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Dublin: 10°C Wednesday 12 May 2021

Super sub Naismith scores hat-trick as Chelsea's early season woes continue

It’s their worst start to the season since 1988.

Naismith headed the Toffees into a deserved lead.
Naismith headed the Toffees into a deserved lead.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

Updated at 15.00pm

WHAT ON EARTH is going on at Chelsea?

Jose Mourinho’s side were almost untouchable last season as they strolled to the title with minimal fuss. Their success was built upon a solid defensive foundation, from which the platform for the likes of Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa was created.

But it’s been an entirely different story this term.

Having gone into the international break with just four points on the board – and eight off the early pace-setters, Manchester City – Chelsea’s woes continued at Goodison Park.

Scotland forward Steven Naismith came off the bench to score twice in the space of five minutes midway through the first half.

Nemanja Matic pulled one back for Chelsea before the interval, but Naismith completed his treble in the closing stages to ensure the Blues, with three defeats and only four points from their five matches, made their worst start to a season since 1988.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Everton v Chelsea - Goodison Park Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Mourinho’s misery started in the 17th minute when Brendan Galloway whipped a cross towards Naismith, who advanced unchecked into the six-yard box to bury his header past Chelsea goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.

Naismith was only on the pitch due to an ninth minute injury suffered by Muhamed Besic, but he made the most of his opportunity by doubling Everton’s lead with a fine low strike in the 22nd minute.

Matic reduced the deficit with a superb effort that flashed past Tim Howard from 30 yards in the 36th minute, but Naismith struck yet again in the 82nd minute to cap an embarrassing afternoon for the visitors.

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Ryan Bailey

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