Abuja – Chelsea found no chink in Everton’s defensive armour as the English Premier League (EPL) champions were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw at Goodison Park on Saturday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Antonio Conte’s side, missing suspended top scorer Alvaro Morata, played most of the game in Everton’s half.
They had 25 attempts on goal to the hosts’ five.
However, the closest they came was when home defender Ashley Williams headed against his own bar trying to clear a cross.
Home skipper Phil Jagielka made two vital blocks to deny Tiemoue Bakayoko and Willian in quick succession in the first half, while goalkeeper Jordan Pickford tipped a Pedro effort over.
Pickford made further important saves after the break as Chelsea poured forward, but Everton did have a late chance for a smash-and-grab raid when Michael Keane headed over.
Conte after the match said that the Blues deserved to get the three points against Everton.
“For sure we must be disappointed, because we deserve to get three points,” said Conte.
“Everton are the best team in this league outside the top six. We played this way with great personality, intensity and concentration.
“If you want to win this game, you must score. You need to be more,” he said.
At the halfway point of the season Chelsea are third with 39 points, two points behind Manchester United and 13 behind runaway leaders Manchester City, both of whom play later.
Everton remain in ninth spot and are unbeaten in the five games since new manager Sam Allardyce took charge.
Allardyce said he was pleased with his team’s effort against the defending champions, but expressed disappointment his side did not threaten their goal.
He however admitted that there were plenty of positives to Everton’s play as they shut out the Blues at Goodison Park.
“Hard-earned is certainly right, in terms of effort, commitment and organisation. We have played a hugely talented front five and have had a bit of luck, but rolled up our sleeves to get a result.
“It keeps the undefeated run going, and you have to respect a point against the big boys.
“It is disappointing that we did not really threaten their goal apart from Michael Keane’s header at the end.
“The quality of the ball was disappointing today, but the effort was top class and we are well satisfied with a point.
“We want to be better in possession, but when we dominated Swansea, that is what we will be like against other teams,” Allardyce said.(Reuters/NAN)