Everton provided an epic late twist at Stamford Bridge in their Premier League clash with Chelsea this evening and Sean Dyche will be proud of the resilience his team showed throughout the performance to take a well-earned point from West London.
The Toffees remain in a tight relegation battle and are teetering on the edge of the drop zone just two points clear in 15th, however, sharing the spoils with Chelsea tonight will certainly give the team a boost of confidence and a belief in their chances of retaining their Premier League status at the end of the season.
Despite having just 31% possession, fewer shots on goal (12 v 20), fewer accurate passes completed (158 v 449) and fewer duels won (58 v 43), Everton kept fighting until the very end to fend off the individual quality that threatened them throughout.
The game didn’t offer too much in the first half with neither team unable to break the stalemate when the whistle was blown to end the first 45 minutes of action, however, in the second half it was all action in front of goal with both Joao Felix and Abdoulaye Doucoure finding the back of the net for the two sides, respectively, to make it 1-1.
A penalty gifted to the hosts saw them take the lead again with 14 minutes to go, but a magical substitution made by the Toffees boss just moments after will have the Goodison Park faithful in high spirits.
Academy graduate Ellis Simms – who was recalled from his successful loan spell at Sunderland in January – delivered the fatal blow to Graham Potter’s side, scoring his first-ever Premier League goal in the 89th minute, finishing the game 2-2.
Indeed, Simms will steal the headlines for his phenomenal goal and fearless effort in the south tonight, but it was Doucoure who was instrumental in keeping the Merseysiders in the game throughout.
How did Abdoulaye Doucoure get on vs Chelsea?
The talented midfielder found himself out of favour upon the arrival of Amadou Onana and Idrissa Gana Gueye last summer, yet like many players who were banished to the bench under Frank Lampard’s reign has thrived since the appointment of the former Burnley boss in January.
Over his 90-minute performance, the former Watford dynamo – hailed for his “brilliant” touch by James Nalton – scored one goal, registered one assist for Simms’ goal, completed 29 touches and two key passes, as well as winning two tackles and completing one clearance.
Dyche spoke out about Lampard’s banishment of Doucoure who was sent to train alone in the turn of the year after falling out with his former manager:
“Different managers see different things, different managers want different things.”
“They all respond to new manager changes in different ways. He has just responded very well so far – but I want him to continue in that vein. I agree, he has played very well. He keeps working in both boxes, driving with his running that’s for sure. The signs are good.”
With that being said, Doucoure can be proud of his heroic display this afternoon – which earned him a stellar, 8.0 match rating, as per Sofascore – surely proving to his manager that he is hard-working and worthy of starting for the Merseysiders over the remainder of the season.