Chelsea took a massive stride towards the title thanks to a moment of pure magic from Pedro and late goals from Gary Cahill and Willian.
With the clock ticking down and the Premier League leaders starting to look decidedly nervous about their lead bring stripped to the bare bone, the Spaniard stepped up with a breath-taking, curling finish from the edge of the box.
Cahill scrambled home a second and substitute Willian netted a third, surely confirming the London club as Champions’ elect now, because they have a big enough buffer at the top of the table to withstand anything Spurs can throw at them.
Yet they were made to sweat by a young Everton side who showed a quality of their own, and created several chances of their own, that on another day would have blown the title race wide open.
The home side also had a good shout for a penalty when Enner Valencia appeared to be pulled back in the box by Cesar Azpilicueta, and Diego Costa may also have been shown a red card when he lifted his foot after sliding into Blues keeper Maarten Stekelenburg.
But in the end, that quality of of Pedro – backed by the once again excellent Eden Hazard – was enough to all but put Chelsea’s name on the Premier League trophy, with victory in their hardest game remaining of the season.
Here our reporter David Maddock looks at some of the issues from a fine game.
5. Pedro’s strike the difference
In the end, the game changed on one moment of magic that settled a quality, vibrant contest. Inevitably, it came from one of Chelsea’s two most potent threats…Pedro showing he has that incredible zip around the box, and true class when it matters, to plant Jagielka with a turn, and then the calm to fire an unstoppable shot into the root of the net. Everton didn’t deserve such a fate, but it was surely enough to win the title.
4. Lukaku would fit right in at Chelsea
It’s no wonder Lukaku is being linked with his former club Chelsea. He would fit into their system with devastating effect, having the same strength and aerial ability as Costa, with perhaps even an edge to his finishing. He doesn’t quite have the street-smarts yet, but don’t be surprised if the first bid of the summer is a massive Stamford Bridge gambit for Lukaku.
3. Everton gave them a go
For all Chelsea’s class, it was refreshing to see Everton take them on, which such a young, vibrant promising team of their own. They are of course not at the same level as their aristocratic visitors, but they really do have a cracking young team, with Holgate, Davies, Barkley, Calvert-Lewin and the still 23-year-old Lukaku providing a spine of a team for years to come…if they can hang on to them.
2. Chelsea still have weaknesses
They do have weaknesses though, which Everton were aware enough to exploit. The three man back line is amongst the more mobile in the Premier League, but when Lukaku and Calvert-Lewin had space to spin, there was constant danger, which lead to an exciting and surprisingly open contest.
1. The key to Chelsea’s success
The secret to Chelsea’s success this season is simple: they are devastating breaking forward. Even without reaching their real attacking heights at Goodison, there was a break-taking pace and intent to their counter-play which had Everton struggling for oxygen at times. Pedro and Hazard are virtually unstoppable at pace, and it is a weapon few sides have an answer to.