We must change how we approach games, Chelsea boss Sarri says


We must change how we approach games, Chelsea boss Sarri says

In Summary

  • Sarri's Blues had the better chances at Stamford Bridge but missed the opportunity to briefly return to the top of the Premier League.
  • However, the result means Chelsea have now stayed unbeaten in their opening 12 top-flight games for only the second time in their history.

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri says his side need to “sort out the problem” of how they “approach” games after they were held to a scrappy goalless draw by Everton.

Sarri’s Blues had the better chances at Stamford Bridge but missed the opportunity to briefly return to the top of the Premier League.

“I think we have to sort out the problem of the approach of the match,” said Sarri. “Because in the last two or three matches we haven’t been approaching the games right.

“At the beginning we moved the ball too slowly, so it is easy for the opposition to defend and impossible for us to be dangerous.”

However, the result means Chelsea have now stayed unbeaten in their opening 12 top-flight games for only the second time in their history.

It also secured a small piece of history for Sarri himself, who has become the first Premier League manager to avoid defeat in their first dozen games.

A fractious first half saw five players booked before the break, including a flashpoint between Antonio Rudiger and Bernard which saw both players booked – though replays suggested the Everton man had aimed a headbutt at the home defender.

And in what was at times a subdued and disjointed game, the clearest chances fell to Marcos Alonso, who saw a volley saved by Pickford, before hitting the post late on.

After leaders Manchester City won Sunday’s Manchester derby, Chelsea are third in the table – four points off top spot and two points behind Liverpool, who beat Fulham 2-0 at Anfield.

Everton remain in ninth, but played their part in west London, with Icelandic playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson forcing a smart save from Kepa Arrizabalaga on the hour.

However, their wait for a Premier League win at Chelsea now extends to 24 matches over as many years.

Chelsea, who were armed with the fit-again Eden Hazard in their starting XI, introduced ex-Everton midfielder Ross Barkley from the bench for the closing stages.

But he was ultimately unable to make a telling impact in his 10 minutes or so on the pitch as the match fizzled out to a stalemate.

Sarri’s Blues seemed subdued when the game got under way and took time to find their stride, even with the lift of Hazard’s return.

Prior to the latest round of matches, no player had been involved in more Premier League goals this season than the Belgian, who has scored seven and had four assists.

In one of his and Chelsea’s brightest moments of the match – straight from the start of the second half – he was unlucky to not add to that tally when Morata squeezed between Everton’s central defenders to connect with Hazard’s cross, only for Pickford to save.

On balance, the hosts can probably feel these are two points dropped, but perhaps they can take some comfort in maintaining their unbeaten record.

The last time they avoided defeat in their first 12 Premier League games was in 2014-15 – when they went on to lift the title.

Everton building momentum

Marco Silva’s Merseysiders will not be unhappy with their afternoon’s work, and go into this month’s international break having lost just one of their last six league games.

Silva will also surely be pleased with the performance of Colombian summer signing Yerry Mina on his full debut.

The £27m man came into the side for loanee Kurt Zouma, who was ineligible to play against his parent club, and marshalled the visitors’ defence with the poise of a player making his 100th start.

And while Pickford’s efforts in goal were impressive and worthy of special praise, Everton were not sliced apart by Sarri’s title hopefuls, with impressive showings across their back-line.

Silva’s side could even have snatched all three points to end a 28-year wait for a win at Stamford Bridge when Bernard was played in a little more than six yards from goal, only to stumble and mis-hit his effort.

 

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