5 things we reflected on after Everton 3-1 Chelsea
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Naismith loves playing Chelsea
The Scottish attacker wasn't even in the starting XI, but he still left the ground with the matchball. An unfortunate injury to Muhamed Besic gave Steven Naismith his opportunity and it's fair to say that he took it. He arrived from the bench in the ninth minute and instantly changed the match, although not because Everton hadn't enjoyed the better of the play to that point. Roberto Martinez had deployed a diamond midfield in order to control possession, but the early switch saw him move to a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Naismith was positioned on the left and quickly gave Branislav Ivanovic a different kind of problem to the one that has exposed him continuously this season. The Serbian had struggled against speed in August, but it was Naismith's lateral movement that he couldn't cope with on this occasion. The substitute headed home the opener after a good cross from Brendan Galloway in the 17th minute before adding a second just five minutes later. Naismith cruised in from the left-hand side, with Ivanovic turning his back as the low rifle of a shot left Asmir Begovic stranded. Naismith is the first player in the Premier League to score against a Jose Mourinho side on three separate occasions, while his hat-trick strike made it six goals in as many matches against Chelsea.
Begovic could prove to be Chelsea's best business
It was a miserable day for Mourinho's Blues, with very few positives to take. The team as a whole looked shambolic and not just in a defensive sense. However, one positive was the performance of Begovic.
The former Stoke City shot-stopper may have conceded three goals, but without him the defeat would have been heavier. His fingertip save from an Arouna Kone header was outstanding, while this was quickly followed by a John Stones shot from distance which was pushed wide once again.
With the injury to Thibaut Courtois, the criticism over the sale of Petr Cech would be much worse if it wasn't for the signing of Begovic. Chelsea have now lost on five of their last seven visits to Goodison. When asked if he felt his job was under pressure, Mourinho replied: "No, I think the refugees are under pressure."
"Money can't buy you Stones", just yet
Martinez confessed he had been singing the Everton supporters’ song in the shower this week. The catchy little chant - to the tune of the Beatles' Can't Buy Me Love - has been heard at Goodison Park since the ordeal began. Chelsea made three unsuccessful bids for Stones this summer, the last worth over £30 million.
On this showing it was easy to see why Mourinho was willing to part with so much money for the England defender. Stones was composed in possession throughout, while his challenge to block a Diego Costa shot just before half-time didn't look like a player bothered by the constant speculation surrounding his future.
"The talk won’t affect this game," confessed Martinez in his pre-match press conference. "John has been performing at a very good level and gone from strength to strength in a period of high pressure. He’s taken the support of us all and performed with great composure and maturity."
This maturity was more than evident in the way he stole the ball off Pedro as the Spaniard was about to shoot. The Cruyff turn that followed showed exactly why he's already a level above most of his contemporaries and why Mourinho wants him. “I don’t talk about opposition players,” said the Portuguese coach when quizzed on if his defence would have been better with the former Barnsley centre-back.
Barkley still has plenty of room for improvement
He might have scored his first international goal for England against San Marino last week, but the 21-year-old has still got to improve his decision making. Barkley will get better as the season continues, especially after a full pre-season. Last term he missed the opening two months of the campaign and was played in a variety of positions. He operated as a No.10 here, which is probably his best role given the misconception that he's an all-rounder, with his tackling often letting him down.
He's still young, but he has progressed a lot in a short period of time. "The emergence of a more mature Barkley who can fill that role in a different way to 12 months ago is very important," admitted Martinez in the week. There were a couple of occasions when he was a bit slow to play the killer ball and others when he tried to take on too many opponents. His passing was still impressive and he did record two assists, although they came courtesy of the superb finishing ability of man-of-the-match Naismith.
Kone is getting better every match
Kone has struggled with injuries since he arrived on Merseyside two years ago and his Everton future has been in doubt. However, the Ivorian forward received a standing ovation from the home supporters as he left the field in the 72nd minute. The former Sevilla striker was a constant menace to the Chelsea backline - whether he was running at Cesar Azpilicueta with his pace or providing an aerial threat more centrally. He’s still not the player that scored 15 goals in 34 starts in La Liga for Levante, but the 31-year-old still causes defenders issues with his speed. "I feel Arouna Koné is becoming an important member of the squad after injury and that gives us a different option which means we don’t really need the No.10 we were thinking of last season," stated Martinez. The defensive side to his game often goes unnoticed, as he has exceptional work rate and a capacity to track his opposing full-back.