Chelsea click into gear, James takes Everton top

By: AFP      Published: 09:55 PM, 3 Oct, 2020
Chelsea click into gear, James takes Everton top

Chelsea's heavy investment in the transfer market began to bear fruit as they thrashed Crystal Palace 4-0, while James Rodriguez guided Everton to the top of the Premier League by scoring twice in a 4-2 win over Brighton on Saturday.

Frank Lampard has asked for patience after Chelsea's £220 million splurge in the market ($285 million), but the pressure was on the Blues to respond after a disappointing 3-3 draw at newly-promoted West Brom and a League Cup exit to a much-changed Tottenham in the past week.

For the first time Lampard was able to field five of his new signings as Edouard Mendy and Ben Chilwell made their Premier League debuts with Thiago Silva, Kai Havertz and Timo Werner also starting.

Chilwell had the biggest impact as he opened the floodgates with a thunderous strike at the far post five minutes into the second-half before his cross teed up Kurt Zouma to double Chelsea's lead.

What should have been a routine win for the hosts did not go without controversy as Jorginho then slotted home two penalties after Tammy Abraham and Havertz had been felled inside the area.

However, for the second spot-kick, captain Cesar Azpilicueta had to intervene to take the ball off Abraham with the England striker desperate to get on the scoresheet.

"If Tammy wanted to take it because he wants a goal or whatever it was then he can get put in his place a little bit," Lampard said.

"I appreciate his eagerness because his performance deserved a goal but the rules are you don't jump up ahead of the list at any moment."

Maximum points on Merseyside 

Everton will head into the Merseyside derby against Liverpool after the international break with maximum points from their first four games as James again shone for Carlo Ancelotti's men.

The Toffees also have the Premier League's form striker in their armoury as Dominic Calvert-Lewin opened the scoring by heading home his ninth goal of the season to celebrate his first ever call-up to the England squad.

Jordan Pickford remains England's number one at the other end, but the Everton goalkeeper's howler let Brighton back into the game as he dropped Leandro Trossard's weak effort right at the feet of Neal Maupay, who turned home an equaliser.

The home side quickly responded to retake the lead before half-time as James's free-kick was headed home by Colombian international teammate Yerry Mina.

The former Real Madrid midfielder then took centre-stage after the break as he swept home Alex Iwobi's low cross before tapping into an empty net on his weaker right foot 20 minutes from time.

Yves Bissouma pulled a late goal back but it was too little, too late for Graham Potter's men.

Everton's victory leaves Manchester City already nine points off the top of the table, but Pep Guardiola will be hoping to bounce back from last weekend's embarrassing 5-2 home defeat to Leicester against one of his mentors, Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa, later on Saturday.