Defending champions Chelsea slipped further in the Premier League title race as the Blues were held to a 0-0 draw by a determined Everton side at Goodison Park on Saturday.

With striker Alvaro Morata suspended for the trip to Merseyside, Antonio Conte opted to start winger Eden Hazard as a false-nine and despite dominating for large swathes of the tie, the visitors lacked that vital cutting edge in front of goal.

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Jordan Pickford was in inspired form between the sticks, flying out to make vital stops either side of half-time to deny Contes’ men.

Everton defender Phil Jagielka made two goal-line clearances in quick succession to stymie the hosts and at haul-time, it seemed only a matter of time before the Blues would find the opener.
Interestignly, Everton made two changes at half-time as ‘Big Sam’ sought to mix things up. Sandro Ramirez and Ashley Williams came on but it remained one-way traffic, with the home crowd fearing a Chelsea goal was imminent.

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It wasn’t to be, however, for Everton continued to defend resolutely and deny their fancied opponents time and again.

On the other end, Thibaut Courtois was a virtual spectator as Sam Allardyce’s men did not have a single shot on goal over the course of 90 minutes, perhaps lacking penetration without in-form striker Wayne Rooney, who sat out the tie with an illness.

Considering Liverpool drew 3-3 with Arsenal on Friday night, Chelsea had the perfect chance to extend their lead over the fourth-placed Reds while at the same time managing to trim the gap between themselves and the Manchester clubs (City and United) but failed to do so with a stuttering performance against opponents that didn’t show much attacking verve.