Chelsea extend unbeaten run with stalemate against Everton - Dove Bulletin - Online News Bulletin

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Sunday, 11 November 2018

Chelsea extend unbeaten run with stalemate against Everton

Chelsea missed the chance to return to the top of the Premier League as they were held to a scrappy goalless draw by Everton.

Maurizio Sarri's side had the better chances at Stamford Bridge but were frustrated on several occasions by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

The result means the hosts have now stayed unbeaten in their opening 12 top-flight games for only the second time in their history.

It also secured a small piece of history for Sarri himself, who has become the first Premier League manager or head coach to avoid defeat in their first dozen games.

Prior to Sunday's Manchester derby, Chelsea is third in the table, two points behind leaders Liverpool, who beat Fulham 2-0 at Anfield earlier.

Everton remain in ninth, but played their part in west London, with Icelandic playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson forcing a smart save from Kepa Arrizabalaga on the hour.

However, their wait for a Premier League win at Chelsea now extends to 24 matches over as many years.

In what was at times a frustrating and disjointed game, the best chances fell to Marcos Alonso, who saw a volley saved by Pickford, before hitting the post with time running out.

Chelsea, who were armed with the fit-again Eden Hazard in their starting XI, introduced ex-Everton midfielder Ross Barkley from the bench for the closing stages.

But he was ultimately unable to make a telling impact in his 10 minutes or so on the pitch as the match fizzled out to a stalemate.
History on Chelsea's side in title push?

Sarri's Blues seemed subdued when the game got underway and took time to find their stride, even with the lift of Hazard's return.

Prior to the latest round of matches, no player had been involved in more Premier League goals this season than the Belgian, who has scored seven and had four assists.

In one of his and Chelsea's brightest moments of the match - straight from the start of the second half - he was unlucky to not add to that tally when Morata squeezed between Everton's central defenders to connect with Hazard's cross, only for Pickford to save.

On balance, the Blues can probably feel these are two points dropped, but perhaps they can take some comfort in maintaining their unbeaten record.

The last time they avoided defeat in their first 12 Premier League games was in 2014-15 - when they went on to lift the title.

Everton building momentum

Marco Silva's Merseysiders will not be unhappy with their afternoon's work and go into this month's international break having lost just one of their last six league games.

Silva will also surely be pleased with the performance of Colombian summer signing Yerry Mina on his full debut.

The £27m man came into the side for loanee Kurt Zouma, who was ineligible to play against his parent club and marshalled the visitors' defence with the poise of a player making his 100th start.

And while Pickford's efforts in goal were impressive and worthy of special praise, Everton were not sliced apart by Sarri's title hopefuls, with impressive showings across their back-line.

Silva's side could even have snatched all three points to end a 28-year wait for a win at Stamford Bridge when Bernard was played in a little more than six yards from goal, only to stumble and mis-hit his effort.
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