Everton 3 Chelsea 1: Three talking points as Steven Naismith bags treble
Three talking points as Everton striker Steven Naismith scores a hat-trick in an emphatic win at Goodison Park
Hazard embodies Chelsea struggles
What has happened to reigning PFA player of the year Eden Hazard? The Chelsea forward has been toothless in the opening four weeks of the Premier League. The international break came at a good time for Hazard, but the Belgium international was heavily criticised by his national team manager Marc Wilmots despite scoring a late winner against Israel. While this piece from www.oulala.com shows Hazard has remarkably been better this season, it does highlight the flaw with basing opinions solely on stats. The 24-year-old hasn’t been his eye-catching self and the trend continued at Goodison Park. Gareth Barry and James McCarthy managed to smother Hazard, despite the Chelsea star having 46 first-half touches. He didn’t improve after half-time despite Jose Mourinho throwing more attacking players into the fray. Hazard and Chelsea – particularly their defence – need to improve fast.
Steven Naismith has been a big-game for player for Everton in recent seasons. Last term, the Everton forward scored against Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United. Often someone overlooked by fans and pundits due to his unflashy style of play, the Scotland international has proven a thorn in the side of many of the top-four clubs. So, the blow of losing Muhamed Besic was softened by Naismith’s subsequent introduction. And in typical fashion, the Everton forward manager to drift undetected into Asmir Begovic’s box and power a header past the Chelsea goalkeeper in the 17th minute. It was a goal befitting his poacher reputation. But the 28-year-old added a second five minutes later with a long-range strike which was not to dissimilar to the spectacular efforts that we have seen from Ross Barkley over the past 24 months. Deservedly secured his hat-trick as the forward showed brilliant movement to collect Barkley’s incisive pass and guide his finish past Begovic from an acute angle. It completed the perfect hat-trick and the perfect performance.
Stones stars as Chelsea wobble
Chelsea have now conceded 11 goals in five Premier League games. To put that into context, the defending champions conceded just 32 times in their title-winning campaign. If the Blues were to continue shipping goals at their current rate, Mourinho’s side would finish with 80 plus in the goals against column. That, of course, won’t happen. But Thibaut Courtois’s recent injury set-back is a blow, especially as the Chelsea manager appears unsure of his first-choice centre-half partnership. John Terry and Kurt Zouma started at Goodison Park and the latter was at fault for Naismith’s opener. Branislav Ivanovic was slow closing down the Scot for his second goal. To compound Mourinho’s misery, Chelsea’s summer target John Stones had an impressive game as he made a number of vital blocks and was a classy operator with the ball at his feet.