A number of Chelsea stars brandished with criticism have stepped up to the plate in recent weeks to help the Blues go on a four-game unbeaten streak. Kai Havertz, Marc Cucurella, Kalidou Koulibaly and Kepa Arrizabalaga have all risen to the occasion when needed with some potential game-defining moments.
Havertz has hit a hot streak of form scoring three goals in his last four games after facing claims he was not good enough to be Chelsea's number nine. While Cucurella and Koulibaly have both improved defensively after challenging starts to life in west London following their summer moves.
Chelsea also look to have made a huge decision regarding Kepa which will likely see him remain as the number one in goal after recent consistent displays, with five clean sheets secured in his last 11 games.
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However, praise for that group has been briefly halted after Chelsea, despite a fairly dominant performance, let their lead over Everton slip twice on Saturday with the game ending 2-2. “Result wise it’s a step back but performance-wise I think it was a step forward," Graham Potter said after the game.
"We attacked well, Joao [Felix], Kai [Havertz] and CP [Christian Pulisic] were positive in the first half. Reece [James] and Chilly [Ben Chilwell] used the width well, Enzo was creative in midfield, and Wesley drove the game well. Individual performances were positive and the team’s intention was good. Again, though, the feeling is frustrated because we’ve dropped points.”
Both of Everton's goals were largely avoidable, although the second saw a particular duo, who have improved recently, at fault. Everton forward Ellis Simms was thrown on by Sean Dyche with 11 minutes of normal time to play and he made an impact just shy of the 90th-minute with a composed finish from close range.
In the build up to the goal, Simms went past Koulibaly far too easily before sliding an effort under the arms of Kepa who will likely feel he could have done better. The duo, who cost Chelsea a combined £105.4m, looked as though they were getting their Chelsea careers back on track but their roles in Everton's second goal make Ian Wright's comments on the pair from earlier this year seem justified.
"How can somebody be so fragile like (Kalidou) Koulibaly?" Wright admitted on Wrighty's house in January after Chelsea's 2-1 defeat to Fulham. "Koulibaly looks very f****** nervy and very anxious.
"I’m looking at Kepa and I’m sorry man but it’s not working out. The man makes too many mistakes. He looks very nervy. When you look at Fulham’s goals and the Manchester City goal, I think Kepa has to do better."
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