Everton 1-0 Chelsea
- Goals: Gylfi Sigurdsson (£6.8m)
- Assists: Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.9m)
- Bonus: Sigurdsson x3, Jordan Pickford (£4.9m) x2, Ben Godfrey (£5.0m) x1
A Gylfi Sigurdsson (£6.8m) penalty won Everton the points against Chelsea in a game as drab as the December night on which it was played.
The Iceland international, back in the starting line-up after James Rodriguez (£7.7m) succumbed to a calf injury, sent visiting keeper Edouard Mendy (£5.2m) the wrong way from the spot to secure only the second win for the Toffees in eight league matches.
The home side seemed to react positively to the return of fans to Goodison Park, although the 2,000 allowed in weren’t exactly treated to a thriller, with endeavour far outstripping quality on the night.
Everton’s winner came after Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.9m) was clumsily brought down by Mendy.
That made it two errors of judgement in a week for the Chelsea keeper after he over-committed himself against Leeds, allowing Patrick Bamford (£6.2m) to round him and score in Gameweek 11.
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard was not in the mood to blame his man post-match.
He’s been fantastic since he’s been here. I don’t think it was clearly just his mistake either. The mentality of the team to deal with second balls in the early parts of the game wasn’t so good.
But having deservedly taken credit for helping the side to five clean sheets in seven league matches, Mendy’s ricks were especially ill-timed given that Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers have been buying into Blues defenders recently.
Kurt Zouma (£5.7m) and Reece James (£5.3m) were transferred in by 151,000 and 134,000 bosses respectively ahead of Gameweek 12.
Without Mendy’s error, their money would have been well spent as Everton rarely looked like scoring before or after Sigurdsson’s penalty.
But a defence that looked so impressive with their new goalkeeper in place is now showing flickering signs of vulnerability – mildly concerning times for owners of Zouma (23.5%), James (17.7%) and the most popular of them all, Ben Chilwell (£6.2m and 35.9%).
Injuries to both first-choice full-backs Lucas Digne (£6.1m) and Seamus Coleman (£4.8m) forced Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti to field a backline made up entirely of centre-halves.
Unsurprisingly, the move fostered defensive solidity at the expense of attacking threat.
While the Chelsea full-backs sent over 12 crosses between them, their Everton equivalents Mason Holgate (£4.8m) and Ben Godfrey (£5.0m) managed none.
Ancelotti hailed the crowd – and his defence – after the match:
The fans made a lot of difference, it was a totally different atmosphere. Tonight we won for the spirit, not the quality of the play, we didn’t have the ball a lot, but we defended really well.
That spirit earned his side only their second clean sheet of the season, but with the likes of Leicester, Arsenal and Manchester City to come over the next four Gameweeks, it’s unlikely to persuade many managers to tap into the Toffees’ new-found defensive grit, even if those latter two fixtures will take place at home.
Even facing four centre-backs, Chelsea should have created more than three attempts on goal from the 73% possession they enjoyed, something Lampard acknowledged.
We didn’t pepper their goal with great opportunities. We weren’t at our best. We didn’t deal with the physicality of the early parts of the game well.
The Blues did hit the woodwork twice, from James and the industrious Mason Mount (£6.8m), but it wasn’t a good game to be an attacker, and in Calvert-Lewin (60.1%) and Timo Werner (£9.5m and 21.6%), there were two of the most popular in FPL on display.
The Everton man’s assist made it a second straight week with a return – and only one blank in six matches – for his massive ownership.
But his tough schedule meant more than 152,000 bosses were not around to enjoy it, although transfers in and out are running neck-and-neck heading into Gameweek 13 at present.
Plenty of Werner owners also jumped ship and neither forward offered much prospect of a goal on Saturday night, with just two attempts (none on target) between them.
It was left to Sigurdsson to be the stand-out performer in attack, with two attempts and an impressive six chances created – Zouma, with two, was the next best provider.
Lampard went into the game missing Hakim Ziyech (£8.1m) and Christian Pulisic (£8.2m) with hamstring injuries and he spoke about the problem after it:
Players that are explosive at the top end of the pitch are getting issues. That’s the big picture. It’s frustrating. Every team has big squads. Everybody can pack their benches. Did we miss the wide players today? We did, because they are big players for us.
[Pulisic] had to be left out. He was uncomfortable in training this week and yesterday.
And with Kai Havertz (£8.3m) again looking anonymous, his attacking options are dwindling just as the fixtures are doing the opposite.
It’s now two blanks in three Gameweeks for the Blues and their upcoming schedule (wol, WHU, ars, AVL, MCI) could well mean more of the same.
Everton XI (4-3-2-1): Pickford; Keane, Mina, Holgate, Godfrey; Sigurdsson (Gomes 83), Allan, Doucouré; Richarlison (Kenny 90), Iwobi (Davies 86); Calvert-Lewin.
Chelsea XI (4-3-3): E Mendy; Chilwell, Zouma, T Silva, R James; Mount, Kanté, Kovacic (Gilmour 82); Werner, Giroud, Havertz (Abraham 68).
Lessons learned from FPL Gameweek 12
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