As the Blues welcome Everton to Stamford Bridge this Sunday lunchtime, we have a look back at a classic Premier League encounter between the pair from 2014, in what was the joint-seventh highest goal-scoring game of Premier League history.
Chelsea came into the game off two back-to-to wins from their opening league games, whereas Everton had an underwhelming start, only picking up two points at the early stage of the campaign. Even at this stage of the season, it was clear that José Mourinho’s team were beginning to fire on all cylinders, with their newly purchased Spanish double act of Cesc Fàbregas and Diego Costa opening the season with all guns blazing.
This game opened in likewise fashion. It took a mere 35 seconds for the Brazilian-born Costa to fire home past Tim Howard, latching onto a Fàbregas through ball – a sight that Blues fans would become delightfully accustomed to throughout the 14/15 season. Barely moments later, and Chelsea found themselves 2-0 thanks to a Branislav Ivanović drive. 2-0 up after there minutes, this was unheard of for a Chelsea side so often accused of being negative, conserved and experts in parking buses.
Howard tried his best to get himself sent off by attempting to catch the ball outside of the area, the incident alarmingly going unnoticed by match officials, and the Toffees were able to claw their way back into the game. On the stroke of half-time, a Kevin Mirallas header gifted Everton a lifeline through a deft header. 2-1 at half-time, a normal scoreline and the match largely going the way expected.
The first 20 minutes of the second half passed, and then the game cannonballed into life with five goals in 11 minutes. After a dart down the left-hand side of the pitch, Eden Hazard was able to cut inside onto his favoured right foot and fire in a shot, which took a serious deflection off Seamus Coleman and managed to squirm its way under Howard. Costa, now firmly established as the Premier League’s pantomime villain, enraged Howard and the home fans through his celebrations.
From here, all carnage broke loose with goals becoming the norm at both ends. Steven Naismith, a player who seemed to always find the back of the net against the Blues, drove home an emphatic finish, before a lumbering Nemanja Matić clobbered home a rare goal with the help of another deflection. But, quicker than Thibaut Courtois saying yes to a Real Madrid approach, former Blue Samuel Eto’o drew Everton back to within a one-goal deficit, a delightful header from the Cameroonian.
With the score at 4-3, and both teams’ defences continuing to abandon all responsibility, Chelsea were able to consolidate their advantage, as Ramires prodded home following some delightful build up. 5-3, and even after a game of such thrills and entertainment, Diego Costa was still able to get the last laugh to bag Chelsea’s 6th, latching on to a Jon Obi Mikel backheel (yes, you read that correctly).
Mourinho claimed that he didn’t enjoy the game, and whilst the Chelsea defence did leave a lot to be desired on the day, this game proved to be a great foreshadowing of the blistering Chelsea attack that would take the Premier League by storm in the season to come. The swashbuckling centre-forward play of Diego Costa, complemented by the majesty and poise of Fabregas, with the electricity of Hazard all coming together in what would be a precursor for the Blues, as they went onto lift their fourth Premier League crown in May.