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Chelsea hosted Everton at Stamford Bridge on Sunday looking to keep pace with Liverpool, who beat Fulham earlier, and Manchester City ahead of their Manchester derby. 

Chelsea dominated possession in the first half but were largely frustrated by a disciplined Everton side, well drilled by Marco Silva who had clearly done his homework on ‘Sarriball’.

After going into the break goalless, the second half sparked into life with Chelsea going close after just 15 seconds. Sarri’s side continued to press for a goal throughout the final 45 minutes to no avail, while Everton looked to threaten on the break, relying on their resolute defence to keep a clean sheet.

Here are five things we learned as Everton earned a valuable goalless draw at Stamford Bridge.

1. Marco Silva nullifies Sarriball

One of the main talking points from the start of this season has been the effect Maurizio Sarri has had on this Chelsea team and how quickly they have adjusted to his style of play.

We have seen Chelsea suck the life out of teams this season with his possession play, while Eden Hazard has been a magnet to the football, orchestrating all good play from the Blues.

Today, however, was a different story. In the first half, Everton lined up in a 4-4-2 formation without possession and were perfectly happy to allow Chelsea’s goalkeeper and centre-backs to have the ball. The Toffees kept the spaces between the midfield and defence tight, making it really hard for the likes of Kante and Jorginho to find Hazard and the Belgian was largely ineffective.

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Things opened up more in the second half, with Hazard getting on the ball a lot more, but in the first half, at least, Marco Silva seemed to find a formula to negate the famous ‘Sarriball’ tactic.

2. Chelsea need to invest in a true goalscorer

While Chelsea’s start to the season has been undoubtedly fantastic, you just cannot see them keeping pace with the attacking prowess of Manchester City and Liverpool if they don’t invest in a genuine goalscorer.

Alvaro Morata got into some great positions against Everton, as he often does, but was so wasteful and lacked composure in the final third, also finding himself offside when he eventually did put the ball in the back of the net. Meanwhile, Olivier Giroud just isn’t a prolific forward, being more of a provider to Eden Hazard.

Chelsea have got away with it on many occasions this season but cannot continue to rely solely on Eden Hazard to provide their goals and inspiration – a lethal number nine is needed.

3. England’s number one 

With Chelsea ramping up the intensity in the second half, Everton became understandably stretched as the game went on and had to rely on all 11 players to keep their focus and discipline.

Your goalkeeper can be the most important player in that regard and, today, Jordan Pickford was well up to the task. The England international made a great save from a Marcos Alonso volley in the first half and was called into action a number of times in the second.

As is often he case nowadays, Pickford was up to the task every time and will be very happy to come away with a clean sheet and a valuable point for Everton in their hunt for European football.

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4. Kevin Friend making enemies

Today’s affair between Chelsea and Everton wasn’t a particularly heated affair, save for a coming together between Bernard and Antonio Rudiger.

However, Kevin Friend still managed to hand out six yellow cards, give inconsistent, harsh free-kicks for both sides and generally frustrated both sets of supporters.

Alvaro Morata had multiple penalty shouts, although he looked to go down easily on a number of occasions. Chelsea fans will be feeling hard done by, while Everton fans will be asking where the yellow cards are for simulation.

Not a great day at the office for Kevin Friend and another negative performance from a Premier League referee, which is becoming something of a regular occurrence.

5. Sarri the record breaker

A 0-0 draw certainly wasn’t the result that Maurizio Sarri and his Chelsea players wanted from this result. However, it did ensure that the Italian manager set a new record for the longest unbeaten start in the competition by a manager (12 games), overtaking Frank Clark’s 11 games in 1994.

The two dropped points means Chelsea lose a little ground on Liverpool, but you still cannot deny that Sarri’s adjustment to Premier League life has been swift and impressive, boding well for the rest of the season.

 

 

The post appeared first on Squawka News.

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