Jordan Pickford starred as a very impoverished Everton worked their way to a 1-1 draw with Chelsea, who lost more ground in the title race.
The England goalkeeper was called upon to make nine saves in a game in which Chelsea had 23 shots on goal, but had only one Mason Mount shot in 70 minutes to prove his dominance. That lead lasted just four minutes when Jarrad Branthwaite landed a sublime Anthony Gordon set piece to equalize.
The draw leaves Chelsea four points behind Manchester City in third place in the Premier League standings.
It was a heroic performance from the visitors when Rafa Benitez’s team arrived at Stamford Bridge with a decimated team missing Richarlison, Demarai Gray, Salomon Rondon, Lucas Digne, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Andros Townsend. Such were their selection problems, Benitez handed 20-year-old Ellis Simms a debut to lead the line.
Meanwhile, Chelsea were missing Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner and Callum Hudson-Odoi after the trio tested positive at Covid-19 as Thomas Tuchel could only name eight substitutes, including two goalkeepers.
More to follow …
Chelsea go into the Premier League against Wolves at 2pm on Sunday, while Everton’s game with Leicester has been postponed.