POLITICS

News24.com | Havertz stars as Chelsea sink top-four rivals Everton

Kai Havertz (Getty Images)

Kai Havertz (Getty Images)

Chelsea cemented their grip on fourth place in the Premier League as
Kai Havertz finally delivered an influential display in their vital 2-0
win against top-four rivals Everton on Monday.

Havertz has endured a disappointing first season following his £70 million ($96 million) move from Bayer Leverkusen last year.

But
the Germany midfielder was given a rare start by Chelsea boss Thomas
Tuchel and he responded by playing the key role in both goals at
Stamford Bridge.

Havertz’s shot was deflected into the Everton net for a Ben Godfrey own goal in the first half.

The
21-year-old has not scored in the league since October but Tuchel
entrusted him with an important role as Chelsea’s false nine. His
intelligent movement put him in position to earn the second-half penalty
that Jorginho converted.

“We deserved to win, we controlled it completely,” said Tuchel.

“Second half we increased our level and had a lot of dangerous attacks.

“Very
pleased with Kai. It was the trust we gave him. He used that trust. He
is a player who has all the ability to be a dominant figure in the
attack and he stepped up.”

Chelsea are now four points clear of
fifth-placed Everton, although West Ham would close the gap to two
points if they beat Leeds later on Monday.

The west Londoners are
unbeaten in 11 games in all competitions – winning eight times – since
Tuchel replaced the sacked Frank Lampard in January.

Their
renaissance under Tuchel is a credit to the former Paris Saint-Germain
boss, who is the first manager to see his side keep a clean sheet in
each of his opening five home Premier League games.

On current
form, Chelsea look a good bet to qualify for next season’s Champions
League via a top-four finish, while they still have aspirations to win
this season’s competition after beating Atletico Madrid 1-0 in the last
16 first leg.

“You see the quality of the players. It is a
pleasure to be on the sideline and work with the team. Everybody in the
club is doing everything to compete at this level,” Tuchel said.

Everton’s first away league defeat since November was a significant blow to their hopes of a top-four place.

“We have to be honest, we are not at the same level as Chelsea,” said Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti.

“We cannot play an open game against this kind of team.

“We are looking to fight for Europe. We are disappointed for this defeat but no tragedy.”

Tuchel made five changes from the 1-0 win against Liverpool last Thursday as Havertz and Callum Hudson-Odoi came in.

Making way for Havertz was Mason Mount, whose superb performance and clinical finish had inspired the victory at Anfield.

But Tuchel’s tinkering didn’t unsettle Chelsea and they dominated possession from start to finish.

Revitalised Havertz

Jorginho
twice fired narrowly wide in the opening exchanges and Chelsea’s
pressure was rewarded with a stroke of luck in the 31st minute.

Hudson-Odoi made a purposeful burst in from the left and picked out Marcos Alonso’s run into the Everton area.

Alonso
swiftly whipped a cross towards Havertz and his volley took a wicked
deflection off Godfrey as it flashed past wrong-footed Everton keeper
Jordan Pickford.

The revitalised Havertz turned to fire past
Pickford early in the second half, only to see the goal disallowed by
VAR after he controlled the ball with his arm.

Everton barely
troubled Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy for nearly an hour and even
when Richarlison had a clear sight of goal, the Brazilian slipped and
miscued his shot wide.

Tuchel’s men kept coming in waves and Reece
James blasted just wide from long range before Hudson-Odoi saw his
curling effort pushed over by Pickford.

A second goal looked inevitable and it duly arrived in the 65th minute.

Havertz was clattered by Pickford and Jorginho dispatched the penalty with his customary hop step.

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