After relatively easy victories against two promoted sides, title favourites Chelsea had their toughest test of the season travelling to Goodison Park. Taking on an Everton side that gave up leads late in both of their first two games but had put in strong performances in both matches, Chelsea had their work cut out for them. Instead of being a tight low scoring affair that people would expect from Chelsea last season, this match exploded into a nine goal thriller with the Londoners taking it 6-3.
Despite excelling in the big games last season, Chelsea struggled with a lack of goals from strikers in 2013-2014. Enter Diego Costa, Chelsea’s big money striker signing. Chelsea have had rotten luck with strikers recently and after a lacklustre World Cup, some were expecting the Spanish international to flop. It may be only three games in, but Costa has done anything but flop so far. After two goals in his first two games under Jose Mourinho, the former Atletico Madrid man became only the second Chelsea player to score in his first three Premier League matches for the club bagging himself a brace.
Chelsea’s £32 million striker scored the first goal and the final goal with the first goal coming only 36 seconds into the match. The 25 year old completed 18 of his 27 attempted passes and created two chances. The former Atletico Madrid striker only won two of his six attempted aerial duels, but all of them came in the middle third of the pitch so none of them were goal scoring opportunities. Costa won four of his five attempted tackles including two won right outside of his own penalty box.
Costa is a striker and a very good goal scorer, but he has the work ethic you expect from a player managed by Jose Mourinho. Costa has pretty much everything you want in a striker. He’s a big strong striker, but he showed on his first goal that he has the pace to make the runs in behind the defence as well. He showed off his skill and composure on his second goal doing a few step overs to fool the defender and make room to smash the ball past Tim Howard. The Spanish international has the tenacity and work rate that you don’t always get in strikers. He chased the ball all over the pitch including making two clearances in his own penalty area and two tackles right outside it.
It’s difficult to identify one point where the match changes in a match with nine goals, but I’d say the most important moment was the goal 36 seconds after kick off. Away from home against a team like Everton, many would expect Chelsea to start the match by soaking up some pressure and trying to catch the Toffees on the break. Instead, Jose Mourinho’s men came out firing. Willian played the ball off to Cesc Fabregas. Fabregas had plenty of time to get his head up and, with no Everton player pressing him, he could pick out whatever pass he wanted. The former Barcelona man spotted Costa making a diagonal run across Phil Jagielka. The Everton captain unsuccessfully tried to play the former Atletico Madrid striker offside. Fabregas then slid the ball through to Costa who ran onto the ball and finished between the legs of Tim Howard.
This was a big game for Chelsea to put marker down proving that all the title talk was more than just hype. Everton may not be one of the teams they will be competing for the title with, but Goodison Park is a tough place to go and Chelsea grabbed three points from their trip to the North West of England. They also showed that this season they can play to outscore you as well as to not let you score.