Pedro gets Chelsea firing as Conte's men beat Everton

A scorching Pedro strike helped Chelsea beat Everton 3-0 to maintain their lead at the top of the Premier League table.

In an entertaining opening half, both sides threatened to open the scoring but it was Chelsea who proved profligate, with both Eden Hazard and Diego Costa missing guilt-edged opportunities.

But Pedro slammed home a goal midway into the second half and Gary Cahill tucked home from a Maarten Stekelenburg mistake not long after.

Willian scored a late goal to seal the points as Chelsea restored their seven point lead ahead of Tottenham, ahead of their derby with Arsenal.

Chelsea celebrate Pedro's fine goal at Everton
Chelsea celebrate Pedro's fine goal at Everton

Everton youngster Dominic Calvert-Lewin almost gave the hosts a stunning start when he hit the post inside two minutes. The Toffees could count themselves even more unfortunate as lethal front man Romelu Lukaku slipped when following up the rebound.

In what proved to be an enthralling start, Chelsea centre-back Cahill tested his luck from all of 30 yards, which forced Maarten Stekelenburg to parry the ball away.

Hazard missed a sublime opportunity to give Chelsea the lead when he was played through by Costa, following a blistering counter-attack, only to hit the side netting having rounded Stekelenburg.

READ MORE: Everton v Chelsea as it happened

And midfielder Nemanja Matic was next to try his luck having bulldozed his way through three Everton players, only to hit a tame effort at the Everton goalkeeper, before Lukaku threatened again for the hosts, driving just wide of the far post.

A minute later, Costa volleyed over from 10 yards having worked himself into space, before Ashley Williams’ audacious back heel landed just over Thibaut Courtois’ crossbar.

Chelsea manoeuvred a fine set-piece six minutes after the break, but Matic’s cross-shot was just ahead of Costa, who was waiting to pounce with the goal gaping.

A woeful backpass from Williams almost saw Costa pip Stekelenburg to the ball, but the fiery Spaniard was booked for lunging in on the goalkeeper in his attempt to take advantage.

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It was Pedro who finally broke the deadlock, however, the former Barcelona turning into space past Phil Jagielka on the edge of the box and firing a 20-yard strike into the top corner.

Former Chelsea man Lukaku – who is also linked with a return to the club – blazed a free kick over the bar with 14 minutes remaining.

And Cahill sealed the three points for Antonio Conte’s men, when Hazard’s low free-kick was parried by the Netherlands international straight into the Chelsea defender and into the net.

Cesc Fabregas and Willian, both late substitutes, then combined to add a third with less than five minutes remaining as the Spaniard’s cut back found Willian who tapped into an empty net.

The Brazilian attacker almost had a second in his brief stint on the pitch, but Jagielka recovered at the last to deny him.

And the result ensured Chelsea enter their title run-in in imperious form after seeing off a potential banana skin at Goodison Park.

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