Chelsea produced a dominant home performance to comfortably beat Everton for their second win of the Premier League season.
Cesc Fabregas broke Everton’s resistance by coolly clipping into the bottom corner from Alvaro Morata’s instinctive knockdown, ending a smart move that began with a quick free-kick.
Morata’s thumping header doubled Chelsea’s lead before the break, the Spaniard gleefully finishing from Cesar Azpilicueta’s perfect cross.
Everton did not get a sight of goal until Sandro’s poor scuffed shot was deflected wide shortly after the break, a move that was only started by Azpilicueta’s mistake.
In truth, Chelsea really ought to have scored more; Victor Moses shot straight at Jordan Pickford when played through, and Pedro drove just wide after nutmegging Gylfi Sigurdsson on the edge of the box.
The Toffees, playing their third tricky away game in seven days, have now failed to win in their past 23 league matches at Stamford Bridge.
For Chelsea, this was the perfect follow-up to last weekend’s impressive victory over Tottenham at Wembley.
Better late than never
After suffering a shock defeat by Burnley on the Premier League’s opening weekend, Chelsea needed a performance that was more in tune with the home form of last season’s title win.
They got it. Right from the outset there was an intensity to their passing, movement and pressing that was only matched by the animated Antoino Conte’s cajoling on the sidelines.
Everton, perhaps fatigued having followed their draw at Manchester City on Monday with Europa League progression at Hajduk Split on Thursday, could not hold them back for long.
Morata was the only Chelsea player on the pitch who had been slow to make an impression, but he reacted impressively, after Ashley Williams blocked his initial pass, to set up Fabregas perfectly for a richly deserved opener.
The former Real Madrid striker looked to be struggling with the physicality and pace of the opening stages, but in scoring his header he became the first player in Premier League history to both score and assist a goal in each of his first two home games.
The reigning champions of England’s top division have never lost their opening two home fixtures of a top-flight season, and by the time Morata was roundly applauded as he was replaced by Michy Batshuayi, Chelsea were heading for a straightforward victory.
Everton limit damage but rarely threaten
Three away games in seven days was never going to be easy, no matter the opposition, but Everton barely troubled Thibaut Courtois. It wasn’t until the 87th minute that Chelsea’s keeper was forced into making a save – from Idrissa Gueye’s shot that appeared to be going over the bar.
Having been soundly outplayed in the first half, the second period felt more like damage control.
Muhamed Besic, whose father was reportedly shot in his native Bosnia on Saturday, replaced the disappointing Tom Davies at the break, but Aaron Lennon, making his first league appearance since February, had more impact from the bench.
His cross caused momentary panic in a Chelsea box that had seen very little action, before Williams glanced just wide from Sigurdsson’s cross in the closing stages.
There were positives – notably Mason Holgate’s composed display after his mistake at City on Monday – but Everton are clearly still feeling the absence of Romelu Lukaku.
Wayne Rooney, Sigurdsson and Sandro never really combined convincingly, and Rooney appeared to let frustration over a first-half Marcos Alonso challenge affect his game.
The 31-year-old was finally shown a yellow card for dissent towards the end of a game he and his team-mates will want to forget.
The Toffees have never won a Premier League game in which they’ve been two or more goals behind at the break, a run that now stretches into four draws and 55 defeats.