Everton 2-0 Chelsea: 3 Blues who let the side down

Everton FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League
Everton FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

Given their recent challenges, Chelsea's 2-0 defeat to Everton on Sunday was unsurprising. Although the performance showed improvement compared to the match at Old Trafford against Manchester United, it fell short of what's required to defeat a Premier League team. Chelsea's struggles against low blocks over the past few years made it easier for Everton to secure victory. In Sean Dyche, Everton had the ideal tactician to implement a game plan tailored to exploit Chelsea's vulnerabilities.

Here are three blues that let the team down.

1. Reece James

Blaming James for his injury isn't fair, but hamstring issues have plagued him for quite some time. Last season, he had the chance to undergo surgery before the off-season when he was injured but opted not to. Despite a well-managed preseason under Pochettino, he succumbed to another injury against Liverpool in the season opener.

After a short period away, James returned to the field, featuring in multiple matches. However, with a renewed hamstring injury on Sunday, he now confronts a spell on the sidelines. The decision not to proceed with surgery earlier, when it wouldn't have impacted Chelsea, now raises questions about James and the medical team's decision-making. Unfortunately, Malo Gusto, his replacement, is also sidelined, emphasizing the need for improvements in the medical team to enhance injury management and prevention.

2. Mauricio Pochettino

Identifying significant improvement in Chelsea's performance under the Argentine manager proves to be a challenging task. In the face of injury setbacks, it is incumbent upon the manager to not only mitigate their impact but also elevate the team's performance by devising strategic plans tailored to the available squad for upcoming matches. Unfortunately, Pochettino has struggled to steer Chelsea in the right direction. His players have visibly grappled with low blocks this season, and despite knowing Everton's predictable setup, Pochettino's tactics lacked the answers needed for Chelsea to secure, at the very least, a draw.

Pochettino is facing increasing challenges. Despite expressing the need for January signings to enhance the team, scrutiny must extend to his utilization of the current players and the strategy for those out on loan. The existing squad is already ample, prompting questions about the effectiveness of his management and plans for the players at his disposal.

3. Armando Broja

Except for a handful of players, the majority failed to leave a mark for Chelsea at Goodison Park. Many of those who featured have accumulated a considerable number of appearances or are poised to do so, often due to injuries to other players. However, Broja, among them, had the most significant chance to solidify his position as the team's striker for the next few weeks. Unfortunately, he fell short of proving his worth during this crucial opportunity.

While Broja executed the fundamental aspects adequately, the nuances that set an elite striker apart were notably absent. Top strikers differentiate themselves through crucial passes, flicks, and skillful touches, particularly in or around the penalty box.
Despite chances created by players like Mykhailo Mudryk and Cole Palmer, Broja's lack of top-tier center-forward instincts led to missed opportunities that Chelsea could have capitalized upon.

While Christopher Nkunku is still working on attaining full fitness, Chelsea encounters a formidable challenge in scoring goals, relying on Broja and Nicolas Jackson. Even if the former RB Leipzig player becomes available, it will take time for him to achieve match fitness. The team's current poor form adds additional pressure, and there is no guarantee that fans will witness the goal-scoring prowess he displayed for his former team.