Everton earned a huge three points in their battle to escape relegation by beating Frank Lampard’s former side Chelsea 1-0 at Goodison Park – and Jordan Pickford was among the players they most had to thank.
Richarlison scored the only goal of the game shortly after the start of the second half to confirm an important win. Chelsea had more possession and shots, but Everton made their own moments of pressure count.
Before kick off Everton found themselves five points adrift in relegation battle, with this first of two games in hand over 17th-placed Leeds. Chelsea, meanwhile, went into the game in third place, with an eight-point cushion in the Champions League qualification hunt.
With much at stake, the game began at a high tempo. Anthony Gordon fired a free kick over from an inviting position for Everton, before Mason Mount tried his luck for Chelsea with a dipping effort.
After the half-hour mark, Gordon dribbled inwards and tried to beat Edouard Mendy from outside the box. However, he dragged a left-footed effort wide.
Everton did hit the target early in the second half when Richarlison gave them the lead. After dispossessing Cesar Azpilicueta, the Brazilian was set up by Demarai Gray before slotting home.
A big chance then came to double the lead when a sweeping move from right to left concluded with Vitaliy Mykolenko missing the target.
Chelsea tried to respond when Mount hit the post before Jordan Pickford raced across his goal to dramatically save a rebound from Azpilicueta.
WHAT A SAVE FROM PICKFORD! 🤯
Incredible reactions from the Everton stopper! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/Emq0Cbm3Ow
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) May 1, 2022
From the resulting corner, Pickford put his body on the line once more to deny Antonio Rudiger from yards out.
Chelsea were pushing for an equaliser and could have done better when Kai Havertz headed wide from an Azpilicueta cross.
Pickford plays big part in Everton win
Everton relied on Pickford again to keep hold of their clean sheet with a one-handed save to bat away a Ruben Loftus-Cheek effort.
At the other end, the ball fell to Gray on the edge of the box, but he fired wide.
Seven minutes of added time followed, during which Pickford kept out a shot from Mateo Kovacic. Ultimately, Everton held on.
Thanks to their win, Everton are now just two points behind Burnley and Leeds, having played a game fewer than both relegation rivals. They will next be in action at the same time next week, when they visit Leicester City.
Chelsea, meanwhile, remain in third place but have seen the gap with the teams below them close after Tottenham beat Leicester. The Blues’ next match will be against Wolves on Saturday.