The Premier League shut up shop to allow for the international break with a thrilling tie - in the second 45mins at least - between Everton and Chelsea at Goodison Park.
The Toffees were extremely impressive in the second half on Merseyside, coming out of the gates determinedly after the interval and showing signs of a rosier future than one that had been teased in a season that has threatened to fizzle out with a whimper.
Richarlison’s scrappy header from a corner and a Gylfi Sigurdsson rebound off a saved penalty got the Merseyside outfit the three points and has meant sending Chelsea back down to the capital thoroughly miserable and now with a fortnight of contemplation to reflect on a massive missed opportunity.
The result means that Chelsea remain in fifth in the table, three points off a top-four spot, whereas Everton have a sniff of a top-half finish. They find themselves up in 11th.
Marco Silva will no doubt had left Goodison Park a happy man, knowing that the spotlight of unscrupulous, unrelenting criticism will once again be aimed at his counterpart in the opposite dugout, the Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri.
Going into the game, Everton had had just one win in six games, with four losses, whereas Chelsea were unbeaten in three, and suffering defeat just once in their last five league fixtures
Less than 24 hours before, Sarri had once again come out to criticise a specific aspect of his Chelsea squad;
We are looking more consistent in terms of defensive solidity, first of all. We are more consistent with our results, but not at the moment with our performances, especially in the offensive phase.
The Italian said, via The Mirror.
“Sometimes we have played with very good quality going forward, sometimes not. We need to start attacking well in every match. Sometimes we are not moving off the ball, sometimes we don’t attack balls in the box very well, and sometimes we don’t attack spaces behind the line.”
It wasn’t just the attack, or solely the defence responsible on this occasion in the North-West. It was an overall terrible performance from the west London club.
For Everton, the resurgent Dominic Calvert-Lewin was respledent, though unfortunately didn't manage to get on the season. He was as good as Eden Hazard - whose name is bandied around as the best player in the English top tier - was bad.
Ross Barkley was lively against his former side for Chelsea, though not much else, failing to provide the decisive effect to get Chelsea back into the game. He was regimentally jeered every time he got the ball and also when he scampered off for Ruben Loftus-Cheek after the hour mark.
The jeers in Silva’s direction will have dissipated, whereas the ones in Sarri’s direction will only have increased in volume.
After the 2017/18 season, it was a summer of great change for both clubs. Everton finally got their man when Marco Silva arrived to replace Sam Allardyce, whereas Chelsea (once again) ejected their manager Antonio Conte’s after his difficult sophomore season to bring in Maurizio Sarri.
It was a meeting between two aspiring sides who haven’t been afraid to put their money where their mouths are, coming dangerously close to the £billion mark combined. Everton have spent £325.8million over the past three seasons, Chelsea have splurged a brobdingnagian £544.9 million in that same period, but have a Premier League title and an FA Cup to show for their extravagances.
The defeat means that Chelsea have now lost four of their last five matches on the road, and dark clouds are certainly seeming to swell over Stamford Bridge, with their notoriously trigger-happy owner not one to take fools lightly.
Silva will have found some reprieve, and his side were certainly the more organised, focused, and cohesive. The defence has been impressive, finally, and from this performance, Silva will have added to his own. By far the biggest win of his Everton career at the helm so far, with the first defeat of a top-six opponent since January 2017.