Chelsea recovered from conceding a goal for the first time in six matches to beat Sheffield United 4-1 in the Premier League yesterday, sealing a fourth straight victory in all competitions for Frank Lampard’s expensively assembled team.
When David McGoldrick deftly flicked the ball into the net in the ninth minute at Stamford Bridge, he became the first player to score against Chelsea since Southampton defender Jannik Vestergaard’s stoppage-time equaliser on October 17.
It was also the first time goalkeeper Edouard Mendy had let in a league goal since joining Chelsea from Rennes in September.
It prompted a fine reaction from Chelsea, whho scored twice in each half to move into third place — for one night, at least — in the latest indication that Lampard’s new-look lineup is starting to gel after an outlay of nearly US$300 million on new players for this season.
Tammy Abraham equalised in the 23rd by sweeping home a cut-back from Mateo Kovacic, before Ben Chilwell met a deep, inswinging free kick from Hakim Ziyech with a close-range finish at the back post in the 34th.
Ziyech’s delivery was dangerous all match and his whipped free kick from near the corner flag was glanced in at the near post by Thiago Silva for the Brazil defender’s first goal for Chelsea.
Timo Werner wrapped up the scoring in the 80th after latching onto a ricochet that flew back toward United’s box, dispatching his finish with aplomb to find the net for the fourth straight game as Chelsea moved up to third in the standings.
And Ole Gunnar Solskjaer got the response he demanded from his Manchester United players as Bruno Fernandes scored twice and Edinson Cavani netted late in a come-from-behind 3-1 win at Everton.
The United manager acknowledged ahead of the game at Goodison Park that he was under pressure after tame losses to Arsenal in the league and Istanbul Basaksehir in the Champions League over the last week, and Solskjaer saw Everton take the lead in the 19th minute through Bernard.
However, United’s apparent tactic of overloading Everton’s right side paid off with both of Fernandes’ first-half goals coming from that flank.
The 25th-minute equaliser arrived when left back Luke Shaw had time and space to send over a cross that was met with a header from Fernandes from 12 yards (metres), the Portugal playmaker’s usual scoring range given he is a frequent converter of penalties for United.
Fernandes then gave United the lead in slightly fortuitous circumstances in the 32nd when he aimed a curling cross to Marcus Rashford in the centre of the penalty area, only to see the ball evade his teammate’s head and drift into the net off the far post.
Cavani, on as an 82nd-minute substitute, scored his first goal for United in the fifth minute of stoppage time following a counterattack led by Fernandes.
Solskjaer praised the character of his players, then launched a tirade at United being asked to play in a lunchtime kickoff yesterday after an away match in Turkey in the Champions League on Wednesday evening.
“Authorities set us up to fail,” Solskjaer said, noting that Manchester City and Liverpool were playing each other on Sunday having both played Champions League games on Tuesday.
“Who is responsible? We’ve had enough of that. I’ve had enough. We have to understand how, in these times (in a) pandemic, mentally draining, physically draining this is. And you set them up like this.”
United saw Shaw limp off with a hamstring injury in the second half, while Rashford finished the game with a shoulder problem.
While United have yet to win at home in the league — the main reason it came into the game in 15th place — they have now won all three of their away games. Fernandes has scored in each of them.
Everton, meanwhile, have lost three straight games after having started the campaign with four wins in a row.
All of the defeats have come while the team’s big attacking threat down the left — Brazil forward Richarlison — has been suspended because of a red card against Liverpool.
Meanwhile, Leeds United suffered another heavy defeat with a 4-1 reverse at Crystal Palace.