BY PAUL LAGAN
Chelsea crashed to an away day blue as they lost 3-1 to Everton at Goodison Park, and for the most part it was self-inflicted.
Having gone 2-0 down, Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen contributing towards the second, Mateo Kovacic reduced the deficit only to see goalkeeper Kepa make a howler of a clearance to gift the home side the decisive third goal, six minutes from time.
Chelsea had a host of half-chances, and looked threatening when inside the Everton penalty area.
However , they tried to score the perfect goal, when a shot would have sufficed.
It cost them dear.
A wayward cross by Reece James on four minutes almost caught Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford out, but the ball cruised over his crossbar.
But with the home side’s first attack, seconds later it was Kepa picking the ball out of his net as Richarlison latched onto Djibril Sidibe perfected weighted right-win cross. the Brazilian out jumped Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen to bullet-head the ball home from six yards.
Chelsea responded well with a series of good possession plays – but only once did they penetrate the Everton defence – Tammy Abraham’s sublime flick into the path of in-running Mason Mount. But the midfielder was bundled off the ball.
Richarlison latched onto Theo Walcott pass and unleashed a low, right-footer. This time Kepa was in the right spot, at his near post, to parry the goal-bound shot away.
Michael Keane gifted Willian the ball on 20 minutes on the edge of his penalty area. The wide man opted not to go for goal, but combine with Abraham and Mount in an attempt to walk the ball in. The effort was duly snuffed out.
Chelsea should have equalised on 27 minutes when Willian cut across a brilliant byline ball. Abraham attempted another flick – this time six yards out, but the ball zipped inches wide of Pickford’s right post.
Abraham was unlucky again on 33 minutes after a wonderful left byline cross by Mount was just missed by the in-running striker.
There were no changes by either side at half-time
But the restart saw The Londoners 2-0 down.
Christensen and Zouma conspired between them to allow Dominic Calvert-Lewin to snatch the ball off them, from close-range and slot the ball home past Kepa after just 49 minutes.
Chelsea responded within three minutes, Mateo Kovacic smashing home a sensational volley from 20 yards after excellent set-up play by N’Golo Kante and Mount.
Mount missed an excellent chance to level the scores after Kante had dropped the ball to his feet just inside the Everton area. But his right-footer failed to have the curve required and it slipped past Pickford’s crossbar on 64 minutes.
Head Coach Frank Lampard decided to bring on Callum Hudson-Odoi on 70 minutes – William made way.
Christensen tried his luck from 30 yards out, but the Dane saw his right-footer go wide of goal.
Cesar Azpilicueta saw his effort tipped over the crossbar as the visitors forced the pace.
Lampard brought on striker Michy Batshuayi for right-back James they went to three at the back.
But it all went pear-shaped for Chelsea when Kepa inexplicably gave the ball away. With the defence exposed Calvert-Lewis bundled the ball home to make it 3-1.
Teams: Kepa, Christensen, Kante, Abraham, Willian, Zouma, Kovacic, Mount, Pulisic, James, Azpilicueta
Subs: Caballero, Jorginho, Barkley, Hudson-Odoi, Batshuayi, Tomori, Emerson
Everton: Pickford, Holgate, Keane, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewis, Sigurdsson, Walcott, Diane, Iwobi, Schneiderlin, Sidibe