Everton vs Chelsea: Super Diego Costa has manager Jose Mourinho purring as Chelsea slip into overdrive
Everton 3 Chelsea 6: New signing sets the tone with all-action performance in startling team display of attacking play that Chelsea’s manager describes as ‘fantastic’
Saturday 30 August 2014
Park the bus? That’s so last season for Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea. On their last visit to Merseyside in April, they won at Anfield with a smash-and-grab. Here, in the Goodison drizzle, they went on the attack and outpunched Everton in an extraordinary nine-goal slugfest to maintain their 100 per cent winning start to the campaign.
Diego Costa started it all off with the opening goal after 37 seconds and finished it in the final minute, underlining why Mourinho did not hesitate to offload four different strikers when bringing in the Spanish international for £32m from Atletico Madrid in the summer.
One of the forwards who left Stamford Bridge – Samuel Eto’o – came off the bench to score a debut goal but that was a mere footnote during a breathless second half when two teams traded blows – with five goals scored in one mad 10-minute spell – and Chelsea came out on top.
“We were killers in attack, especially counterattacks,” said Mourinho of this new, all-guns-blazing Chelsea. “The quality of our football was fantastic – every time we had the ball we were aggressive, we were dangerous. We were very, very good with the ball.”
And they had in Costa a player who has four goals from three Chelsea starts. “Diego is maybe the best player in the Premier League in the first three matches,” said Mourinho of the striker who started the goalrush when Cesc Fabregas picked out his diagonal run behind Sylvain Distin.
With Everton defenders appealing for offside, he shot through the legs of Howard. Everton had conceded two late goals to surrender a two-goal lead against Arsenal last weekend and here they had not even puffed their cheeks before they were two goals down as Ramires played in Branislav Ivanovic who shot low past Howard.
Replays showed the Chelsea man was offside, though the next big call did go the way of the shellshocked home side with Howard lucky to avoid being penalised when he caught a through ball in the D of his penalty box.
It was on a Saturday evening last September that Roberto Martinez’s reign as Everton manager gained lift-off with victory over Chelsea but today was a sobering experience for the Spaniard,. Everton have conceded ten goals in three games. He said: “We were too soft with our defending.’’
What they did have was a refusal to lie down. Romelu Lukaku, starting against his old club for the first time, almost threw Everton a lifeline after 16 minutes when he thumped a header against the crossbar. Sylvain Distin was offside as he bundled the loose ball in. Yet on the stroke of half-time, Mirallas did find the net as he beat Gary Cahill to Seamus Coleman’s cross.
That hope was nearly extinguished early in the second half when Phil Jagielka gave the ball away to Fabregas and Ramires put Costa clear but this time Howard made the save.
Chelsea did get their third after 67 minutes when Eden Hazard dribbled into the box and his low ball was deflected in by Coleman. It was the cue for Costa to make a beeline for the Everton man. Costa had been booked for shoving Coleman and now had words with the Irishman as he sat on the turf. It was ungracious and sparked a furious reaction from Howard, who earned a booking.
Mourinho accused “some Everton players of trying to create problems for Diego”, but Martinez responded pointedly: “I think there are certain foreign players who when they come to the Premier League need to understand the ethics. It is a completely different culture, and the last thing you want to be is disrespectful to another player even if he is in the opposing team.”
What followed after Coleman’s own goal was a remarkable spell of scoring. Steven Naismith poked in from an Aiden McGeady through-ball. Matic fired in off a post. Then Eto’o nodded a free-kick past Courtois. At 3-4, Goodison roared again but not for long. Sixty seconds later Ramires shot across Howard and into the Park End net. There was still time for Mirallas to hit a post before Costa rounded off the scoring after Muhamed Besic gave the ball away.
It was astonishing stuff. “I prefer to win 6-0,” added Mourinho, before highlighting once more the work of Costa. “In the first half he was tackling Coleman on the edge of our box. He recovered balls, he held the ball up, he was aggressive, he was face to face with Howard three times and scored two goals.” Mourinho has Loïc Rémy arriving to boost his attack after the departures of Fernando Torres, Demba Ba, Lukaku and Eto’o. It is Costa, though, who has already given them a new dimension. And, as if these goals were not enough, Chelsea also expect to complete the signing of Loic Rémy tomorrow.
Everton (4-2-3-1): Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; McCarthy, Barry; McGeady (Eto’o, 70), Naismith, Mirallas; Lukaku (Besic, 89).
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Ramires, Matic; Willian (Mikel, 75), Fabregas (Drogba, 89), Hazard (Filipe Luis, 83); Costa.
Referee: Jon Moss.
Man of the match: Matic (Chelsea).
Match rating: 8/10.
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