English Premiership

Sarri sets new EPL record as Chelsea draw with Everton

Maurizio Sarri (AP)
Maurizio Sarri (AP)

London - Maurizio Sarri became the first Premier League manager to go unbeaten in his opening 12 matches on debut as Chelsea were held to a 0-0 draw by Everton on Sunday.

Chelsea appeared to be suffering the after-effects of their midweek trip to Belarus as they struggled to create many meaningful chances in the first half.

Everton fashioned the first two attempts in the opening stages, with Andre Gomes steering a header well over the target from a third-minute corner on the right, before Bernard flashed a shot just wide of the left post from 20 yards out nine minutes later after bringing a cleared corner under control.

The hosts threatened for the first time midway through the first half when Marcos Alonso curled a free-kick narrowly wide of the left post from 22 yards out, while at the other end Michael Keane couldn't keep his header down from a free-kick on the right in the 30th minute.

Neither goalkeeper was tested until five minutes before half-time as Alonso forced Jordan Pickford into a smart save with a first-time volley from a tight angle on the left after connecting with Willian's free-kick into the area.

The action picked up after the restart, with more chances coming at both ends of the pitch. Alvaro Morata drew a sharp save out of Pickford from close range in the opening minute after making contact with Eden Hazard's cross, before Kepa was required to tip over Gylfi Sigurdsson's curler from 22 yards out on 56 minutes.

Willian was just inches away from picking out the far corner of the net with a low strike from 14 yards out on the right after latching onto Hazard's threaded pass on the hour mark, while Pickford had to parry Belgian's long-range shot behind moments later.

Alonso went even closer when he hit the outside of the right post from an angle on the left after Hazard's flick dropped into his path on 65 minutes.

Morata had the ball in the back of the net seven minutes later as he converted Cesar Azpilicueta's low cross at the back post, but the Spanish striker was correctly flagged offside.

Hazard was presented with a glorious chance to open the scoring on 73 minutes after Mateo Kovacic played him in on the left, but he stabbed wide of the far post with just Pickford to beat.

Sat 04 Jul 20 13:30 PM (SAST)
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