarded with the goal from Kevin Mirallas. Seamus Coleman's overlapping runs in support of Aiden McGeady had been a prominent feature. Here, they linked up again and Mirallas eluded Gary Cahill to flash an angled header past Thibaut Courtois from Coleman's cross.
That set up a second half in which Everton gave everything to completing the fightback but always looking susceptible at the back. Chelsea's third goal came from an Eden Hazard cross that Coleman deflected into his own net, prompting Howard to remonstrate with Costa. McGeady set up Steven Naismith to poke in the next goal within a minute only for Nemanja Matic to restore Chelsea's two-goal advantage with a stylish left-foot drive.
It was starting to feel difficult to keep up when Eto'o headed in Leighton Baines's free-kick to make it 4-3 but Chelsea's response was swift again.
Matic played in Ramires to fire in their next goal and then a poor back-heel from Everton's substitute Muhamed Besic left Ramires, with a much better one, setting up Costa to run clear for Chelsea's sixth.
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