Alvaro Morata scored once and set up another as Chelsea eased to victory over Everton on Sunday.
Everton went into the game having not won at Stamford Bridge in the league since 1994 and that run continued as Chelsea eased their way to victory on Sunday.
The visitors’ game plan was clear from the off as they looked to soak up Chelsea’s pressure before hitting the hosts on the counter.
In reality, that never came to pass, Chelsea looked in complete control in the first half.
Alvaro Morata’s movement caused Everton problems all afternoon, whilst Idrissa Gueye’s ability to flash into challenges was severely hampered by an early yellow card.
Willian, who impressed as he spun away from challenges with regularity had the first shot of the game, his effort being deflected away for a corner before David Luiz and Pedro forced Jordan Pickford into saves with low strikes from range.
Pedro then tried to break the deadlock with an audacious overhead kick as he teed himself up from Morata’s pull-back from the right, but his effort was always clearing the crossbar.
There wasn’t a lot of goalmouth action early on in this one but when Chelsea did take the lead after 26 minutes, it came from a finish that oozed quality.
Cesc Fabregas took a quick free kick and found Willian down the right, the Brazilian returned the ball to the Spaniard who then exchanged passes with Morata before stroking the ball past Pîckford and into the far corner with the outside of his boot.
At this point it would have been natural to expect a response from Everton but that didn’t really come, with Gylfi Sigurdsson’s speculative left-footed effort from range Ronald Koeman’s side’s only effort of the first half.
The Blues doubled their lead just five minutes before the break as Alvaro Morata joined Fabregas on the scoresheet.
Referee Jon Moss played a good advantage on the edge of the box and as Kante was crowded out as he looked to get a shot away, he turned and found Azpilicueta. The Spaniard crossed from deep and his ball was perfect for Morata to rise ahead of Pickford and head home to give Antonio conte’s men a two-goal lead at the break.
Chelsea looked to have taken their foot off the gas early in the second half.
A momentary lapse in concentration from the hosts almost allowed Everton a way back into the game after 50 minutes.
The Blues committed too many men forward and Everton managed to counter. Wayne Rooney received the ball in the left channel and drove forward, his reverse pass put Sandro in but the former Malaga man saw his effort blocked by Rudiger.
That chance proved to be an isolated moment of Everton pressure and normal service was soon resumed as Chelsea took control and pressed for a third.
Azpilicueta’s low cross somehow missed everyone before Pedro fired wide of the near post when he may have been better served firing across goal.
Victor Moses fired straight at Jordan Pickford after latching onto a loose ball on the hour mark.
The visitors improved following the introduction of Dominic Calvert-Lewin but they still never looked like creating the sort of clear-cut chance they needed to get back into the game.
Ashley Williams looped an effort onto the roof of the Chelsea net before he should have done better with a flicked header following Sigurdsson’s cross from the right as a competitive game threatened to break out.
Idriss Gueye saw an effort from range tipped over by Courtois as it looked destined for the top corner but Everton’s rally proved to be too little too late.
Tiemoue Bakayoko could have opened his account for the hosts but his fierce effort from the edge of the box was blocked away by the Everton defence.
All in all a very comfortable afternoon’s work for the Premier League champions who will face much bigger challenges as they look to retain their title.