Duncan Ferguson looked like he enjoyed watching Everton beat Chelsea 3-1 at Goodison Park on Saturday.
A Dominic Calvert-Lewin double, plus one from Richarlison, got the Scotsman off to a flyer after he was appointed as interim manager following Marco Silva’s sacking on Thursday. Fair to say, Ferguson’s impact on the Toffees was clear for all to see.
Under Silva, they had lacked fight, but the same cannot be said of their performance on the weekend. Everton were transformed against Frank Lampard’s side, with Opta reporting they made a total of 37 tackles in the triumph.
That’s the most the Merseysiders have made in a single Premier League game since their 1-0 loss at Tottenham Hotspur in February 2014, and the most they’ve made at home since March 2007, when Andy Johnson gave them a narrow victory over Arsenal.
Ferguson’s effect on the side was remarkable, and proved enough to topple a team currently occupying a Champions League qualification spot, who had also never previously lost a Premier League match against a manager taking charge of his first fixture.
On top of that, Big Dunc guided Everton to their second successive top-flight win versus the Blues, something the Toffees haven’t done since November 1994. It gets worse for Chelsea.
The west London outfit have now been defeated in three of their last four league matches, and the gap between Lampard’s recruits and fifth could close to just three points by Monday evening.
Of course, things haven’t been amazing of late at Goodison, either, with Saturday’s victory only Everton’s third in 12 Premier League fixtures. That certainly highlights how desperate the situation was by the end of Silva’s reign.
The Toffees’ struggles has been in large part due to a lack of goals. Calvert-Lewin has hardly been prolific in the early stages of his career, but he hit a big milestone against Chelsea as the youngster collected his first top-flight brace in his 92nd appearance.
Richarlison, on the other hand, is a more potent attacker, and the Brazilian took his seasonal league tally to five as he scored for the third consecutive game. Intriguingly, all three of those have been assisted by right-back Djibril Sidibe.
Perhaps, it shouldn’t be too surprising that Everton put Chelsea to the sword in front of the Goodison crowd.
The Blues failed to register an away Premier League clean sheet for the 16th time in their 17 first division matches away from Stamford Bridge in 2019, with no other side in the competition having a worse defensive record on their travels this year.
At least there was one positive for Chelsea – Mateo Kovacic ended a 35-month drought after grabbed his first goal in his last 82 appearances in Europe’s big five leagues, with his most recent goal coming in January 2017 for Real Madrid.