Pedro, Willian held at bay, frustrated in goalless draw at Everton
Chelsea's inability to make possession count was at the fore yet again at Goodison Park where the London club dominated the game but found themselves held to a 0-0 draw by a doggedly determined Everton side. Antonio Conte's side squandered chance after chance with Toffees defender Phil Jagielka clearing twice off the line in quick succession and goalie Jordan Pickford making a series of outstanding saves.
The fact that goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was restricted to the role of spectator for much of the game was a measure of Chelsea's dominance in defence and midfield.
The deja vu is getting as boring as it is predictable. Once again, without an out and out striker on the pitch, Chelsea were unable to find a way to breach a stout, well-organised defence.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Shorn of the services of suspended striker Alvaro Morata, Conte opted to deploy Eden Hazard as a "false nine" but Chelsea failed to make the all-important breakthrough their possession demanded. The game looked destined to end 0-0 at half-time and was crying out for the Italian to get creative with his substitutions. England Under-17 World Cup winning forward Callum Hudson-Odoi was on the bench but the Blues boss went for experience instead which counted for nothing in the end.
Player ratings (1-10, 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Thibaut Courtois, 6 -- The fact that Courtois spent part of the half-time interval warming up was a measure of the Chelsea keeper's involvement in the opening 45 minutes when he didn't face a shot on target and the Belgium international's under-employment continued after the break.
DF Cesar Azpilicueta, 7 -- There is no doubting the fact that Chelsea look a resolute proposition at the back when Azpilicueta takes on the role of captain as he did against Everton. Once again Azpi was a model of consistency leading by example and ensuring the Toffees forward play was well monitored.
DF Andreas Christensen, 6 -- Christensen's fast-track education as a Premier League player continued at pace at Goodison. The 21-year old looked composed for much of the contest and will have learned the perils of losing concentration following the incident in which Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin smuggled the ball away from him to create a chance for the home side. Fortunately, however, Azpilicueta was on hand to rescue the situation
DF Antonio Rudiger, 6 -- Preferred to Gary Cahill, Germany international Rudiger put in another robust, mobile and energetic shift that highlighted why Conte selected him ahead of the regular Blues skipper. Marked down for a lack of focus in injury time when Michael Keane beat him to a corner ball that could have proved costly had the Everton defender been more precise with his free header.
MF Victor Moses, 6 -- With Everton left-back Cuco Martina in a determined mood, Moses found his opportunities to deliver telling balls restricted. Replaced by Davide Zappacosta for the final 10 minutes.
MF Marcos Alonso, 6 -- Enjoyed plenty of possession as Chelsea channelled their efforts down the left flank targeting Everton youngster JonJoe Kenny but the 20-year old right-back wasn't fazed by the pressure. Had the Spaniard been more assertive, he might have insisted on taking the one free kick that Chelsea were awarded in a genuinely threatening position. Instead he left it to Willian who shot wide.
MF N'Golo Kante, 7 -- Dominated midfield and kept Everton record signing Gylfi Sigurdsson quiet thereby stifling the home side's creativity.
MF Tiemoue Bakayoko, 6 -- A keener more clinical eye would surely have brought Bakayoko a goal when Jagielka cleared his stabbed effort off the line. Worked well with Kante to keep Everton pegged back in their own half for large periods of the game.
FW Willian, 5 -- Lacking consistency at the moment, Willian has the capacity to dazzle and score goals or drift into anonymity. Unfortunately for Chelsea, against Everton, it was the latter. Spurned a glorious chance when the ball fell to him from Jagielka's goal-line clearance from Bakayoko but drilled it at the Everton defender who cleared once again.
FW Pedro, 6 -- Marginally more engaged than Willian, Pedro was full of early running, but having seen an early shot fizz wide of the post and Pickford parry another effort the Spaniard's work rate dropped and he was replaced by Cesc Fabregas shortly after the hour mark.
FW Eden Hazard, 7 -- Easily Chelsea's most potent threat, Hazard's creative artistry brought him plenty of physical attention from Everton's midfield and defence. Denied several times by Pickford, the Belgium international playing as a "false nine", would clearly have benefitted from having the suspended Morata playing the striker role.
MF Cesc Fabregas, 6 -- Given 30 minutes by Conte, Fabregas was unable to get his passing game going.
FW Michy Batshuayi, NR -- Replaced the ineffective Willian for the final 20 minutes of the game but proved to be equally unproductive.
MF Davide Zappacosta, NR -- Unable to make an impression on the game as Everton's defence stood firm.
Mark Worrall is one of ESPN FC's Chelsea bloggers. You can follow him on Twitter: @gate17marco