Chelsea were held to a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge by Everton on Sunday, maintaining their unbeaten start to the league season but losing ground to fellow title-chasers Liverpool.
Chelsea needed three points after Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Fulham earlier in the day, but could not make their home advantage count against a well-organised Everton side.
They failed to score for only the second time in the league this season.
After a scrappy and ill-tempered first half, Chelsea improved but were unable to convert their gaol scoring chances.
The result saw Chelsea’s Italian coach Maurizio Sarri set a new record for the longest unbeaten run by a new English Premier League manager after 12 games.
Yet the Italian, who joined Chelsea in the summer from Napoli, saw little reason to celebrate despite his pride at achieving the landmark.
“I am really very proud about it. I know very well that I have to say `thank you’ to the club because they gave me a very good squad. I have to say `thank you’ to my players first of all and finally I have to say `thank you’ to my staff,” said Sarri.
“But, of course, I prefer the three points today (Sunday) than the record.”
Sarri was worried that Chelsea were struggling to create goal scoring chances, in spite of dominating possession in recent games.
“In the last three matches, we created few goal opportunities in relation to how much we played. So, in this moment, maybe it’s a little problem,” he said.
But he praised Chelsea’s performance for much of Sunday’s game.
Everton’s England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford produced a fine save from a Marcos Alonso volley in the first half.
And he went on to prevent Alvaro Morata from opening the scoring immediately after the restart with a dive to his right.
Alonso hit the post in the 65th minute as Chelsea applied more pressure but were ultimately unable to break Everton down.
The result left Chelsea in third place on 28 points, two points behind Liverpool and four behind champions Manchester City who beat local rivals Manchester United 3-1 later on Sunday.
Everton coach Marco Silva praised his side for snuffing out Chelsea’s creativity.
He however made it clear he expected more from his strikers who squandered the few opportunities that came their way.
“I think we did a good step. We could do better in the future. I think we are creating the conditions to challenge more and more teams like Chelsea,” Silva said.(Reuters/NAN)