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Premier League hits and misses: Kai Havertz shines for Chelsea as Carlo Ancelotti questions Everton credentials

he 21-year-old has endured a difficult first season at Chelsea following his £72m arrival from Bayer Leverkusen but he was the standout player in Monday’s 2-0 win over Everton.

Havertz, pushed forward into the false nine role, produced the game’s two decisive moments, his shot from Marcos Alonso’s cross bouncing in off Ben Godfrey for the opener before he sprinted onto Mateo Kovacic’s pass to win the penalty for Chelsea’s second.

He had the ball in the net himself on another occasion, rifling home from a Callum Hudson-Odoi cross only to have the goal ruled out for a marginal handball call It was a clever and confident performance from the German and Carlo Ancelotti’s side struggled to get a handle on him.


“He showed up between the lines in offensive positions and used his potential to accelerate our game and to increase our touches in the box,” said Tuchel afterwards. “He took the responsibility to assist and also to finish himself. This is what we want.”

This was Havertz’s first start since Tuchel’s first game in charge. He has been unfortunate with injuries this season and a knock had ruled him out of Chelsea’s last few games. But carry on like this and he will soon start to justify that £72m price-tag.
Nick Wright

The London Stadium has been like a white elephant for West Ham fans for a long time, but imagine if their return to watching the Hammers next season included a round of Champions League games.

It sounds like pure madness; even in the days of Hurst, of Moore, of Peters, of Brooking, European Cup football was never played in east London. With the quality of sides around them, logic dictates it probably will not be next season.

Logic is not something that can be associated with the Hammers season, though. West Ham have gone from fighting for survival to fighting for continental qualification, and over the course of what is almost three quarters of a season, it has gone beyond any kind of fluke.

Declan Rice’s assessment was simple. “It’s a great football environment, and that shows on the pitch, how we are off the pitch.” Oversimplistic? Probably not. Just because a good dressing room is easy to pinpoint does not make it easy to cultivate.

West Ham just keep on going, and now have a five-point gap to Liverpool in eighth – with seventh perhaps enough for a European spot – and a game in hand over Jurgen Klopp’s side.

There are 11 cup finals left for Moyes’ team. Manchester United, Arsenal and Leicester make up three of their next four games, teams who have the experience and know-how of recent success.

Those results will be so crucial in writing their own names into club folklore, because with the kind of attritional, winning football the Hammers produced to beat Leeds on Monday night and so often this season, they have a chance.
Ron Walker


Everton travelled to Stamford Bridge riding high on the back of a three-game winning streak that had thrust the Toffees into Champions League contention.

Before his return to Stamford Bridge, the Italian spoke up the chances of the blue half of Merseyside competing with Chelsea both on the pitch and in the race for the top four, but there was no performance to back his pre-match prophecy, and instead it was his comments after Everton’s timid defeat on Monday night which spoke volumes.

“We have to be honest; we are not at the same level,” Ancelotti said. “We cannot play an open game against this kind of team.”

It wasn’t that Everton didn’t show up at Stamford Bridge, far from it. For large parts they were solid and assured in defence, keeping Chelsea opportunities to a minimum.

But the quality which had seen Everton beat Liverpool, Southampton and West Brom, and propelled them into the top-four picture, was found wanting.

Thomas Tuchel’s side had a number of gears that went unused as they cantered to a 2-0 victory which bolstered their own top-four challenge and offered a sobering reality check to Everton’s Champions League ambitions.

Such lofty targets may just be beyond this group at this moment in time but qualifying for Europe by any means would still represent progression for Everton. Ancelotti and his players can ill-afford many more performances like this if that is to be realised,
Jack Wilkinson

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