Dominic Calvert-Lewin produced an invisible performance as Everton lost 2-0 at Chelsea on Monday night to set back their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.
The Toffees had the chance to move fourth in the Premier League standings with a win at Stamford Bridge, but instead trail the Blues by four points and West Ham United by two.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men continue to hold a game in hand over Thomas Tuchel’s side, as do the Irons who beat Leeds 2-0 later on Monday, but the Italian tactician reluctantly admitted that Everton are “not at the same level” as the south-west London outfit.
Calvert-Lewin found the gulf in class out the hard way, with the forward who ranks fourth in the Premier League Golden Boot race with 13 goals left an isolated figure often starved of possession.
Rarely were Everton able to find their top-scorer outside of lumping the ball long in hope of the 23-year-old winning a flick-on, which was particularly evident inside the Chelsea box.
Of Calvert-Lewin’s mere 17 touches – the least by any player who started for either side – only one was registered inside Edouard Mendy’s penalty area, with eight coming near to the right-hand touchline on the halfway line, per WhoScored.
The £100,000-per-week frontman’s sole touch inside the hosts’ area also marked his only shot of the night, when Calvert-Lewin sent an effort wide of Mendy’s goal in just the 25th minute.
Only once in the remaining time did Calvert-Lewin ever get on the ball within touching distance of Chelsea’s well-guarded box, while never creating a single goalscoring opportunity for an Everton player.
Monday’s affair marked the fourth-straight appearance that Calvert-Lewin has now failed to score, a period in which he has taken just five shots – the same haul as he achieved in last month’s 2-1 win at Leeds alone.
Calvert-Lewin’s four-game drought has also returned just two key balls, each of which were offered in last Thursday’s 1-0 win away to West Bromwich Albion when he completed 71% of his 31 total passes compared a sloppy 55.6% of nine played against Chelsea.
Even second-half substitutes Joshua King (6) and Bernard (8) played a higher number of accurate passes than Calvert-Lewin (5) on Monday night, despite the pair not being introduced until the 70th and 76th minutes while the England international played the full 90.
Even still, Calvert-Lewin was awarded the same match rating as Richarlison by the Liverpool Echo, who scored both at six out of 10, as the former was combative in leading the line while the latter was top-draw defensively but could not click in the final-third.
Yet Richarlison was significantly superior to Calvert-Lewin, as the Brazilian completed 12 of his 18 attempted passes for one of Everton’s five key passes at Stamford Bridge, while recording twice as many touches (35) as his strike partner.
The former Watford winger also dragged the Toffees’ up the pitch with two successful dribbles from two – the only visiting player to complete more than one.
His game was not perfect, but Richarlison made a difference, while Calvert-Lewin was often invisible as Everton’s hope of Champions League football took a major dent.