Chelsea’s supposed crisis lasted all of eight days thanks to victory over Tottenham last Sunday. After that shock defeat to Burnley on the opening weekend of the season, the writing was supposedly on the wall for Antonio Conte’s men even at this early juncture.
Once again they went into an all important encounter with Tottenham as the perceived underdogs, that was the case back in April for the F.A. Cup Semi Final against Spurs. A fixture that they would win 4-2 and last weekend it was groundhog day when a perceived weaker Chelsea side still came out on top against their cross town rivals.
Spaniard Marcos Alonso will rightfully earn the headlines after his brace won the game for Chelsea but Antonio Conte will be due some sizeable praise as well due to the way he set his side up to go toe to toe with Mauricio Pochettino’s men.
The true test of a team when they are up against the ropes is to take the punches thrown at you and still come out on top. That is what exactly Chelsea did as by the time Michy Batshuyai put through his own net late on it looked like if anyone was going to score a winner it would be Tottenham.
But with three minutes to go it was left wing back Alonso who delivered the sucker punch which turned into a knock out blow. Chelsea had come away from Wembley with all three points and it was a performance that meant their season had now begun.
This afternoon it continues with the visit of Everton who are unbeaten in five matches in all competitions, three of them may have come in the shape of the Europa League but they have also managed to go to The Etihad and come away with a well earned point.
Thursday night saw them book their place in the Europa League Group Stages after a 1-1 draw with Hadjuk Split. A result that saw them come out of Croatia just about unscathed as Jordan Pickford was called upon to save a penalty with the home side already one nil up.
The game though will be most remembered though for Gylfi Sigurdsson’s outrageous volley from the half way line. It was teed up with one touch and then a slightly oppoortunistic punt up field looped over the Hadjuk goalkeper and into the net to give Everton a crucial away goal which all but ended the tie as a competitive fixture.
It is highly unlikely that he will be able to repeat that particular goal scoring feat this afternoon but he will be charged with adding a creative spark to Everton’s midfield as they look to build on Monday’s draw against Manchester City.
The only thing that may well go against them is the fact that this will be their third game in less than a week and will be a real test in terms of the squad’s early season fitness. Another test will be how they can continue to hold their own against the top six.
They were more than competent against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City at the start of the week although you do have to wonder what the outcome would have been had Kyle Walker not be shown a red card for two quick fire bookable offences.
Speaking of Red Cards, Morgan Schneiderlin misses out due to a sending off his own as he also was told to take an early shower after being shown a second yellow late on against City. In fairness Sergio Aguero did make a little too much of the tackle from the French international.
Whether his absence has a massive bearing on the outcome of today’s match I’m not too sure. I just think Everton will be a bit too leggy after their exploits earlier in the week, unfortunately that’s life when you play in the Europa League. Nothing other than a home win for me.