5 talking points as Chelsea make huge statement in battle for top four finish

Chelsea made a big stride in the race for a top four finish as they saw off Everton 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.

Having beaten Liverpool at Anfield last week, the Blues were good value for the victory over the Reds' neighbours as they maintained an attacking threat throughout, taking the lead just after the half hour mark when Kai Havertz diverted Marcos Alonso's cross towards goal, with the effort striking Ben Godfrey and going in.

Alonso brought a smart save from Jordan Pickford shortly before the break as Chelsea pressed for a second, while having seen his first half effort given as a Godfrey own goal, Havertz then had a goal disallowed for handball.

Chelsea then wrapped up the victory when Pickford rashly brought Havertz down in the area, and Jorginho converted their second from the spot.

Here are the game's main talking points.

1. Two heads are better than one

There was an alternate to that old saying about N'Golo Kante covering a certain, usually pretty high percentage of the earth which centred on the idea that the Frenchman might actually be Frenchmen. Two players.

Kante is still terrific of course, but the good thing about the early days of new managers is that you get to see different combinations and trusted pairings develop, in the first half we got to see just what Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic can do alongside each other.

Kovacic had come into the side for Kante as Tuchel continued his rotation policy, but the way that the pair worked together, particularly in the first half, will have been a clear sign to the new manager and perhaps a worry for Kante.

At one point Kovacic even took on Everton while sitting down, such was his competitive spirit.

The pair won the midfield battle comprehensively as Allan and Andre Gomes were outclassed.

2. Marcos Alonso revels in a returned freedom

Another good thing about new managers is the players they seemingly bring back from the dead, with Tuchel resurrecting the career of Alonso after the Spaniard had completely faded from view under Frank Lampard.

The left-sided Alonso might not be suited to plenty of Blues matches, but at home and when they are expected to be on the front foot he is a potent attacking weapon.

His ball in to Havertz created the havoc that caused the first half goal, and he almost got on the scoresheet himself moments later.

He is a no frills sort of player, but an effective one.

3. A job well done for Kai Havertz

If, as seems increasingly likely, Chelsea do end up finishing in the top four this season then the idea that Havertz and Timo Werner can be excused their fairly underwhelming debut seasons should gain traction.

The German pair are, we're constantly told, still adjusting to life in the Premier League and in England, both of which are pretty weird places at the moment for obvious reasons.

Given a chance here in place of Mason Mount, Havertz was able to look a threat around the penalty area and was twice denied a goal despite the ball going into the back of the net, once by the knee of Godfrey and then again by referee David Coote.

Tuchel will be pleased with his performance though, and it was another step in the right direction.

4. Everton's biggest problem isn't their fault

Everton are a good side, and a much better Everton than several versions we've seen in the Premier League before.

But they just aren't good enough are they?

With Chelsea now making a big play for the top four, and Manchester United shoring up their own claims with a terrific win at the weekend, we could soon be saying that there is only one remaining spot in that quartet available.

Leicester aren't convincing but they have the points, Tottenham look as though they could be good enough and Liverpool are, well, the less said about them the better.

Everton would be more than good enough to sneak in there in previous seasons but they just seem to lack a certain something this time.

5. Second best?

In fact, should Chelsea be aiming higher than a mere top four finish?

No-one above them bar the champions-elect is able to convince you consistently, and squad-wise they certainly have plenty of formidable options at their disposal, more so than pretty much any team.

Tuchel is overseeing a terrific start to his career at Stamford Bridge, and if he can guide the Blues to second place then he'll be rightly lauded.

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