LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND (REUTERS) – A first-half penalty from Iceland international Gylfi Sigurdsson gave Everton a hard-fought 1-0 Premier League win over Chelsea in front of 2,000 delighted fans at a chilly Goodison Park on Saturday (Dec 12).
The home side went ahead in the 22nd minute when Dominic Calvert-Lewin was brought down in the box by Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy, and Sigurdsson stepped up to stroke home the spot kick.
Chelsea fullback Reese James did his best to get his side back into the game minutes later when he forced a superb save from Jordan Pickford with a free kick and then hit the post with a low drive from the resulting corner.
Pickford mixed some superb goalkeeping with some questionable decisions, and he presented Chelsea with a chance to equalise early in the second half after rushing out to punch clear, but Mason Mount’s lob bounced on to the top of the net.
The visitors dominated possession without creating much in the way of goal-scoring chances and Everton seemed content to try to punish them on the break while keeping plenty of men behind the ball.
Chelsea hit the woodwork for a second time from a Mount free kick as their normally potent attack misfired on Merseyside, and that was as close as they got to scoring as Everton hung on doggedly to win.
“It was a tough one, not going to lie but we had to defend until the last second. A very important three points for us,” goal-scorer Sigurdsson told broadcaster BT Sport.
“Against a team like Chelsea, they are good going forward and move the ball really well. We have done some work on our defensive shape during the week and it worked,” he added.
Everton move up to seventh in the table on 20 points while Chelsea, who could have gone top with a win, remain in third on 22 points, two behind Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool.