Gylfi Sigurdsson penalty lifts Everton and ends Chelsea’s unbeaten run

The former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti embraced his assistants to celebrate a first home win for more than two months while the current custodian surveyed a crestfallen scene at Goodison Park.

Frank Lampard’s players, almost to a man, dropped to their knees when the final whistle sounded on their first defeat in 18 games. The Premier League summit had been in sight again but a resilient, spirited Everton display kept it out of reach.

Gylfi Sigurdsson’s cool first-half penalty, awarded after the goalkeeper Édouard Mendy flattened the relentless Dominic Calvert-Lewin, condemned Chelsea to a third successive loss at Everton and a first defeat in any competition since the second weekend of the campaign.

The visitors dominated possession and struck the woodwork twice but this was not a performance to strengthen talk of title aspirations. Without the injured Hakim Ziyech, Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi, Chelsea lacked the invention and penetration to hurt an Everton defence that belied its makeshift composition to keep a first clean sheet since the opening weekend of the season.

Ancelotti pulled his son, Davide, and Duncan Ferguson into a hug on the final whistle as they savoured only a second win in eight matches.

“I keep reading we have the strongest squad in the Premier League,” Lampard reflected. “I just don’t understand that. The teams around us have won the Premier League and the Champions League and have experienced players who score 30 goals a season.

“We have players who have won championships but we are a young squad and a work in progress. Nights like tonight can happen. I don’t like it but they can happen.”

Fierce backing from the 2,000 Evertonians inside Goodison, who greeted the Z-Cars theme with a tumultuous roar and made a remarkable noise throughout, played its part in a home display that combined defiance with potency on the counterattack. Lampard’s side started brightly, with Kai Havertz and Reece James combining purposefully on the right.

The visitors controlled possession with a confidence befitting their recent unbeaten run but Everton looked dangerous whenever they put the Chelsea defence under pressure. Alex Iwobi was particularly sharp on the right wing. An all-central defender back line of Mason Holgate, Yerry Mina, Michael Keane and Ben Godfrey, a right-footer filling in at left back, were outstanding throughout.

“We won with spirit tonight, not with the quality of our play,” Ancelotti admitted. “We didn’t have the ball as often as we wanted but we defended really well.”

Mendy needed treatment when he fell heavily having claimed a Sigurdsson free-kick and tumbled over the top of James.

Three minutes later, and perhaps still feeling the effects, he conceded a penalty with a late challenge on Calvert-Lewin, although nothing should be taken away from the Everton centre-forward’s role.

Calvert-Lewin initially beat Thiago Silva in the air when they challenged for a Jordan Pickford clearance. The striker was then quicker to the second ball than the veteran defender and was body-checked by Mendy. VAR was not required to confirm referee Jonathan Moss’s immediate award of a penalty and Sigurdsson, watching Mendy all the way, sent the keeper the wrong way with a nonchalant spot-kick.

Chelsea almost responded immediately. Having tested Pickford with a curling free-kick, James went closer when the resulting corner dropped into his path 25 yards from goal. The right-back connected perfectly only for his drive to strike the inside of the near post via a slight deflection off Abdoulaye Doucouré, and cannon across the face of Pickford’s goal.

Richarlison went close to extending Everton’s advantage either side of the interval when released on the break by the increasingly influential Sigurdsson.

A superb first-time ball from the No 10 played the Brazilian through on goal but Mendy was equal to his low drive. Early in the second half, from another weighted pass by Everton’s captain for the night, Richarlison raced through and disguised his shot through the legs of Kurt Zouma. Mendy produced a superb save at full stretch to deny the forward yet again.

Moss awarded Everton a second penalty when Calvert-Lewin was impeded by Ben Chilwell as he darted across the area. The referee’s decision was overturned by VAR, however, as Calvert-Lewin was offside when latching on to Iwobi’s pass in the buildup, though its verdict arrived after Richarlison made a petulant demand to take the penalty off Sigurdsson.

Chelsea hit the woodwork for a second time when Mason Mount beat Pickford with an angled free-kick only for the attempt to strike the base of a post with the keeper beaten. The visitors pressed relentlessly in search of an equaliser but Everton’s resistance left them on their knees.