In-form Chelsea turned on the style at Stamford Bridge as they trashed Everton 5-0 to make it five wins on the bounce in the Premier League and climbed to the top of the table in the process.
The Blues looked dominant throughout to maintain their impressive run of form, particularly in the first half when Eden Hazard, Marcos Alonso and Diego Costa all netted against a sorry visiting side, who had boasted the division’s second-best defensive record prior to this mauling.
Two more goals arrived after the restart – Hazard adding his second and Pedro also joining the growing list of scorers, as the Blues made it 16 goals scored and none conceded in this dominant streak of form since switching formation.
Even before edging ahead, Chelsea completely controlled possession against an Everton side struggling to get to terms with a temporary five-at-the-back system, which was designed to match the dominant Blues across the field.
That proved to be far from the case, though, as Hazard cut in from the left and rifled a shot into the far corner to open the scoring from the hosts’ first attempt 19 minutes in, although there was a shout for offside as Pedro – who looked to be an inch the wrong side of his man – was in the view of the Netherlands stopper.
Chelsea fans were made to wait just 70 seconds for the second, with Everton losing possession from kickoff which allowed their opponents to quickly swarm forward – Pedro’s overhit pass finding Alonso who buried the ball through the body of Maarten Stekelenburg to open his own account for the Blues and put his side well on their way to another victory.
The game had developed a familiar theme by this quarter-way point, though Ronald Koeman will argue that his side – despite struggling to get a foot on the ball – did not deserve to be two down from the opening two shots of the game.
It was to get worse before it got any better for the Toffees, though, as Costa volleyed home from a corner following Nemanja Matic’s flick-on, soon after Victor Moses had himself blasted a shot against the frame of the goal from close range.
Costa should have made sure of the points for good on the brink of half time when beating Phil Jagielka – one of three Everton changes today – for pace, only to direct his shot wide of goal with just Stekelenburg to beat.
Koeman had already brought on Kevin Mirallas for Bryan Oviedo prior to the West London outfit’s third, in turn altering Everton’s formation to one more suited to his side, with the visitors failing to register a shot of any note in a dismal first-half showing.
Everton were evidently missing key midfield enforcer Idrissa Gueye, suspended this evening due to the accumulation of five yellows, as Matic twice charged through midfield to slot in Costa.
Costa could not capitalise on those occasions but Hazard – who had never previously scored in four-successive games in his senior career – did soon after when latching on to a Pedro back-heel, driving into the box and picking out the bottom corner with Stekelenburg rooted to the spot.
Number five did not take too long to arrive, this time the roles being reversed as Hazard’s shot turned into an assist as Pedro tapped home the rebound from a few yards out – that goal taking Chelsea above all others in terms of the division’s top-scorers.
Mirallas’s glanced header 71 minutes in proved to the the Merseyside club’s only attempt of any note all match, with Everton desperate for the full-time whistle after shipping five in a game for the first time since August 2014 when losing to Chelsea.
Moses did have an attempt kept out late on but the chances largely dried up to Everton’s relief, with their winless run at Stamford Bridge now stretching to a 22nd game, while the Blues have won five in a row in a single season for the first time since January 2014.
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