Everton boosted their hopes of Premier League survival as Richarlison’s second-half strike secured a crucial 1-0 victory over Chelsea at Goodison Park.
Following Burnley’s comeback victory against Watford on Saturday, the pressure was firmly on Frank Lampard’s side, and the importance of the game was shown by the scenes around the ground before kick-off as Everton fans lined the streets to greet their side’s arrival.
The electric atmosphere continued inside Goodison Park, and after a goalless first half in which Everton had the better of the play, they eventually broke the deadlock very early after the break through Richarlison’s strike (46).
It was not all plain sailing for Everton and they needed Jordan Pickford to make not one, but two stunning saves as he denied Cesar Azpilicuta with a save-of-the-season contender before blocking Antonio Rudiger’s goal-bound effort.
Everton came under late pressure as Chelsea pushed for an equaliser, but the Blues were denied again by Pickford, who kept out Mateo Kovacic’s low strike as Lampard’s side, urged over the line by the home fans, held on to move two points behind Leeds and Burnley, with a game in hand.
What a win for Everton. A performance of character.
Meanwhile, defeat still leaves Chelsea, who stay third, with work to do to wrap up a top-four finish.
Full match report to follow…
Sky Sports’ Jamie Redknapp:
“It’s an absolutely incredible win for Everton. They were running out of lifelines.
“I think Frank Lampard would have certainly taken a point before the game but they were waiting for that one moment.
“That will so good and Lampard will now know how important that home form is with Brentford and Crystal Palace to come at Goodison Park.”
Everton’s next clash is a trip to Leicester City, before their crucial game in hand away at Watford on May 11. Frank Lampard’s side end the season with home games against Brentford and Crystal Palace and then go to Arsenal on the final day of the season.
Chelsea host Wolves next weekend, before travelling to Leeds on May 11, live on Sky Sports, in their final match before their FA Cup final with Liverpool a few days later. The Blues then have home games against Leicester and Watford to end the season.