Dominic Calvert-Lewin was left a passenger of Carlo Ancelotti’s defensive tactics as Everton beat Chelsea 1-0 on Saturday.
The Italian reverted to his tried-and-tested four-man defence following further injuries to an already depleted unit, with Fabian Delph joining Lucas Digne and Seamus Coleman in needing treatment after suffering a hamstring strain at Burnley.
Delph’s absence saw Ancelotti lean on central defenders Ben Godfrey and Mason Holgate to start at full-back, but struggles to stay on the ball allowed Chelsea to dominate proceedings and leave Goodison Park having held 72 per cent of the possession. Though, crucially for Everton, without a point.
Everton’s inability to get on the ball and stay in possession saw Calvert-Lewin often be left out in the cold, having to hassle Frank Lampard’s visiting side for any real hope of maintaining his goal-a-game average in the Premier League after 11 strikes in 11 games.
But his run is at an end, for now at least, after failing to record a single on-target shot on Saturday, with the £36million-rated star only able to unleash one attempt on Edouard Mendy’s net though seeing his effort blocked, via SofaScore.
Calvert-Lewin saw so little of the ball that he registered fewer touches than Jordan Pickford, as well, with the Toffees’ shot-stopper recording 35 touches to the forward’s 33.
Worse for the 23-year-old was that of his 33 touches, only three came inside the Chelsea penalty area and with such little of the ball, Calvert-Lewin was only able to play 21 passes, of which just 13 found teammates.
He was busy in the air, though, with 15 duels, yet won just seven of his contests – a distant comparison from his success in five of six ground duels while attempting and winning two dribbles.
Calvert-Lewin left his most telling imprint on proceedings early in the first-half when he went on a rampaging run through the Chelsea defence, shrugging the experienced Thiago Silva to the side before inviting Mendy to have a rush of blood to the head.
The 28-year-old unnecessarily charged off his line and clattered into Calvert-Lewin, leaving referee Jon Moss with no choice but to point to the spot, awarding a penalty which Gylfi Sigurdsson would convert for the only goal of the game.
Everton’s top-scorer was lauded at half-time during BT Sport’s coverage of the match by former Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole for his ability to do away with Silva with ease, noting:
“Calvert-Lewin is something else.
“To do what’s he done to Thiago Silva, who has seen every type of player – the athleticism to win the flick on and get after the ball [was brilliant].”
Calvert-Lewin will no doubt have preferred to have left his mark on the match through his goals, but a defensive Everton side left their star forward a passenger of the win instead.