Saturday, September 12

Everton 3-1 Chelsea: Naismith hat-trick piles more pressure on Mourinho

Chelsea's start to the defence of their Premier League title went from bad to worse as they were beaten 3-1 at Goodison Park by a Steven Naismith's hat-trick for Everton.

The Scottish forward broke the deadlock with a header in the 17th minute and followed it up with a second just five minutes later, taking advantage of slack defending from Branislav Ivanovic to bury a low shot past Asmir Begovic.

Jose Mourinho's side got back into the game through Nemanja Matic's thumping 35-yard goal shortly before half-time but could not summon many genuine chances for an equaliser, with failed summer transfer target John Stones leading a fine defensive performance by the Toffees.

And Naismith punished thoughts of a comeback when he completed his treble late in the game, picking up on a through-ball from Ross Barkley before firing home.

It left Mourinho to reflect on a third loss in five Premier League outings this season - the same number that Chelsea suffered in the whole of the last campaign.

Muhamed Besic's return to Martinez's starting XI did not last long as he was forced off with what looked to be a hamstring problem after just nine minutes, with Naismith replacing him.

Naismith did not need long to make an impact. His clever turn gave him the space to pick out Brendan Galloway's run and the 28-year-old burst through the centre of Chelsea's defence to head home the cross in the 17th minute.

The visitors had Begovic - in for the injured Thibaut Courtois - to thank for preventing the home side from doubling their lead immediately afterwards as he produced two superb saves in quick succession, first clawing away Arouna Kone's point-blank header before diving to his right to deny James McCarthy from distance.

But Begovic could do nothing to stop Naismith from adding to his tally as he arrowed a fine left-footed strike into the far corner from 20 yards not long afterwards.

Chelsea then carved out their first real opportunity as Cesar Azpilicueta sprung the offside trap only for Stones to race across to block his effort.

Mourinho's side continued to struggle against an organised Everton defence but Matic got them back into the game with a spectacular 30-yard drive that bent away from the despairing Tim Howard.

Eden Hazard almost levelled before half-time, his shot deflecting narrowly wide after good work from Diego Costa, before John Terry powered a header just over the bar.

The second half began in scrappy style but Romelu Lukaku spurned a good chance to double Everton's lead when he fired straight at Begovic from inside the box, with John Terry perhaps lucky to avoid conceding a free-kick after nudging the ball into the keeper's hands.

Kone stung the hands of Begovic with another effort before Chelsea saw Pedro's penalty appeals waved away a coming-together with Naismith and Lukaku was once again denied by a good Begovic stop.

Costa wasted Chelsea's best chance of an equaliser when he dawdled on the ball inside the area and allowed Phil Jagielka to time his recovery tackle perfectly, with Everton content to play on the counter as the visitors' poured men into attack, with Lukaku again wasting an opening with an overhit cross.

Mourinho threw on Kenedy, Radamel Falcao and Willian in an effort to find an equaliser, but Everton secured their second win of the league season as Naismith latched onto Barkley's clever through-ball before firing low under Begovic to complete his hat-trick with eight minutes left.


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