Everton pulled off the shock result of the weekend when claiming Europa League winners and genuine title contenders Chelsea as their first league scalp of the season, with a result and performance that could have damaging implications for Jose Mourinho’s Premier League comeback.
Mourinho’s men are still joint-favourites with Man City at 5/2 to win the league this term, but no wins and no goals in their first two away league games is hardly the sort of form that will set their backers’ pulses racing.
Added to that, the west Londoners’ 1-0 reverse at Goodison Park continues a worrying trend against the Toffees in the Premier League over the last six seasons.
Before Chelsea’s tight 2-1 home and away victories last term they had managed just one league win in nine attempts against the blue half of Merseyside, suffering three defeats at the hands of former Everton manager David Moyes during that period.
With the return to Stamford Bridge of Jose Mourinho, fans could have been forgiven for thinking this hoodoo was about to be banished for good as the Portuguese steered their club to four wins and two draws against Moyes in the league between 2004-2007.
However, his side’s inability to break down a nervy Man Utd last time out and a tally of 22 shots with just six on target against Roberto Martinez’s charges suggests the Special One’s inability to capture the centre-forward he craved during the summer could prove costly.
Samuel Eto’o was tried in that position against Everton and his profligacy in front of goal could be put down to debut rustiness, but the Cameroon star is unused to leading the line having played for most of his career behind a striker.
The cavalry came in the form of Oscar, Frank Lampard and Fernando Torres in the second-half with the away side a goal down, but the Spanish striker’s introduction pushed attacking midfielder Eden Hazard down to left-back, leaving Chelsea looking shapeless and desperate.
Why Mourinho let Romelu Lukaku, who scored 17 top flight goals last season at West Brom, join Martinez for a year on loan we may never find out, but having made that decision he will be hoping Eto’o, Torres and Demba Ba can vindicate it by finding their goalscoring boots soon.