Everton 0-3 Chelsea: Blues put three past Toffees to maintain Premier League lead
By James Kilpatrick
Last Updated: 01/05/17 12:01am
Second-half strikes from Pedro, Gary Cahill and Willian sees Chelsea edge closer to the Premier League title with a 3-0 win over Everton.
Pedro's long-range strike, followed by Cahill's bundled effort and a simple tap-in for substitute Willian made sure Chelsea went seven points clear of title rivals Spurs before their Super Sunday clash with Arsenal.
Meanwhile, the defeat for Everton means they remain seventh in their first home loss this calendar year.
The match got off to a fast start as Dominic Calvert-Lewin's driven ball into the area almost rebounded off the post for Lukaku to tap in from six-yards out, only for the Premier League's top goalscorer to unfortunately slip before pulling the trigger.
Chelsea fired a warning shot of their own moments later through an unlikely source in Cahill, who smashed a shot from 25-yards out which Maarten Stekelenburg was just about able to smother.
Eden Hazard sprung into life in the 11th minute as he picked up a fine through ball from Diego Costa to burst through on goal, but despite skipping around Stekelenburg, the angle was too tight for the Belgium international to apply the finish.
After Nemanja Matic's marauding run was ended by Stekelenburg covering his shot, Lukaku threatened with an effort from distance at the other end which skidded just wide of the post. Costa then blasted a shot over the bar from close-range after being set through by a David Luiz long ball.
The half became increasingly scrappy as referee Jonathan Moss gave yellow cards out to Cahill, Calvert-Lewin and Cesar Azpilicueta to see out a tightly-contested 45 minutes.
Chelsea came close to breaking the deadlock early in the second half after a corner routine saw Victor Moses thump a low cross across the face of the goal, but the driven ball was too fast for Costa to tap in.
Everton responded first through Enner Valencia, whose effort was blocked by Thibaut Courtois before Lukaku had a tame shot straight at the goalkeeper from 18-yards out.
Despite Everton increasing appetite for adventure going forward, Chelsea's Pedro opened the scoring with a fine strike. From 25-yards out, he moved the ball onto his left foot and thumped a strike into the top corner to score his eighth league goal of the season.
Lukaku nearly levelled with a free-kick from just outside the box, but his curled strike was just over the bar.
But the Toffees would pay the price for their lack of end product as Chelsea doubled their lead through Cahill, who bundled the ball into the net following a driven free-kick into the box by Hazard.
Chelsea introduced Cesc Fabregas and Willian off the bench, and they combined to give their sid a three-goal lead. The onrushing Fabregas picked up a threaded Costa pass before squaring to Willian to finish and ultimately give Chelsea a comfortable victory.
Everton: Stekelenburg (6), Holgate (6), Jagielka (6), Williams (6), Baines (6), Calvert-Lewin (7), Gueye (7), Davies (7), Barkley (6), Valencia (6), Lukaku (6)
Subs: Mirallas (5), Kone (5)
Chelsea: Courtois (6), Azpilicueta (6), David Luiz (6), Cahill (7), Moses (7), Kante (6), Matic (7), Alonso (6), Pedro (8), Costa (7), Hazard (7)
Subs: Ake (7), Fabregas (8), Willian (8)
Man of the Match: Pedro