REPORT | Everton 0-1 Chelsea

Everton open the season in defeat at Goodison Park following a Jorginho penalty in first half stoppage time.

Everton are back for the 2022-23 Premier League campaign following a season of strife that saw the toffees finish 17th and narrowly escape relegation due in large part to the raucous and unwavering support of the Everton faithful.

Two newcomers were introduced into the starting XI for matchweek number one, with Dwight McNeil and James Tarkowski making their full Everton debuts following transfers from Burnley in the summer window. The match was a cagey affair in the opening ten minutes, with the blues setting up to play on the counter and takes waves of Chelsea pressure with a five at the back formation. The first shot on target came from the visitors in the 7th minute as Kai Havertz headed at Pickford, but he was calm and collected the weak effort.

The 10th minute saw disaster for the blues as Chelsea raced forward, Pickford came out to claim and although the ball went well out of bounds play continued. Godfrey slid into avert the danger but picked up a serious lower-leg injury in the process that saw the center-half leave on a stretcher in an inflated boot.

Mason Holgate would come on for the injured Godfrey and be thrown into the flame right away, adjusting well to numerous Chelsea corners and heading them away well. Pickford would deny Mount in the 19th minute, and the blues would see their first chance in the 25th minute. Mykolenko crossed well into the box and a towering header from Tarkowski was saved well by Mendy.

Everton would continue to hang on well as Raheem Sterling would be denied his goal in the 43rd minute for an offside flag, but a clumsy challenge from behind on Chilwell from Doucoure would lead to a penalty with Jorginho converting to make it 0-1 heading into the second half.

Demari Gray would create the first chance of the second half in the 48th minute as he charged towards Thiago Silva, he did well to cut inside but his effort was deflected and out. In the 52nd minute the toffees would come close again as Iwobi played across to Doucoure in the center who courln’t find a gap, with the effort eventually falling into the hands of Mendy.

Dele Alli would replace Dwight McNeil after a quiet debut followed closely by Ruben Vinagre making his Everton debut following a slight injury to Yerry Mina in the 70th minute. The game would continue to wind down with Everton struggling to create any real chances in the final third heading into 10 minutes if stoppage time.

Demari Gray would get one more chance with a free kick in the 100th minute of play, but the looping ball could only be lightly headed on by Tarkowski as the full time whistle eventually blew.

It had been a long while since Everton lost a first home game in the Premier League, but there were good performances in the squad. The backline looked calm and assured throughout with Mykolenko and Holgate showing themselves well. Iwobi did well in advancing the line but struggled to find attacking options in the final third without a proper striker.

There will be plenty of positives to take from Everton’s defensive shape and solidity in the opening match of the campaign, but with looming injuries to Godfrey and perhaps even Mina, plus the injury to Calvert-Lewin in training, Everton will certainly be welcoming reinforcements of all kinds before the closing of the transfer window.

UTFT!

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