Super substitute Steven Naismith's perfect hat-trick gives Everton 3-1 win over Chelsea
Everton’s Steven Naismith started the match on the bench. He finished it a hero as he scored a perfect hat-trick – one goal each with his right foot, left foot and head – to give the Merseyside club a 3-1 win over Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea side. Roberto Martinez hadn’t even intended to start him until an injury forced the substitution. Nemanja Matic scored a consolation goal in the first half to make it 2-1, but a poor performance from the London side saw the defending champions fall further behind in the title race.
Everton (4-3-3): Howard; Coleman, Jagielka (C), Stones, Galloway; Barry, McCarthy, Besic; Barkley, Kone, Lukaku
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Begovic; Ivanovic, Zouma, Terry (C), Azpilicueta; Mikel, Matic; Pedro, Fabregas, Hazard; Diego Costa
First Half: Surprise substitute Naismith makes the difference
Chelsea almost got going in the early moments in the game when Eden Hazard released Branislav Ivanovic. But his cross was caught by Tim Howard. Galloway then released Muhamed Besic but his cross was cleared for a corner by Kurt Zouma.
Besic was injured in the tackle, banging the ground in frustration and went off the field for treatment. The referee took a while to allow Besic back on, much to the consternation of the home crowd. But he had to come off five minutes later as he couldn’t continue, with Steven Naismith coming on for the Bosnian midfielder.
Hazard started on the right with Pedro on the left and Fabregas in the middle playing the no.10 role. John Obi Mikel, in only his seventh start since the start of the 2014/15 season, sat behind them alongside Nemanja Matic.
Naismith then made his presence count. He had scored in this fixture before and he did it again in the 16th minute. Playing a one-two with Galloway, the Scottish forward headed in a sublime cross from the edge of the six-yard box past Asmir Begovic to give the Merseyside club the lead. Arouna Kone almost doubled the lead again with a header on target, but Begovic was quick to get a hand to it and deflect it for a corner.
But before Chelsea could recover, a good spell of meaningful possession from Everton saw Naismith make it 2-0 in the 22nd minute with a diagonal shot from outside the box. The shot from the left beat the outstretched arms of Begovic as his dive proved futile when the ball went into the bottom right corner.
With 10 minutes to go in the first half, Nemanja Matic came up with a screamer from 30 yards out to make it 2-1. The Serbian midfielder received the ball in acres of space and took a shot with no pressure from the defence and the strike went into the left top corner, leaving Howard with no chance to make a save.
Chelsea ended the half the stronger of the two sides with more chances than Everton. Diego Costa, Hazard, Ivanovic and Pedro had chances to score but their attempted shots were either off target or blocked.
Half-time: Everton 2-1 Chelsea
Second half: Naismith completes his hat-trick
The second half did not start as lively as the first. It started with a number of fouls from both sides and Kurt Zouma also went down after a foul from Gareth Barry. John Stones, a Chelsea target throughout the summer, missed a header when he tried to head in Ross Barkley’s cross with the ball going over the crossbar.
10 minutes into the half, Jose Mourinho then took off John Obi Mikel for Kenedy to provide an attacking impetus. He also had a shot on goal but it was wide of the target.
There was a moment of controversy when it looked like Begovic and John Terry were involved in a back-pass under pressure from Romelu Lukaku. As Everton players and the fans protested, Andre Marriner did not give it and allowed play to go on.
Lukaku had a decent attempt on goal in the 67th minute but Begovic got down well to make the save. With Chelsea still down 2-1, Mourinho introduced Radamel Falcao in the 69th minute for Pedro.
Chelsea had their first real attempt to score when they had the opportunity to counter. Branislav Ivanovic, in the centre for this attack, found Diego Costa on the left but the Brazilian-born Spanish striker fluffed his chance with James McCarthy cleaning up.
Roberto Martinez then brought on Aaron Lennon who replaced Kone in the 72nd minute, possibly with the idea of pressurizing Ivanovic on the left flank. Mourinho responded a minute later by taking off Cesc Fabregas and brought on Willian to protect the Serbian right-back. Seamus Coleman then suffered an injury and came off for deadline day signing Ramiro Funes Mori, who was making his Everton debut.
Naismith then completed his hat-trick to make it 3-1 after a fantastic team move involving Lennon and Barkley with Barkley providing the assist. His through ball found Naismith making a run into the box on the right and the Scottish forward controlled the ball before firing a low shot through Begovic into the left bottom corner.
The match turned a little sour soon after as players went into the referee’s book for fouls. John Stones was shown a yellow card for a foul on Kenedy before Cesar Azpilicueta and Diego Costa were booked as well.
With four minutes added on, Chelsea were unable to create any opportunities to give Everton all three points and Mourinho’s second defeat of the season. It was also the second consecutive defeat for Mourinho for only the second time in his career.