Chelsea beat Everton to bolster top-four spot, extend Tuchel’s unbeaten streak

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Chelsea beat Everton to bolster top-four spot

Chelsea beat top-four rivals Everton at Stamford Bridge on Monday to tighten their grip on fourth place in the Premier League and extend Thomas Tuchel’s unbeaten streak since becoming manager to 11 matches.

Blues boss Tuchel, who came into the match having won seven and drawn three since taking over for Frank Lampard, handed a start to fit-again Kai Havertz, while U.S. international Christian Pulisic once again did not make the XI.

Callum Hudson-Odoi’s stellar first-half play led to Chelsea’s opener when he sprang Marcos Alonso in the penalty area to square to Havertz for a shot that deflected off Ben Godfrey and into the net for an Everton own goal.

Alonso was in on goal again before half-time with a stellar chance to double the home side’s lead, but Everton keeper Jordan Pickford made a great reaction save on the Spaniard’s snap shot and Chelsea settled for a 1-0 lead at the break.

Jorginho doubled Chelsea’s lead with a penalty kick in the 65th minute, sending Pickford the wrong way after the Everton keeper hauled down Havertz in the area to gift the hosts a chance from the spot.

The result leaves Chelsea, who have kept nine clean sheets since Tuchel took the job, on 50 points from 28 matches, four ahead of fifth-placed Everton and three behind third-placed Leicester City.

Monday’s shut-out meant Tuchel became the first manager to secure clean sheets in each of his first five Premier League home games.

Tuchel heaped praise on Havertz, who was laid low by COVID-19 in November and was then used mostly as a substitute before picking up an injury last month.

“It was the trust we gave him and he used the trust we gave him. He is a player who has all the ability to be a dominant figure in the offence and he stepped up,” Tuchel said.