EPL

Chelsea 1-1 Everton: Branthwaite prevents Blues from slashing gap to City

By Sports Desk December 16, 2021

Chelsea missed the chance to pressurise Premier League leaders Manchester City as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Everton.

Amid a dominant display at Stamford Bridge, Mason Mount put the hosts in front 20 minutes from time with his seventh goal of the season.

But despite missing several key players, Everton responded just four minutes later with Jarrad Branthwaite's maiden Premier League strike earning a share of the spoils.

Thomas Tuchel's men now trail City by four points, as they spurned the opportunity to close the gap.

Chelsea were unbeaten in their previous 26 home Premier League matches against Everton and dominated the first half with a staggering 81.1 per cent of the possession.

But they struggled to convert that control into goals.

Reece James shot wide after latching onto Jorginho's precise throughball, while the in-form Mount and Christian Pulisic also went close for the hosts, who had 13 shots to Everton's two before the break.

Fresh from scoring three goals in as many league games, Mount created another great opportunity in the 36th minute and forced Jordan Pickford into a reflex save from close range.

But there was no denying Mount as Chelsea finally made the breakthrough; the midfielder latching onto James' pass before slotting past Pickford.

Nevertheless, Everton did not trail for long as Branthwaite met Anthony Gordon's deep free-kick with an outstretched leg to divert past Edouard Mendy.

Chelsea almost regained the lead when Thiago Silva's header was saved well by Pickford, but they were forced to settle for a point.

 

What does it mean? A chance missed for Chelsea

The Blues have now won just one of their past four league games at Stamford Bridge, and will be disappointed not to have capitalised on their dominance in possession.

Meanwhile, Rafael Benitez will be thrilled with the character of his injury-hit side, who ended a run of four straight defeats on the road.

History for Mount

Despite Chelsea's disappointment, Mount continued his impressive run of form in front of goal.

Indeed, the England international found the net for a fourth successive Premier League match, becoming the youngest Blues player to do so.

He also registered game-high tallies of six shots and four on target.

Pickford to the rescue

Chelsea were only able to convert one of their 10 shots on target during the contest, thanks to the heroics of Pickford.

Everton's busiest player throughout the 90 minutes with 49 touches and 34 passes – both the highest tallies of any visiting player – the England goalkeeper made nine saves to keep the hosts at bay.

What's next?

Chelsea will look to respond and get back to winning ways on Sunday, when they travel to Molineux to face Wolves. Following the postponement of Everton's clash with Leicester City, the Toffees are back in action away to Burnley on Boxing Day.

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