Everton sack Chelsea and Mourinho could be in trouble
Mourinho must fix defence or face the sack
(Steven Naismith 17, 22, 82)
(Nemanja Matic 36)
Steven Naismith made history with a substitute's hat-trick. He went home with the match ball.
Jose Mourinho made history with three Chelsea defeats in five games. He went home with a mess he may be unable to fix.
Before the Blues' humiliating 3-1 defeat at Everton, he insisted the relationship between coach and club remained amicable. They were happy together.
Any more disastrous performances like this one and Roman Abramovich will instigate divorce proceedings.
The owner admires Mourinho, but he adores his club.
Right now, there is little to love about Chelsea.
Last night's defeat was an unmitigated disaster, irrefutable evidence that the champions are spiralling into the abyss.
Diego Costa went AWOL, his supply line cut by a midfield of pedestrians and bystanders.
But the defence is destroying Chelsea from within.
The crisis cannot be addressed until January, but it is already too late. The Blues' moment has passed. They have already lost more games than the whole of last season. It's only September.
Mourinho's defensive woes were underlined before a ball had been kicked. He picked Kurt Zouma ahead of Gary Cahill, claiming the latter was exhausted after his midweek exertions with England.
The reasoning was marginally more convincing than his tiresome tantrum. He walked out of the pre-match interview when questioned about John Stones.
How the rising star in Everton's backline is an eternal thorn in the side of his pursuer. The chosen one rejected the special one.
And Chelsea's porous defence appears less special with each humiliating setback.
The men in front of Asmir Begovic suddenly look so meek. Their traditional muscular authority has wasted away, their confidence more brittle than the side's crippled backbone.
No hysteria, no hyperbole, Chelsea's back four, in their current, perilous state, will cost the Blues a spot in the top four.
Forget the title defence. That ship has sailed, along with any semblance of defensive unity. It's hard to recall such a hardened band of warriors wilting so quickly.
In less than half an hour, Everton turned Begovic's penalty box into a shooting gallery. Like a giggling kids at a fairground, they queued up to take potshots.
Not for the first time this season, Branislav Ivanovic played a pivotal role in both goals. None of his contributions were positive.
After just nine minutes, Everton manager Roberto Martinez helped himself to a couple of slices of luck. The first was Naismith coming on for the injured Muhamed Besic. The other was the hapless Ivanovic.
Naismith, such an outstanding influence on the left, zeroed in on Chelsea's weary right back. It was not a fair fight.
In the 17th minute, the Scotsman jinked toward the box. His run wasn't tracked, nor was his pass to Brendan Galloway. The left back helped himself to the space left by Ivanovic and chipped a cross towards the still galloping Naismith.
The header was precise. Chelsea's marking was pitiful.
But the Blues surpassed themselves five minutes later, when the Toffees jogged around Chelsea's training cones to find Naismith once more.
Unmarked by Ivanovic, unnoticed by Zouma, he arrowed home a terrific low drive from 20m.
Chelsea's defenders, wide-eyed and shell-shocked, wandered around in a daze, as if in search of an explanation or a person to blame. They all were.
Against the run of play, Nemanja Matic handed his teammates a scarcely deserved lifeline in the 36th minute, smashing in an astounding strike from 30m.
But the only men in Chelsea shirts who displayed real creativity were in the stands. "We are staying up," they sang after Matic's goal.
The gallows humour was fitting. Chelsea's campaign is dying.
It's hard not to recall the cult sci-fi movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers when watching the ponderous Blues. Who are these people? Who inhabits their bodies? What's happened to Eden Hazard?
Last season, he was practically omnipresent on a pitch. He was a peripheral figure throughout at Goodison Park.
So was Costa and Cesc Fabregas. Pedro Rodriguez must be wondering who these pretenders are. He was sure he was signing for champions.
Whatever they had proved contagious. Pedro was equally inept.
While Romelu Lukaku seized on the creaking hinges holding up John Terry, often slipping past the fading skipper only to be denied by Begovic.
Why are there so many gaps? There are so many questions that Mourinho is failing to answer.
The second half did little for Chelsea other than confirm Begovic's status as their man of the match, constantly putting out fires.
But Naismith, the ruthless assassin, killed off what was left of Chelsea's resistance with a fine, drilled finish in the 82nd minute.
His fabulous third sent the terrific Toffees up to third in the table.
But the Blues are heading for oblivion.
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