Sean Dyche’s team moved farther away from the relegation zone with a 2-0 win over a stout Chelsea side at Goodison Park, thanks to goals from Abdoulaye Doucoure and Lewis Dobbin.
Doucoure is enjoying his offensive position under Dyche, and he backed up his finish against Newcastle on Thursday with another close-range convert on Sunday, after Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s effort was parried by Robert Sanchez. The Malian now has six for the season, his highest total in Everton colours.
But there was even more joy in stoppage time as academy graduate Dobbin, 20, clinched the victory by hammering home a loose ball from a corner.
Chelsea heaped on the pressure in quest of an equaliser, but the superb Vitaliy Mykolenko beamed with delight as Everton consistently thwarted the onslaught, and Goodison screamed at the final whistle, sealing a third Premier League victory in a row.
Everton remain 17th, but they’re currently four points clear of the relegation zone, the same margin they’d have over a listless Chelsea if they hadn’t been docked points.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side were completely out of sorts in the final third here and, on the heels of their midweek defeat at Manchester United, have sunk into the bottom half after a scrappy win with 10 players over Brighton last weekend. Pochettino’s hunt for a solution to the uneven form of this expensively built side continues.
Could the answer lie in more transfer window spending in January? “After the first half of the season, we need to check,” said Pochettino. “That is the reality. If we are not receiving enough, maybe we need to do some movement.
“That is the thing to analyse with the sporting director, to see if we can change this dynamic and improve in the second half of the season. We need to be more aggressive. Then it’s a massive assessment and when the transfer window opens, we will see what we can do.
“I don’t say if I am going to ask for more or less players. It’s to see if the perception matches the reality. We are missing something. We need to improve our reality.”
The visitors’ afternoon was made worse by a first-half injury to captain Reece James, who looks set to miss more game time with a hamstring problem, and a second-half injury to goalkeeper Robert Sanchez. But the lack of end product from the likes of Mykhailo Mudryk at the other end of the pitch remains just as big an issue.
In the end, it was another unforgettable day at Goodison Park for Everton fans, who celebrated loudly and proudly at the end of the game, just as they had done following Newcastle’s victory. In contrast, the first half was low-key.
Chelsea’s offensive threat faded after a couple of early saves from Jordan Pickford to keep out Enzo Fernandez and Cole Palmer, and the big talking point from the first 45 minutes was the injuries suffered by James and Everton right-back Ashley Young.
Injury Update on Reece James
Chelsea defender Reece James is set to get a diagnostic on his current hamstring problem, according to reports.
The academy product, who was named club captain at the start of the season, has battled hamstring and knee injuries in recent years.
Throughout 2023-24, James has made six starts and three substitute appearances in all competitions, however he has yet to play 90 minutes.
After missing a week of competitive play owing to a ban, the England international would have wanted to be in top form to face Manchester United and Everton last week.
Instead, the 24-year-old played only the second half at Old Trafford before limping out before the half-hour mark against the Toffees on Sunday.
After the game, head coach Mauricio Pochettino expressed his disappointment for James after yet another fitness issue this season.
According to the Evening Standard, James thinks that seeking a withdrawal as soon as possible will assist in his rehabilitation.
Nonetheless, James will be subjected to scans to decide if he will be allowed to participate in the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.
Chelsea do not return to action until December 16 when they visit Sheffield United, although they then play five games in two weeks.