Andre Gomes badly let Carlo Ancelotti down as Everton lost 2-0 at Chelsea on Monday night, having produced a passive performance at Stamford Bridge.
The Portuguese maestro retained his role in the Toffees’ engine room for a fourth successive Premier League match, having now failed to start just one of his side’s last eight.
But Ancelotti failed to see that faith repaid with a promising performance in south west London, as Thomas Tuchel’s Blues were easily able to bypass Gomes on route to a comfortable victory.
Chelsea took the lead on the half-hour mark when Kai Havertz’s shot was turned in for an own goal by Ben Godfrey, who could do little about the German’s attempt other than leave goalkeeper Jordan Pickford helpless.
Havertz later won his side a penalty, converted by Jorginho, in the second period after being brought down by Pickford, to seal a 2-0 win and maintain Tuchel’s unbeaten reign as Chelsea boss after eight wins and three draws in all competitions.
Gomes would remain on the field for a further 11 minutes after Jorginho’s strike beat Pickford before Ancelotti would replace the £18m-rated midfielder with Bernard, after he failed to offer much quality on the Stamford Bridge pitch.
The 27-year-old covered a vast area of the ground with his 47 touches taken across the middle third, per SofaScore, but he could not make his presence count despite boasting the Toffees’ only on-target effort of the night.
Gomes tried his luck from 25-yards out in first-half stoppage-time, although his low attempt on goal was easily saved by Edouard Mendy as he achieved his 13th clean sheet in 23 Premier League outings since a £22m move from Ligue 1 side Stade Rennais in September.
The result saw Chelsea stretch their lead over Everton in the race for Champions League qualification to four points, albeit having played a game more. The Goodison Park natives also slipped behind West Ham United, after the Irons beat Leeds later on Monday night.
Despite boasting his side’s only on-target effort with his only shot of the game, Ancelotti will have been disappointed with how poorly Gomes performed his defensive duties at Chelsea having struggled to cope with the man-marking system the Italian tactician initially utilised.
Gomes was a bystander whenever the hosts were in possession and rarely managed to take the ball from a Blues player, with the ex-FC Barcelona midfielder dribbled past six times – Allan (3) was beaten on the ground the second-most times by any player, per WhoScored.
Being dribbled past so frequently further saw that Gomes could only register a 14% tackle success rate, thanks to winning possession once, while also offering one interception but no clearances.
The 29-cap international is not generally a defensive powerhouse but has averaged 1.5 successful tackles a game in the Premier League this season, while being dribbled past just 1.6 times, making 0.4 interceptions and 0.5 clearances.
His struggles on the ground additionally ensured that Gomes lost 11 of his 14 ground duels – Richarlison lost the second-most by an Everton player with success in only five of his 10 contests, per SofaScore. Gomes averages 3.4 challenges won with a 40% success rate.
Altogether, Gomes’ performance meant he earned SofaScore’s worst match rating for a player who featured for either side at 5.9 out of 10 – the sixth time this season that he has scored below a base 6/10.
The Liverpool Echo also graded Gomes at 5/10, the same as Alex Iwobi but noted how the ex-Arsenal winger ‘couldn’t effectively get himself into the game’ while the Portuguese playmaker briefly improved after the break.
Yet Gomes was worse than Iwobi throughout the match and will have left Ancelotti wondering if he should start when Everton host Burnley on Saturday.