Tim Howard suggested that Chelsea struggled to break down Everton due to Romelu Lukaku’s absence.
Speaking on NBC Sports after his former side managed a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge yesterday, Howard highlighted Lukaku’s omission from the match as the downfall for Thomas Tuchel’s men.
The Belgium international did not take part against his ex-employers due to returning a positive covid test.
He, along with Callum Hudson-Odoi, Timo Werner and Ben Chilwell all tested positive and were therefore forced to miss last night’s Premier League tie.
Kai Havertz also sat out the fixture after being labelled ‘unwell’.
This forced Chelsea into naming a substitutes bench hardly representative of their Champions League-winning prowess.
It also caused Tuchel to play Christian Pulisic as a false nine, a position he is simply not suited to.
Despite his recent struggles in front of goal, the presence of Lukaku would’ve certainly improved the Blues attack.
Or, at least give them a different dimension from which to break Everton’s stubborn defence down.
“They had a lot of possession. 80% possession. They never really played quick enough,” said Howard on Chelsea’s frustrating evening.
“They missed Romelu Lukaku, in terms of when the ball turns over, just a force, someone who is willing to run in behind, pin the centre-half, get the team up the pitch and then it opens up pockets.
“It was too safe. Actually, Everton enjoyed it. They got 11 men behind the ball. They kind of played right into Everton’s hands.”
Chelsea halted by Everton
Chelsea did eventually break through the Toffees’ tight rear-guard thanks to their man in form Mason Mount.
The England international slotted past his compatriot Jordan Pickford with 20 minutes remaining.
From there, Tuchel’s Blues should’ve killed off their opponents, who had been hit by their own mass of injuries.
Instead, Everton found some momentum and managed to equalise with a quarter of the game remaining.
Rafa Benitez’s boys stood strong for the final flourishes, earning a deserved point from their perspective.
It will be viewed as two points dropped for Chelsea, as the gap between themselves, Liverpool and Manchester City gradually widens.
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