They have not been in great form recently, but Everton came out victors over Chelsea in a fixture between two of the league’s most unpredictable sides.
Chelsea were in good form heading into the match on Sunday and looked the most likely to open the scoring after raining a barrage of shots onto Everton’s goal.
Eden Hazard was the first to test, after skilfully manoeuvring his way into the box and unleashing a powerful low-driven shot into Pickford’s near-post, but England’s no.1 was equal to it.
A minute later the Belgian found himself in another dangerous position, this time striking the post after a trademark inside run, and his effort was shortly followed by Gonzalo Higuain, who was unlucky to find an in-form Pickford (and Michael Keane) stood between him and the goal.
Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin had an opportunity to snatch a goal but crumbled under the pressure and ballooned his effort well over the bar after 16 minutes.
Chelsea were back up the field again and nearly saw their new recruits Jorginho and Higuain linking up to create a beautiful goal, only to be denied by the well-positioned Pickford.
Calvert-Lewin was gifted another chance before half-time but guided his free header well wide of the target after a well-placed Sigurdsson free-kick.
Everton returned from changing rooms a different side and saw responded well to Chelsea’s first-half dominance with a goal of their own through Richarlison, the Brazilian reacting well to finish a rebound after some scrappy keeping from Kepa.
In contrast, Pickford came up trumps again denying Gonzalo Higuain from finding the goal, and before the visitors knew it they were behind again after a lazy Marcos Alonso tackle gifted Everton a penalty.
Sigurdsson failed to score on his first attempt from 12-yards but converted at the second time of asking from close range when Kepa parried the ball into his path.
Idrissa Gueye was in phenomenal defensive form and was deservedly given the Man of the Match award for his efforts, but fans will not be forgetting about the scintillating performance from Jordan Pickford anytime soon.
The former Sunderland man has not had it easy in recent weeks – with some fairly poor performances drawing strong criticism from commentators and fans alike – however, he was back to his best on Sunday denying Chelsea, and especially Higuain, at every opportunity.
“We showed great attitude and character in the second half, but we could have been behind at half-time but for Jordan Pickford,” Marco Silva said (as per The Guardian).
This is exactly the kind of boost Pickford needs heading into the final stages of the season.
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